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They Live by Night

(1948 b 95')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Based on Edward Anderson's novel, three escaped convicts rob a bank, and the youngest falls in love and gets married.

Four men stop a car in a field, and Chicamaw Mobley (Howard Da Silva) beats up one man. The three walk, but Arthur Bowers (Farley Granger) hurts his ankle and stays behind. Catherine Mobley (Cathy O'Donnell) tries to start her car, and Arthur gets in. She takes him to the cabin, where he finds Chicamaw, his father Mobley (Will Wright), and T-Dub Mansfield (Jay C. Flippen). They read the news of their prison break. Mobley brings Mattie Mansfield (Helen Craig) in the car, and he was drinking. Arthur tells Catherine that he was in prison for seven years for a murder when he was sixteen. She advises him not to rob.

In good clothes Arthur, Chicamaw, and T-Dub drive to Zelton. Arthur buys jewelry and goes with the jeweler to the bank. The three men go to Mattie's, who wants her brother out of prison. Arthur waits in the car while Chicamaw and T-Dub rob the bank. Arthur tells the jeweler to go away. The three drive off and set fire to the car, transferring to another.

Chicamaw buys a car, and Arthur crashes his. Chicamaw shoots a cop, and Arthur says he is sick. Chicamaw gives Catherine some money. She massages Arthur's back, and he gives her a bracelet. She tells Arthur she will go with him.

Arthur and Catherine take a bus. At a rest stop he asks her to marry him, and Hawkins (Ian Wolfe) performs the wedding for $20. They buy a car and stay at Lambert's inn. Mobley tells the police that Arthur took his daughter. Chicamaw finds Arthur and says he has no money left, but Arthur refuses to rob again. Chicamaw says he will come back. Catherine returns from Christmas shopping, but she and Arthur quarrel.

Arthur goes to Chicamaw and T-Dub, who bullies Arthur. In a car Arthur and Chicamaw hear news of their bungled bank robbery in which T-Dub was killed. Arthur lets Chicamaw out and finds Catherine in the flooded cabin. She says Chicamaw was killed breaking into a liquor store. Lambert brings a plumber. Catherine says she is pregnant, and they leave.

They sleep in the car and drive at night. They have a good time at a resort. In a men's room a man gets Arthur's gun and tells him to leave town. They stop at a motel. Mattie asks Arthur to leave, but he insists on staying. Mattie informs on Arthur to get her brother released. Arthur comforts Catherine and goes out.

Arthur offers Hawkins money to help them get to Mexico, but he declines. Arthur gives Mattie money and asks her to take care of Catherine. Mattie urges him to see Catherine once more. Arthur walks to the cabin and is shot by police. Catherine reads his note.

This drama of desperate fugitives trying to evade the law offers little hope for a future and reflects the depression era when criminals like Bonnie and Clyde went on crime sprees. Yet even in these dismal circumstances a young couple experiences love.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

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