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They Drive by Night (1940)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 3 August 1940 (USA)
Two brothers struggle as wildcat truck drivers; one comes to harm, the other is accused of his friend's murder.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Harry McNamara
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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>

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Taglines:

Thrills . . . from coast to coast . . . ! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

3 August 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

De färdas om natten  »

Box Office

Budget:

$400,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The brother's monthly $100 truck payment would be the equivalent of $1742 in 2016. They bought the load of lemons for $116, the equivalent of $2000, and sold it for $580, the equivalent of $9,999. See more »

Goofs

When Joe and Paul's truck crashes, a motorist in a 1933 Cadillac with California license number 2N 214 stops to give assistance. Later, at Ed and Lana Carlson's anniversary party the same car (and same license number) is shown as one of Ed's cars as he demonstrates his garage door opener. See more »

Quotes

Joe Fabrini: l ain't danced in a long time.
Cassie Hartley: Me neither, and l used to love it. lt's the most fun you can have without laughing.
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Connections

Featured in Hollywood: The Great Stars (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Devil May Care
(1940) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played when Joe is leaving the party
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User Reviews

 
Early to rise and early to bed, makes a man healthy, but socially dead.
23 February 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

They Drive by Night (AKA: The Road to Frisco) is directed by Raoul Walsh and adapted by Jerry Wald & Richard Macaulay from the novel "The Long Haul" written by A. I. Bezzerides. It stars George Raft, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino and Humphrey Bogart. Adolph Deutsch scores the music and Arthur Edeson is the cinematographer. Plot finds Raft & Bogart playing the Fabrini brothers, two guys trying to make a living as truck drivers during the Depression era. Just about keeping afloat in a very competitive market, the boys find that they have to work longer hours to stay ahead in the game. But that brings fatigue and danger, and with the repo men after them they could do with a break; a break that comes by way of work for Ed Carlson (Alan Hale). But the fortune is short lived as trouble awaits, not only on the road, but also in the form of Carlson's wife, Lana (Lupino).

Warner Brothers produce a film of two differing halves that blends social realism with film noir edges. The script is tight as the narrative firstly deals in an adventure with period detail, then shifts to drama as bad luck and a bad woman come into play. There's zippy dialogue to digest, too, while Walsh keeps the pace brisk and provides good attention to detail in relation to the subject of the trucking industry. With Bogart a year away from leading man status (High Sierra/The Maltese Falcon), he was fourth billed for this movie. He gets relegated to the sidelines for the second half of the piece but by then he had made his mark. Sheridan is effective, in what ultimately is a love interest role, while Raft dominates as the centre piece character. But it's Lupino's movie all the way. True enough to say that her pivotal scene has a touch of the over theatrical histrionics about it, but it works in context to how she had formed the character up to then. Playing it man hungry and vixen like; yet with a sternness that oozes business woman sensibilities, her performance earned her a studio contract.

Two movies for the price of one, then, and nary a dull moment in either of them. 7.5/10


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