Jobs must be done within the walls and without. The mechanisms of society must roll on. The human being is within these mechanisms, dutifully doing a useful job that contributes, or sometimes not so dutifully committing crimes instead. They must be found out, stopped, controlled. Conte will do his job and duty. This is serious business, the movie conveys.
Conte's roommate is an embittered Alex Nicol who cannot confess his troubles to Conte. What humor he introduces is of the most mordant and scathing variety. Conte has some medical experience but he must rely on head nurse of the traumatics ward, Coleen Gray. Their attraction is evident. She's a divorcee with a child that needs medical care. Wandering the corridors and a bookie is the man who operates the elevator, Richard Taber.
The camera seems to need only point anywhere inside or outside the buildings to convey somber surroundings: grim, serious, stern, humorless, and dangerous. The film is shot on location, and the results are terrific. The surroundings are made for noir choices and lighting.
The dialog is sharp and memorable.
"The Sleeping City" develops its story seamlessly. It does not follow the scriptwriter's recipe of plot points at more or less designated times and intervals. Conte enters a new world and no obvious clues materialize. He makes no obvious detective-style search. He meets people and observes. The shooting is somehow connected to this world of its own but how?
"Sleeping City" remains unissued in Universal's vaults, judging from a bankrupt Google search. The old AMC channel showed it many years ago without interruptions and with very slight and quickly disappearing logos, the source of extant copies, I presume. If the video tape recorder was a good one, these copies can be quite good.
I give this one 8/10.