Director: George Sherman and Stars: Richard Conte, Coleen Gray John Alexander, and Richard Taber
A good story that starts out as a routine police investigation but switches gears once Conte is undercover and builds all the way to the end definitely needs a good DVD release.
Out side of Bellevue Hospital in New York City, along the East River a medical intern is shot in the head by an unknown killer. Inspector Gordon (Alexander) of the 9th Precinct sends in a special investigator Detective Fred Rowan (Conte) whose medical background enables him to pose as an intern and do some sleuthing from the inside. Conte meets his fellow interns and gets thoroughly inserted into hospital routine and its pressures, he also begins a relationship with nurse Sebastian (Gray). Soon another intern apparently commits suicide.
The film is all shot in the actual Bellevue Hospital and NYC environs, and it has a nice sequence where the investigator is investigated by the police after the second intern is found dead.
Who's killing the young interns at Bellevue? Richard Conte dons scrubs to find out
6 July 2004 | by bmacv (Western New York)
Two well-known titles in the noir cycle are The City That Never Sleeps (1953) and While The City Sleeps (1956). Before them, there was the less familiar The Sleeping City. In this last (or first), what seems asleep is not so much New York as a city-within-a-city – the huge old fortress of Bellevue Hospital, where, at night in its wards and among its staff, skulduggery is afoot. Bellvue opened its doors to the film's cast and crew, perhaps not wholly grasping that the resulting portrait might be less than reassuring to prospective patients. But it's not a story, at least explicitly, about malpractice.
A jumpy, distracted intern on his break goes outside to grab a smoke. He ends up with a bullet through his brain. Since the murder appears to be an inside job, an undercover department of the city police plants a detective (Richard Conte) in the hospital among the interns. He's had some medical training in the army and so should pass casual muster. Taking lodging in the building and going on rounds, he makes acquaintances. Among them are his bitter roommate, Alex Nichol, nursing some resentments about not being rich, either by birth or through wedlock; ward nurse Coleen Gray, raising a young son from an unhappy first marriage; and chummy elevator operator Richard Taber, who bunks down off the boiler room – where he runs a book where the cash-strapped interns can play the ponies.
What Conte's after is not just the killer but the source of an infectious but non-microbial malaise that will claim Nichol, too, the night before he was to marry. Conte finds himself the prime suspect in his roommate's death and comes close to blowing his cover before his own superiors intervene. But Conte's suspicions about Taber's bookmaking operation aren't quite on the mark; it turns out that a 'white-stuff job' is the real racket....
Light and portable equipment developed during World War II made location shooting finally feasible, and the low-budget second-features in the post-war years pioneered its use. The Sleeping City affects a pseudo-documentary style that also came into vogue as a complement to the new cinema-verité look (a chase through the bowels of the massive institution stays particularly sinister). Despite a nifty shot of the new interns descending an endless stairwell en masse, the vast hospital looks underpopulated, especially during the graveyard shift. But the claustrophobia (the whole picture is shot in and around the hospital) pays off. The main characters aren't many, but not so few that they can't deliver a final twist.
Its a pretty good film that keeps you entertained. Not very Noir-ish till about the half way point to the end, but its a good film with an intriguing story. Taber plays a memorable character 7/10