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They Drive by Night (1940)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  3 August 1940 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,971 users  
Reviews: 61 user | 37 critic

Two brothers struggle as wildcat truck drivers; one comes to harm, the other is accused of his friend's murder.

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(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Gale Page ...
...
...
...
Harry McNamara
...
George Rondolos
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Storyline

Brothers Paul and Joe Fabrini run a trucking business in California mainly shipping fruit from farms to the markets in Los Angeles. They struggle to make ends meet in the face of corrupt businessmen and intense competition. They are forced into driving long hours and one night pick-up waitress Cassie Hartley who's just quit her job at a truck stop. The three of them witness the death of a mutual acquaintance when he falls asleep at the wheel. This has a profound effect on Paul and Joe and they become determined to find a way to make the business pay so they can quit. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

NO PICTURE IN 1940 WILL HAVE BIGGER THRILLS (original one-sheet poster) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 August 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

De färdas om natten  »

Box Office

Budget:

$400,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The wife of producer Mark Hellinger, Gladys Glad, a former showgirl for Broadway producer Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., was responsible for getting this film made. Hellinger had brought home a large stack of scripts that he was to read for filming consideration. He had leafed through the script and read the summary, but felt that "nobody would pay money to see a bunch of truck drivers". His wife read this script, liked it and pressured Hellinger to read it. Reluctantly, he did, the film eventually got made and became the sleeper hit of the year for Warners. It was made for an estimated $400,000 and grossed more than $4,000,000. (Source: Book "The Mark Hellinger Story" by Jim Bishop, New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1952) See more »

Goofs

Just before the boys pull into Haig's truck stop there is a night scene of the truck on the highway with two cars behind it, and a road marker showing. After they leave Haig's the same scene is shown again with only a cloud slightly different. See more »

Quotes

Joe Fabrini: [Spraying himself with a hose] This is the nearest thing I've had to a bath in two weeks.
Pete Haig: Yeah, I noticed.
See more »


Soundtracks

Devil May Care
(1940) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played when Joe is leaving the party
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"I Committed Murder To Get You."
14 November 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

George Raft and Humphrey Bogart are the truck driving Fabrini Brothers, a pair of owner/operators who when their truck is totaled in a bad wreck go to work for goodhearted Alan Hale who owns a trucking company. Hale's a decent sort, but kind of crude and that grates on his pretty wife Ida Lupino. She's got an eye on Raft. But Raft likes earthy, sexy Ann Sheridan.

They Drive By Night from the working class studio of Warner Brothers is one of the earliest examples of sexual harassment shown on screen. Ida will do anything to possess Raft even kill for it.

The film really belongs to the women here. Ann Sheridan and Ida really do dominate this film, especially Ida with an over the top performance of a woman driven mad by her obsession.

Back in the day it was the habit of studios to make sure they had lots of backup in their roster. Bette Davis was legendarily feuding with Jack Warner for better roles and she had staged a well publicized walk out on her contract. I have no doubt that this film was to build up Ida Lupino as a Davis alternative. The part Lupino does play has Davis written all over it.

My guess is that Davis would not have wanted to appear opposite George Raft any more than opposite Errol Flynn. So the part went to Lupino who recognized a good role and ran away with it.

Humphrey Bogart is totally wasted in the brother part. He loses an arm in the wreck and has little to do, but be supportive to his brother and resist taking charity. He and Lupino would both boost their careers in their next film High Sierra.

For those who like to see people crack up on screen, They Drive By Night is the film for you.


17 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
they drive by night colorized waggsmom
Ida Lupino is excellent!!! Romojo
Ed Carlson too naive? jeffreylincoln
Same plot as Bordertown (1935) berlin45
DVD Documentary Randy_D
Gale Page beats out Lupino and Sheridan rkolsen
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