7.3/10
5,754
62 user 43 critic

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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(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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

Production Co:

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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 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

Paul and Pearl Fabrini are talking as they wait for Joe. She does up the button of his shirt and he moves to the mantel. The button alternates between done up and undone during the remainder of the scene. 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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Soundtracks

When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano
(1940) (uncredited)
Music by Leon René
Played at Mandel's Cafe
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User Reviews

 
Continually smart, punchy dialogue...but the second-half is almost another picture entirely
17 August 2011 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

Truck-driving brothers George Raft and Humphrey Bogart have nightly adventures hauling produce to local markets until Raft lands himself a position in the office; unfortunately, this means having to mingle with the raucous boss and the boss's wife, a scheming shrew with murder on her mind. Raoul Walsh ably directed this quintessential Warner Bros. drama, hard-bitten and yet humorously disengaged. However, one can easily sense the narrative coming unhinged in the second-half, which leads to a jailhouse-and-courtroom finale that seems to have nothing to do with the promising earlier scenario of working stiffs on the open road. The pungent, pithy dialogue from screenwriters Jerry Wald and Richard Macaulay (working from A.I. Bezzerides' novel "Long Haul") can't camouflage the shift in priorities, and the 'winking' tag seems like a put-on. Still entertaining, with Raft a smoldering (if somewhat stationary) screen presence. **1/2 from ****


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