IMDb > They Live by Night (1948)
They Live by Night
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They Live by Night (1948) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.6/10   4,179 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 23% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Charles Schnee (screenplay)
Nicholas Ray (adaptation)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for They Live by Night on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
5 November 1949 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
"We're in a Jam!" See more »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
NewsDesk:
(48 articles)
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User Reviews:
a classic "B-noir" film with heart and style See more (45 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Cathy O'Donnell ... Keechie

Farley Granger ... Bowie
Howard Da Silva ... Chickamaw

Jay C. Flippen ... T-Dub
Helen Craig ... Mattie

Will Wright ... Mobley
William Phipps ... Young Farmer

Ian Wolfe ... Hawkins

Harry Harvey ... Hagenheimer
Marie Bryant ... Singer

Will Lee ... Jeweler
James Nolan ... Schreiber (as Jim Nolan)
Charles Meredith ... Comm. Hubbell
Teddy Infuhr ... Alvin
Byron Foulger ... Lambert
Guy Beach ... Plumber (as Guy L. Beach)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jane Allen ... Woman (uncredited)
Paul Bakanas ... Shadow (uncredited)
Regan Callais ... Young Wife (uncredited)
Lewis Charles ... Auto Lot Attendant (uncredited)
Curt Conway ... Man in Tuxedo (uncredited)
Suzi Crandall ... Lulu (uncredited)
Helen Crozier ... Nurse (uncredited)
Boyd Davis ... Herman (uncredited)

Gail Davis ... Girl at Parking Lot (uncredited)
James Dobson ... Boy at Parking Lot (uncredited)
Ralph Dunn ... Policeman (uncredited)

Frank Ferguson ... Bum (uncredited)
Dan Foster ... Groom (uncredited)

Fred Graham ... Motorcycle Cop (uncredited)
Eula Guy ... Mrs. Haviland (uncredited)
N.L. Hitch ... Bus Driver (uncredited)
J. Louis Johnson ... Restroom Porter (uncredited)
Chester Jones ... Waiter in Nightclub (uncredited)
Tom Kennedy ... Cop (uncredited)
Kate Drain Lawson ... Tillie (uncredited)
Frank Marlowe ... Robert Mansfield, Mattie's Husband (uncredited)
Myra Marsh ... Mrs. Schaeffer (uncredited)
Marilyn Mercer ... Bride (uncredited)
Carmen Morales ... Mother on Bus (uncredited)
Jimmy Moss ... Boy on Bus (uncredited)
Stanley Prager ... Short Order Man (uncredited)
Erskine Sanford ... Doctor (uncredited)
Mickey Simpson ... Shadow (uncredited)
Bert Stevens ... Tailor (uncredited)
Russ Whiteman ... Man (uncredited)
Lynn Whitney ... Waitress (uncredited)
Douglas Williams ... Drunk (uncredited)

Directed by
Nicholas Ray 
 
Writing credits
Charles Schnee (screenplay)

Nicholas Ray (adaptation)

Edward Anderson (novel "Thieves Like Us")

Produced by
John Houseman .... producer
Dore Schary .... executive producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Leigh Harline 
 
Cinematography by
George E. Diskant (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Sherman Todd 
 
Art Direction by
Albert S. D'Agostino 
Alfred Herman  (as Al Herman)
 
Set Decoration by
Darrell Silvera (set decorations)
Maurice Yates (set decorations)
 
Costume Design by
Adele Balkan (uncredited)
 
Makeup Department
Gordon Bau .... makeup supervisor
Helen Grizuk .... hair stylist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
James H. Anderson .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
James Lane .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
John L. Cass .... sound (as John Cass)
Clem Portman .... sound
Roy Meadows .... sound recordist (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Russell A. Cully .... special effects (as Russell A.Cully)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Edward Bergholz .... camera operator (uncredited)
Paul Ivano .... director of photography: second unit (uncredited)
Ollie Sigurdson .... still photographer (uncredited)
 
Music Department
C. Bakaleinikoff .... musical director
 
Other crew
Samuel Goldwyn .... Cathy O'Donnell and Farley Granger appear by arrangement with
Dore Schary .... presenter
Knute Flint .... helicopter pilot (uncredited)
Mercy Weireter .... script supervisor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
95 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Finland:K-16 | France:U | Germany:12 | Netherlands:18 (original rating) (1950) | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | USA:Approved (certificate #12567)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The opening helicopter shot was the first scene that Nicholas Ray ever directed.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: Chicamaw's right eye is okay in a brief scene toward the end. Otherwise, the eye is opaque.See more »
Quotes:
[last lines]
Catherine 'Keechie' Mobley:[reading Bowie's letter to herself] "Hello girl. I'm gonna miss you. I gotta do it this way... I'll send for both of you when I can... no matter how long it takes, I gotta see that kid... he's lucky; he'll have you to keep him squared around."
[whispers]
Catherine 'Keechie' Mobley:I love you, Bowie.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Edge of Outside (2006)See more »
Soundtrack:
Jingle BellsSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
17 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
a classic "B-noir" film with heart and style, 13 May 2006
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States

Nicholas Ray's first film is a fascinating, enveloping example of a filmmaker getting as much as he can out of so little. His film was made under the radar at RKO, despite having John Houseman as a producer. While also having a cast of really unknowns, he also uses it to his advantage to tell a small story very well. It's close to being one of the more 'text-book' examples, in the story's core, in the history of B-noir (film-noir that didn't get the hype of The Big Sleep or Out of the Past, star vehicles as much as unique thrillers). Bowie (Farley Granger, soon to be a Hitchcock stock-player) escapes from jail with the help of a couple of bank robbers who make him, as they say, "an investment." He meets a girl, Keechie (Cathy O'Donnell), daughter of a farmer they pass by, and he becomes friends with her, so to speak. She agrees to leave town with him and they also decide, almost on a whim, to get married (for twenty bucks no less). But soon, very soon, fall in love, however, despite the checkered and now notorious past catching up to Bowie.

Obviously, if you're looking for stellar, "method" acting, look elsewhere in the main performances. But they do have enough of a pull in their chemistry on screen- sometimes rough and spelling of their doomed relationship, other times tragically tender- to back up the best aspects to the film. The true pleasures in seeing They Live By Night are the details that Ray lays in the scenes, bits of life probably taken from the book the movie's based on. Godard once proclaimed that Ray "IS cinema". If this statement does hold validity to a degree, it shows for certain even in Ray's debut in the scenes with the secondary platers. Such as the wedding scene, or in general with the dialog in the script (i.e. "Between him and the chicken, I'd bet on the chicken", or "I'm the black sheep" "the only thing black about you are your eyelashes), or even with the strengths in Ray's camera as a simple storyteller. In a sense this cuts right to the chase with the theme of doomed youth, years before Rebel Without a Cause yet with the given desperation of the noir films.

While generally less seen than Ray's other films (though more attributable to being less available on video), it's likely one of his best; a powerful mix of the bittersweet tale of a criminal and his love that would decades later meld with other crime-film elements into a work like True Romance.

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