7.5/10
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56 user 69 critic

They Live by Night (1948)

An escaped convict, injured during a robbery, falls in love with the woman who nurses him back to health, but their relationship seems doomed from the beginning.

Director:

Nicholas Ray

Writers:

Charles Schnee (screenplay), Nicholas Ray (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cathy O'Donnell ... Keechie
Farley Granger ... Bowie
Howard Da Silva ... Chickamaw
Jay C. Flippen ... T-Dub
Helen Craig Helen Craig ... Mattie
Will Wright ... Mobley
William Phipps ... Young Farmer
Ian Wolfe ... Hawkins
Harry Harvey ... Hagenheimer
Marie Bryant Marie Bryant ... Singer
Will Lee ... Jeweler
James Nolan ... Schreiber (as Jim Nolan)
Charles Meredith ... Comm. Hubbell
Teddy Infuhr Teddy Infuhr ... Alvin
Byron Foulger ... Lambert
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Storyline

In the '40s, three prisoners flee from a state prison farm in Mississippi. Among them is 23-years-young Bowie, who spent the last seven years in prison and now hopes to be able to prove his innocence or retire to a home in the mountains and live in peace together with his new love, Keechie. But his criminal companions persuade him to participate in several heists, and soon the police believe him to be their leader and go after "Bowie the Kid" harder than ever. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"We're in a Jam!" See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 November 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Your Red Wagon See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$808,397 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed in 1947. The film's release was delayed by two years because Howard Hughes was in the process of buying RKO. See more »

Goofs

The breeze on the bushes makes it obvious that a helicopter is shooting the opening scene. See more »

Quotes

Bowie: I'll take it easy. I got a lawyer in Tulsa to see.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: This boy . . . and this girl . . . were never properly introduced to the world we live in . . . To tell their story . . . See more »

Connections

Referenced in Where Danger Lives: White Rose for Julie (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Going Down the Road Feeling Bad
(uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Woody Guthrie and Lee Hays
Arranged by Leigh Harline
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beautiful!!!!
10 August 2001 | by lauloiSee all my reviews

Nicholas Ray is mostly known for his work, "Rebel WIthout a Cause", but his first work, a dazzling, moving (if sentimental) film noir, is far better. Unjustly out-of-print, "They Live By Night" may have its minor flaws, but the stark, beautiful camerawork, stolid dialogue and (perhaps above all) exquisite performances make up for it. It has none of the often phony emotions and annoying characters that are found in "Rebel Without a Cause."

Bowie, the innocent, sympathetic outlaw hero of "They Live By Night" is a wonderfully drawn. By no means is he the cliched nice-guy-in-a-bad-situation; though essentially good-hearted, he can be frighteningly callous at times. Farley Granger, working with excellent direction, he gives us glimpses of a violent yet passionate nature, struggling against the condemnation of society. Cathy O'Donnell is also entrancingly tender, yet we can vaguely see that her character is trapped in a hopeless relationship with Bowie. She is also sadly obscure, which plainly has nothing to do with her talent.

The one significant fault of this film is over-restraint. At times, Ray's understated direction can be extremely effective, such as when he is dealing with violence. But at other times the characters' (and especially Keechie's) emotions are so tightly controlled that some of the impact on the audience is lost. Still, despite a few faults, "They Live By Night" is a wonderful film, and if ever you can find it, sell your hair but GET IT!!!


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