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Other/Miscellaneous => Off-Topic Discussion => Topic started by: drinkanddestroy on October 22, 2013, 01:17:36 AM

Title: They Live by Night (1948)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 22, 2013, 01:17:36 AM

They Live by Night (1948)

Crew, courtesy of IMDB

Nicholas Ray Director
John Houseman Producer
Dore Schary Executive Producer (uncredited)

Writing credits:
Charles Schnee (screenplay)
Nicholas Ray (adaptation)
Edward Anderson (novel "Thieves Like Us")

Cast, courtesy of Wikipedia

    Cathy O'Donnell as Catherine "Keechie" Mobley
    Farley Granger as Arthur "Bowie" Bowers
    Howard Da Silva as Chicamaw "One-Eye" Mobley
    Jay C. Flippen as Henry "T-Dub" Mansfield
    Helen Craig as Mattie
    Will Wright as Mobley
    William Phipps as Young Farmer
    Ian Wolfe as Hawkins
    Harry Harvey as Hagenheimer
    Marie Bryant as Singer
    Will Lee as Jeweler
    James Nolan as Schreiber
    Charles Meredith as Comm. Hubbell
    Teddy Infuhr as Alvin
    Byron Foulger as Lambert

Here are previous posts on this movie from the Film Noir Discussion Thread:


They Live by Night (1948) - 7.5/10
A good film noir. Okay, maybe it could be 8/10.


dave jenkins:
Could you elaborate? I've had the DVD for some time but I can never quite bring myself to watch it because 1) I dislike Farley Granger; and 2) I really hate Cathy O'donnell. Also, I've seen Altman's version (Thieves Like Us) and I don't really feel like heading back into such territory again. Am I thinking wrong?



I guess the story is pretty much the same in Altman's version. I can't say this would be the most original movie ever (or even if it was at some point it isn't anymore after numerous copycats) but the use of helicopter shots in action scenes is something worth noticing. Also note not showing the heist, an idea that has since been used for example in Reservoir Dogs. Neither one of the main couple (Farley Granger/Cathy O'Donnell) is really personal (in "star" sense) but that doesn't mean they would be dull; I think their relationship is interesting to follow. What can I say? It's a well-written, well-directed and well-acted although not overly original crime movie. Is it worth your time? Well, that depends on what else you have in your shelf.


They Live By Night (1948) I don't like movies where you guess that is gonna go wrong for the protagonist from the start: just look at Granger's face. I also don't like all that molasses: much of it could have been cut off, especially toward the end. I also don't like Granger, not masculine enough. A pity because for the rest the movie is perfect, with great performances by all the other actors. The direction is maybe Ray's best. The score negligible. 7\10


dave jenkins: (quotes titoli's comment "I also don't like Granger, not masculine enough." and replies:)
He was just a place holder until Anthony Perkins could be found.


titoli: (quotes DJ's comment above "He was just a plce holder until Anthony Perkins could be found" and replies:)
I don't know, I don't think they have much in common: Perkins is a good actor, he's not. Maybe I should watch again Senso (a film I don't like, like all melodramas). Probably because of being dubbed is more tolerable there.


cigar joe:
They Live By Night (1949) Dir Nicholas Ray, with Farley Granger, Cathy O'Donnell, Howard Da Silva, Jay C. Flippen, Helen Craig, and Will Wright. This Noir balances better the romance and Noir elements than Moontide did, it has some great sequences with the three main male leads. Granger is Kid Bowie, Howard Da Silva is One-Eye Chickamaw, overly sensitive about having only one eye, goes ballistic everytime a radio announcer calls him One-Eye, lol,  and , Jay C. Flippen is T Dub the older wiser con,  O'Donnell is young "hillbilly" Keehie.

The three cons break out of prison and begin a spree of bank jobs, Bowie finds love with Keechie (Chickamaw's niece) at Chickamaw's brothers place where the gang is  hidingout till the heat is off. The gang eventually splits up with the loot and Keechie leaves with Bowie, they get married at a marriage mill and try to lead a normal life but the gang drags him back to pull another job, which goes to shit. Da Silva has a great close up as One-Eyed Chickamaw.

This is sort of a very loose riff on Bonnie & Clyde. 8/10


Title: Re: They Live by Night (1948)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 22, 2013, 01:44:51 AM
IMO, you're all lowballing this movie. I give it a 9.5/10

I've never had use for Granger, but this is an amazing movie (whether because of him or despite him), maybe the fact that he's half a twinkie is alright here because his character is really not a tough guy, but a young and innocent guy. But even Granger haters should love this movie. I loved Cathy O'Donell here. Howard Da Silva, Jay C. Flippen, and all the other supporting cast members are really good.

There will be inevitable comparisons to Gun Crazy and Bonnie & Clyde (which all came after They Live by Night); while in one respect the comparisons are correct, in that this couple is in love but has to be constantly on the run, can't just settle down and enjoy each other; but it's also very different because unlike GC and B&C, this movie is not about a crime spree. This movie is really a love story, about the couple just wanting nothing but to settle down, but the past crime life haunts them. This is really "love on the run," not "love & crime on the run."

I just can't say enough about how much I love O'Donnell here. She is just amazing  :)


Title: Re: They Live by Night (1948)
Post by: dave jenkins on June 24, 2017, 08:56:54 AM

Title: Re: They Live by Night (1948)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 24, 2017, 07:37:57 PM
I recently saw the movie for a second time, and I can not believe my earlier enthusiastic review  :'( (True, I dislike Granger in this movie less than in any of his others, but he's still far from great.)  This movie gets no more than a 7.5/10

Title: Re: They Live by Night (1948)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 02, 2017, 09:52:53 PM
This movie played today on TCM Noir Alley.

Eddie Muller's intro:

Eddie Muller's afterword: