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The Crack Magazine


Something Of The Night About Them

“Cinema is Nicholas Ray” accord - ing to French New Waver Jean-Luc Godard and it’s not hard to see why the ‘Cahiers du Cinéma’ crew loved the US director with his innovative compositions, use of colour, and deep-rooted themes. Among the concerns he returned to time and again involved misfits and outsiders and this was something he was pushing in his very first feature. ‘They Live By Night’ begins with its focus on a criminal gang. Among their ranks is Bowie (Farley Granger) a wide-eyed fugitive who, truth be known, longs for a quiet life. He thinks he might get it when he hooks up with the innocent Keechie (Cathy O’Donnell). The pair see something in each other that no one else ever has and they hit the road to try and make a different life for themselves. Bowie’s gang, and the police, meanwhile, have other ideas about where their future lies. This is one of the great doomy romances from the film noir firmament (even the fella who marries them says: “I won’t sell you hope when there ain’t any…”) and Granger himself offers his thoughts on this when in conversation with film historian Eddie Muller on this release’s audio commentary. 

They Live By Night is released by the Criterion Collection on 20 April.