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:

Cops or no cops I'm going through! 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

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 »

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

Bowie: You said you weren't here when the pipes bust. Where were you?
[Keechie gives no response]
Bowie: I asked you where you were!
Keechie: Seein' a doctor.
Bowie: About what?
Keechie: The baby we're gonna have.
Bowie: [angry] Well, that's just fine. That's all I need!
Keechie: You don't see me knittin' anything, do you?
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 Mona Lisa (1986) 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

 
tender crime drama
2 December 2004 | by RanchoTuVuSee all my reviews

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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