7.3/10
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73 user 42 critic

They Drive by Night (1940)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 3 August 1940 (USA)
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1:51 | Trailer
When one of two truck-driving brothers loses an arm, they both join a transport company where later, the other is falsely charged as an accessory in the murder of the owner.

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Writers:

Jerry Wald (screen play), Richard Macaulay (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
George Raft ... Joe Fabrini
Ann Sheridan ... Cassie Hartley
Ida Lupino ... Lana Carlsen
Humphrey Bogart ... Paul Fabrini
Gale Page ... Pearl Fabrini
Alan Hale ... Ed Carlsen
Roscoe Karns ... Irish McGurn
John Litel ... Harry McNamara
George Tobias ... 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:

NO PICTURE IN 1940 WILL HAVE BIGGER THRILLS (original one-sheet poster) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 August 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

De färdas om natten See more »

Filming Locations:

Owens Valley, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$400,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

In the prison an electric eye door opens when Lana Carlsen and the guard breaks the ray. Afterwards they break the ray several more times without the door moving until it finally closes after they enter the other room. See more »

Quotes

Sue Carter: What's your name?
Irish McGurn: What's the difference? Sit down and have a drink. It's drinking that makes you beautiful.
Sue Carter: Aw, I haven't been drinking.
Irish McGurn: I know, but I have.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Sex, Censorship and the Silver Screen: Censored (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Early to rise and early to bed, makes a man healthy, but socially dead.
23 February 2011 | by hitchcockthelegendSee 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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