Review: ‘They Live by Night’

Underneath They Live By Night is a moving, somber story of hopeless young love. There's no attempt at sugarcoating a happy ending, and yarn moves towards its inevitable, tragic climax without compromise.

Underneath They Live By Night is a moving, somber story of hopeless young love. There’s no attempt at sugarcoating a happy ending, and yarn moves towards its inevitable, tragic climax without compromise.

A gifted team of young players stands out in making the performances thoroughly realistic. Farley Granger and Cathy O’Donnell are in the lead roles, selling the portrayals with a sock.

The script by Charles Schnee is based on Edward Anderson’s novel, Thieves Like Us, and tells the story of a young escaped convict who falls in love and marries a girl whose circumstances are little better than his own.

Nicholas Ray adapted the novel and directed, demonstrating a complete understanding of the characters. It’s a firstrate job of moody storytelling. Howard da Silva clicks as a ruthless, one-eyed bank robber, and Jay C. Flippen is equally topnotch for his delineation of a criminal.

They Live by Night

Production

RKO. Director Nicholas Ray; Producer John Houseman; Screenplay Charles Schnee; Camera George E. Diskant; Editor Sherman Todd; Music Leigh Harline; Art Director Albert S. D'Agostino, Al Herman

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1948. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Cathy O'Donnell Farley Granger Howard da Silva Jay C. Flippen Helen Craig Will Wright

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