6.9/10
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9 user 3 critic

Let Us Live (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | 21 July 1939 (France)
Two innocent men are wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The fiance of one of them convinces a police detective of their innocence, and together they try to find the real ... See full summary »

Director:

John Brahm

Writers:

Anthony Veiller (screen play), Allen Rivkin (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Maureen O'Sullivan ... Mary Roberts
Henry Fonda ... 'Brick' Tennant
Ralph Bellamy ... Lieutenant Everett
Alan Baxter ... Joe Linden
Stanley Ridges ... District Attorney
Henry Kolker ... Chief of Police
George Lynn ... Joe Taylor (as Peter Lynn)
George Douglas George Douglas ... Ed Walsh
Phillip Trent ... Frank Burke (as Philip Trent)
Martin Spellman ... Jimmy Dugan
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Storyline

Two innocent men are wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The fiance of one of them convinces a police detective of their innocence, and together they try to find the real killer before the men's execution date. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Magnificent Drama For All The People Who Make Up America! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 July 1939 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Laissez-nous vivre See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Columbia Pictures chief Harry Cohn had planned a bigger production, but after much political pressure from Massachusetts the film's budget and publicity were scaled down considerably. See more »

Connections

Featured in Henry Fonda: The Man and His Movies (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms
(1808) (uncredited)
Music traditional
Played on a phonograph in death row
See more »

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User Reviews

The Poignant Title Tells It All
4 February 2019 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Depression Era flick based on true story, but scaled down due to political pressure on Columbia studio (IMDB). O'Sullivan and Fonda are an all-American couple looking to marry. But then Fonda's mistakenly identified as one of three robber-killers, and sentenced to death. However, the deeply committed O'Sullivan refuses to give up and eventually enlists cop Bellamy to help. So, can they prove Fonda's innocence before his execution date.

The subtext pits "little people" like the leads against an unfeeling city bureaucracy more concerned with procedure than justice. Then too, eye-witness testimony is shown as faulty, along with miles of inflexible red-tape. The plight of ordinary folks is further suggested by the dumping of edible food the hungry need in order to drive up wholesale market prices, a not uncommon practice of the time. On the other hand, reference is made to FHA home loans as part of the New Deal's effort to ameliorate conditions. Fonda and O'Sullivan had planned their future around such a home loan. Much of this subtext, I believe, reflects common feelings of the time.

Acting-wise, O'Sullivan gets to run a gamut of emotions from dreamy eyed lover to wild-eyed desperation. That dreamy eyed first part where the couple plans their conventional future pulls us effectively into their later plight. Note, however, that the countdown to execution is not exploited in the fashion of similar crime films. The one real stretch is cop Bellamy risking his career by taking up O'Sullivan's cause. It does however show the potential feeling side to an impersonal bureaucracy, which probably helped assuage Columbia's censorship battle with Massachusetts, the locale of the actual occurrence.

Despite the obscurity, it's an interesting little film (68-minutes) that makes me wonder what the intended version would have been like.


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