This character study joins the painter at the height of his fame in 1642, when his adored wife suddenly dies and his work takes a dark, sardonic turn that offends his patrons. By 1656, he ... See full summary »
A gang of street boys foil a master crook who sends commands for robberies by cunningly altering a comic strip's wording each week, unknown to writer and printer. The first of the Ealing ... See full summary »
The plot pits Hornleigh and Bingham against a clever gang of Nazi espionage agents. Most of the action takes place aboard a speeding train, with our heroes never quite certain who can be ... See full summary »
Elderly Mrs. Ross lives alone in her meager flat, scraping by on government assistance even as she claims to have great wealth. After finding stolen money she is victimized, making it necessary to find her support in her declining years.
They Drive by Night is directed by Arthur Woods and collectively written by Paul Gangelin, Derek Twist and from his own novel; James Curtis. It stars Emlyn Williams, Ernest Thesiger and Anna Konstam. Music is by Bretton Byrd and cinematography by Basil Emmott.
Just released from Pentonville Prison, Shorty Matthews (Williams) visits a lady friend and finds her murdered in her own bed. Pannicking and believing the police will have him marked for the crime, Shortie goes on the run in the hope that the real killer will be caught...
It's still something of a lost British treasure is Arthur Woods' They Drive By Night, it's a film that has gained justifiable high regard by those who have managed to track it down for viewing. Essentially a innocent man on the run picture at its plot core, it's the surrounding meat on the bones that lift it to classic suspense noir status.
The Thrill Of Evil.
It's a picture of persistent rain that lashes the streets and highways, the wind an aural accomplice of some magnitude. A tale infused with grim snack bars, gambling dens, abandoned buildings or artisan abodes that are inhabited by either crafty cockney's, spivs, macho truckers or camp fetishist maniacs! And of course our protagonist is up against it from the off, wherever he turns he seems destined to be the victim of fate and circumstance.
Sex In Relation To Society.
As a portrait of pre Second World War British society it's gloomy and unrelentingly bleak, with Woods (sadly to die in the War) and Emmott achieving a stunning sense of time and place by way of dim lights and contrasts that ensures moody atmospherics go hand in hand with the machinations of the story. This can very much be seen as a forerunner (influence) to some of the great British noirs that followed a decade later.
Studies In Murder.
Some scenes get under the skin and stay there, while others surprisingly enchant the soul; such is their beauty. Lead cast performances are mightily strong, with Thesiger the star as he enters the tale late in the day and turns in a creepy show that startles in the way that calmness of evil is portrayed. While Thesiger's facial features are used to maximum potential by the astute director.
Only real problem here is the musical score by Bretton Byrd. Too often the music is ill fittingly jolly, it immediately conjures up images (to those familiar with 1930s British comedy movies) of the films made by the great Will Hay. Sure enough on examination we find that Byrd did indeed provide the music for four Hay movies in the 30s, and it sadly shows in a film that doesn't deserve such jollification.
Musical problem aside, this is a ripper of a movie, worthy of better exposure and definitely of major interest to anyone interested in the early steps of British film noir. 8.5/10
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this