THEY LIVE BY NIGHT (1949)

Dir. Nicholas Ray

The opening credits of this crime film label stars Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell a boy and girl "never properly introduced to the world we live in," and for all its brutality the picture's true focus is on the stars' doomed, innocent romance. Unjustly convicted Granger escapes from prison with two hardened criminals who force him to help in a string of bank robberies. When he falls for O'Donnell, the niece of one of his accomplices, he tries to escape the gang, only to be labeled mistakenly as the group's leader by the press. Former theatrical director Nicholas Ray made his directing debut with this film, combining moody exteriors, hard-hitting action (including a pioneering helicopter shot) and touching scenes with the young lovers. Although the film lost money when it was dumped in only a few U.S. theaters, it is now viewed as a great directorial debut and the work that set the tone for future "outlaw lovers on the run" films like Arthur Penn's BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967) and Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le Fou (1965). This film was restored by Warner Bros., in association with The Film Foundation and The Nicholas Ray Foundation.

In attendance: Susan Ray.

THEY LIVE BY NIGHT
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