They Live By Night (1948)

Nicholas Ray directs Cathy O’Donnell, Farley Granger and Howard Da Silva in this lovers on the run crime romance.

Ray’s first movie displays a mastery and irreverence to the cinematic form. The helicopter tracking shots and overlapping fades might seem old hat now but I bet they blew audiences minds back then with their storytelling flair. The doomed kids trying to survive the dragnet is pretty standard stuff, especially if you’ve seen You Only Live Once, and Granger’s dopey lead isn’t the stuff dream were ever made over. Yet Cathy O’Donnell (a new name to me) gives a wonderfully layered piece of acting as the tough but sad, yearning but lonely Keechie. She feels like a wildly different proposition from the stock femme fatales and simpering good girls and wisecracking ‘one of the boys’ of the Golden Age era.


Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

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