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>
Robert Mitchum lobbied unsuccessfully for the role of Chicamaw. He told Nicholas Ray that he was very familiar with bank robbers and chain gangs, and even cut and dyed his hair black (in the original treatment Chicamaw was an Indian). He was rejected because he had recently been nominated for an Oscar, and a supporting role was considered unworthy for a rising star. See more »
The new Cadillac is seen to be covered with a tarpaulin. When the camera swings back to it, the tarpaulin has vanished. See more »
You said you weren't here when the pipes bust. Where were you?
[Keechie gives no response]
I asked you where you were!
Seein' a doctor.
The baby we're gonna have.
Well, that's just fine. That's all I need!
You don't see me knittin' anything, do you?
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Opening credits: This boy . . . and this girl . . . were never properly introduced to the world we live in . . . To tell their story . . . See more »
Farley Granger plays Bowie, a young con who escapes from the pen with two hardened criminals, Chicamaw and T-Dub played respectively by Howard Da Silva and Jay C Flippen in They Live By Night, an aptly titled film if there ever was one. Da Silva and Flippen are both terrific here, as is Cathy O'Donnel as Keechie, Bowie's equally young girlfriend. The movie revolves around the relationship between them and their efforts to get away from the life of crime that is always a few steps behind them and also to try living like normal people, during the day, instead of at night, like their criminal associates. This was Nicholas Ray's first film as a director and it certainly was a worthy effort, as it has fine performances throughout, especially O'Donnels. As the film comes to a close, you can pretty well figure out the ending, but that doesn't detract from its potency, as they are let down by one of their own, blackmailed it seems by the cops.
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