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Love -- United States -- Drama, Man-woman relationships -- United States -- Drama, United States -- Social conditions -- 1918-1945 -- Drama

They Live by Night

35mm Archival Print


Cathy O'Donnell, Farley Granger, Howard Da Silva, Jay C. Flippen,

Fugitive lovers on the run from nightmare America—drab, mercenary, and insanely competitive—create their own fantasy world full of charm and playful naiveté in Ray's contribution to l'amour fou. Bowie (Farley Granger), an escaped convict, and Keechie (Cathy O'Donnell) are innocents who were "never properly introduced to the world we live in," and their romance is their only defense against a cruel world. Already in this astonishing first film, Ray's style is striking in its compactness and expressive mise-en-scène, and personal in its peculiarly nervous existentialism. The tenderness of the love story contrasts sharply with the noir elements of the genre.