7.5/10
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55 user 69 critic

They Live by Night (1948)

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.

Director:

Nicholas Ray

Writers:

Charles Schnee (screenplay), Nicholas Ray (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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The most complete, newly restored version of Nicholas Ray's experimental masterpiece embodies the director's practice of film-making as a "communal way of life." Ray plays himself in the ... See full summary »

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: Richard Bock, Tom Farrell, Danny Fisher
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cathy O'Donnell ... Keechie
Farley Granger ... Bowie
Howard Da Silva ... Chickamaw
Jay C. Flippen ... T-Dub
Helen Craig Helen Craig ... Mattie
Will Wright ... Mobley
William Phipps ... Young Farmer
Ian Wolfe ... Hawkins
Harry Harvey ... Hagenheimer
Marie Bryant Marie Bryant ... Singer
Will Lee ... Jeweler
James Nolan ... Schreiber (as Jim Nolan)
Charles Meredith ... Comm. Hubbell
Teddy Infuhr Teddy Infuhr ... Alvin
Byron Foulger ... 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:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 November 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Your Red Wagon See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

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

Robert Mitchum lobbied unsuccessfully for the role of Chicamaw. He told Nicholas Ray that he was very familiar with bank robbers and chain gangs, and even cut and dyed his hair black (in the original treatment Chicamaw was an Indian). He was rejected because he had recently been nominated for an Oscar, and a supporting role was considered unworthy for a rising star. See more »

Goofs

Chicamaw's right eye is okay in a brief scene toward the end. Otherwise, the eye is opaque. See more »

Quotes

Bowie: You said you weren't here when the pipes bust. Where were you?
[Keechie gives no response]
Bowie: I asked you where you were!
Keechie: Seein' a doctor.
Bowie: About what?
Keechie: The baby we're gonna have.
Bowie: [angry] Well, that's just fine. That's all I need!
Keechie: You don't see me knittin' anything, do you?
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

Referenced in The Dreamers (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Leigh Harline
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An earlier, and just as involving, version of Thieves Like Us
23 January 2001 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

Nicholas Ray's first feature, in 1949, was an adaptation of the novel Thieves Like Us (which Robert Altman so memorably filmed in the mid-1970s). It's a bit of a surprise to encounter the same characters -- Bowie, Keechie, T-Dub et al. -- in postwar black-and-white. Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell play the star-crossed lovers later rended by Keith Carradine and Shelly Duvall, and they bring a vulnerable, doomed edge to this very interesting, tragic movie. (Granger may never have been better during his brief bout of stardom). The supporting cast isn't quite up to the level of Altman's (without Louise Fletcher and her odd little girl), but on the whole this remains an honorable and moving piece of film art -- and a vital instalment, along with the same year's Gun Crazy (also a tale of doomed, romantic outlaws), in the noir cycle.


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