They Live By Night

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Where Altman's later adaptation of Edward Anderson's novel (as Thieves Like Us) opted for the detachment of hindsight, Ray offers us the poetry of doomed romanticism, introducing his outcast lovers with the caption, 'This boy and this girl were never properly introduced to the world we live in'. Though Ray never shirks from action and violence (indeed, Howard da Silva's crushing of Christmas baubles as he warns Granger against going straight is extremely menacing), he turns the film to focus upon his misfit innocents, continually contrasting their basically honourable ideals with the corrupt compromises of 'respectable society'. Passionate, lyrical, and imaginative, it's a remarkably assured debut, from the astonishing opening helicopter shot that follows the escaped convicts' car to freedom, to the final, inexorably tragic climax.

Release details

Duration: 95 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Nicholas Ray
Screenwriter: Charles Schnee
Cast: Farley Granger
Cathy O'Donnell
Howard da Silva
Jay C Flippen
Helen Craig
Will Wright
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