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They Drive by Night

(1940 b 95')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Adapted from the novel by A. I. Bezzerides, brothers drive a truck; one is injured, and the other must fend off the boss's wife.

Brothers Joe Fabrini (George Raft) and Paul Fabrini (Humphrey Bogart) drive a truck but are in an accident. At a café Joe meets waitress Cassie (Ann Sheridan) and calls Mike Williams, who sends Farnsworth (Charles Halton) to repossess their truck. Paul joins Joe, and they hide from Farnsworth. Dawson tells them Williams sent him to take their load. Joe and Paul go to Williams, take the $300 he owes them, and Joe socks him. In the rain they pick up Cassie, who quit her job. Joe has them stop for dinner. Harry (John Litel) falls asleep driving and crashes. Paul comes home to his wife Pearl (Gale Page). Joe gets Cassie a room. She asks him to leave; but he falls asleep, and she sleeps in a chair.

Joe gets into a fight. Lana Carlsen (Ida Lupino) criticizes her husband Ed Carlsen (Alan Hale). Ed asks her what she is doing with the company money. Joe calls on Ed, who offers him a job; but Joe wants to work for himself. Ed goes out to get help, and Lana complains that Joe stayed away. Ed tells Joe he can get lemons in Pomona. Pearl asks Paul not to drive. Farnsworth with a sheriff comes for the truck; but Paul sneaks out and flags down Joe, who says he bought lemons. Joe gets $580 for them and calls Cassie. Joe and Paul pay Farnsworth $350 for the truck. Joe makes sleepy Paul drive, and they go off the road and crash. Joe tells Pearl that Paul lost his arm. Ed tells Lana that Joe is going to drive for him; but she says to keep him in the office. At dinner at home Paul gets upset. While dancing Joe asks Cassie to marry; but she says he has to help Paul.

At a party in Ed's new house Lana nags drunk Ed, who shows Joe the electric light that controls the garage doors. Joe tells Lana that he won't play around with her. Lana drives drunk Ed home and leaves him in the garage with the motor running, letting the doors close. Crying Lana explains to the District Attorney (Henry O'Neill), who calls Ed's death accidental. Lana summons Joe and asks him to be her partner. Paul works for Joe, and Lana shows Joe her new car but sees Cassie and faints. Joe tells Lana he is getting married. Lana says she murdered Ed for him. Lana tells the D. A. that Joe made her kill Ed. In jail Lana tells visiting Cassie she loves Joe but becomes hysterical over an automatic door. The D. A. prosecutes Joe, but Lana becomes psychotic. Joe is released and wants to give up the business; but Cassie gets the drivers to keep Joe in charge.

This melodrama indicates that a vindictive woman, who has been spurned, is almost as dangerous as the risks of truck-driving.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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