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:

Desperate... Hunted... Yet so in love! This is their story... The one the screaming headlines never told! 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

Nicholas Ray's first directing credit. See more »

Goofs

The new Cadillac is seen to be covered with a tarpaulin. When the camera swings back to it, the tarpaulin has vanished. See more »

Quotes

Opening Title Cards: This boy... and this girl... were never properly introduced to the world we live in... To tell their story... They Live by Night.
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

Featured in Red Hollywood (1996) 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

 
Juliet and Clyde
3 July 2015 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Nicholas Ray made his directorial debut in They Live By Night that's a little bit Romeo and Juliet and a little bit Bonnie and Clyde. Bonnie Parker will no way recognize Cathy O'Donnell as herself, but The Bard will no way miss seeing her as Juliet Capulet.

As for Farley Granger he was always playing sensitive and misunderstood youths like this one back in his salad days. Ostensibly he starts as an innocent kid convicted for something he didn't do and is looking for money to get a good lawyer to clear himself.

A pair of rough customers, Howard DaSilva and Jay C. Flippen break out of their prison farm in Mississippi and as Flippen puts it recognize talent when they see it and he's an investment. If Granger was innocent before he sure isn't now. But the funny thing is that the media concentrate on Granger's baby face good looks and dub him as the gang leader.

While Granger heals up from injuries sustained in the escape he does it at Will Wright's farm and gas station where he meets Cathy O'Donnell and it's instant love. But this is passion that will burn hot and fast as this love is no way meant to last.

Ray did remarkably well capturing the doomed nature of the relationship and the people. Even viewing it today by someone who never heard of Bonnie&Clyde or even has seen the classic film. There is such an aura of sadness permeating the entire film from start to finish that even though you know it will end bad, you are drawn to these people.

They Live By Night is one of Farley Granger's signature roles and a great start for the career of Nicholas Ray.


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