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"They Drive By Night" is difficult to find (as are many pre World War II British titles) but well worth the effort. What starts out as a standard crime drama takes a startling turn into horror in the final reel.
Ernest Thesiger (best known as Dr.Pretorius in 1935's "Bride of Frankenstein") adds the most interesting element to the film and to share any more would ruin the fun.
Emlyn Williams as ex-con Shorty Matthews carries the film. Pity this poor fellow...he has the worst luck in the world. Upon release from prison, his intention is to return to the arms of his girlfriend. Unfortunately, someone has murdered her that very day. Naturally, police think he is the killer.
Shorty takes to the road, hitchhiking rides with truck drivers, hoping to stay free long enough for the police to find the real killer. One of the uncredited stars of this film has to be rain! The constant pouring rain accentuates Shorty's troubles as he tries to clear his name and (excuse the pun) adds buckets of atmosphere to the movie.
Don't confuse the British "They Drive by Night" with the later US version starring Humphrey Bogart. The only thing they have in common is the presence of truck drivers.
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