7.6/10
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52 user 66 critic

They Live by Night (1948)

Not Rated | | Crime, Film-Noir, Romance | 5 November 1949 (USA)
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.

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(screenplay), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Keechie
... Bowie
... Chickamaw
... T-Dub
Helen Craig ... Mattie
... Mobley
... Young Farmer
... Hawkins
... Hagenheimer
Marie Bryant ... Singer
Will Lee ... Jeweler
... Schreiber (as Jim Nolan)
... Comm. Hubbell
Teddy Infuhr ... Alvin
... Lambert
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Storyline

In the '40s, three prisoners flee from a state prison farm in Mississippi. Among them is 23-years-young Bowie, who spent the last seven years in prison and now hopes to be able to prove his innocence or retire to a home in the mountains and live in peace together with his new love, Keechie. But his criminal companions persuade him to participate in several heists, and soon the police believe him to be their leader and go after "Bowie the Kid" harder than ever. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Cops or no cops I'm going through! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 November 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Your Red Wagon  »

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

Farley Granger personally recommended Cathy O'Donnell for the role of Keechie. See more »

Goofs

The new Cadillac is seen to be covered with a tarpaulin. When the camera swings back to it, the tarpaulin has vanished. See more »

Quotes

Hawkins: [Bowie has just asked Hawkins to arrange a passage to Mexico for Keechie and himself] Son, I'd sure like that money. I'm old, and money's a real comfort to an old man. And maybe I did help you before, but not now. I believe in helping people get what they want, as long as they can pay for it. I've married people 'cause there's a little hope that they'll be happy. But I can't take this money of yours. No, sir. In a way, I'm a thief just the same as you are, but I won't sell you hope when there ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: This boy . . . and this girl . . . were never properly introduced to the world we live in . . . To tell their story . . . See more »

Connections

Featured in They Live by Night: The Twisted Road (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

The Bridal Chorus
(uncredited)
Music by Richard Wagner
Arranged by Leigh Harline
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User Reviews

 
Noir Tales Of 'Keechie,' 'T-Dub, "Chickamaw' And Other Common Names
28 December 2007 | by See all my reviews

This was the first pairing of Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell and it was successful enough so that the two worked together two years later in "Side Street. I heard that this movie was sort of a early "Bonnie and Clyde," and it was, but only to a degree.

Granger and O'Donnell didn't really dominate the screen until after 40 minutes but after that, it was mostly them. Frankly, I enjoyed the first 40 minutes best when Howard da Silva and J.C. Flippen shared the screen time. They were great film noir characters in this movie (and they did come back in the second half, livening up the film again.) I liked their names in here: da Silva was "Chicamaw." and Flippen was "T-Dub." In most of the second half of this movie, it went from a noir to a romance. but that's not surprising knowing the director was Nicholas Ray.

This is the best I've ever seen O'Donnell, who never impressed me much but she's impressive here with a fine performance and a nice '40s look to her. She had a strange character name, too: "Keechie." Granger ("Arthur Bowers") does a nice job, too. For an uneducated thug, he sure comes across as a really nice guy. It's kinda of weird. He reminded me of John Dall in "Gun Crazy" (1950). Some of the camera-work also reminded me of "Gun Crazy."

However, one major detail should be noted: unlike "Gun Crazy" and "Bonnie & Clyde," the two lovers in this movie did NOT rob banks together. O'Donnell's character never gets involved in any crime, so comparing this film to those doesn't really fit. Most of "Keechie's" time is spent living in a remote cabin lodge, and suggesting periodically to her husband that he go straight - a far cry from the women Peggy Cummins and Faye Dunaway played.

Like a lot of good film noirs, this also has some very good supporting actors who play weird people, and say weird things. Some of the dialogue in this movie is fascinating because it's so odd. One example is the guy who marries the couple for $20. Another is Keechie's father.

This is a odd little "B" noir/melodrama and definitely one that film noir fans should check out. Romantics will like it, too. I'm glad it is now available on disc, as part of the Film Noir Classics Collection Volume 4.


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