A 2021 Film Journey: Day 119

Once again, today got away from me, but I am going to keep these posts coming even if they end up coming progressively later. Thankfully today I suffered less indecision paralysis. Instead of mindlessly perusing the numerous steaming services at my fingertips in hopes of finding something strikes my fancy I focused on the list of films that are leaving the Criterion Channel after tomorrow.

They Live By Night (1949, Dir. Nicholas Ray)

They Live By Night (Nicholas Ray, 1948) – Offscreen

My personal film journey more or less skipped over the film noir stage of exploration. I went from zero to Bergman in no time flat, so while I have watched close to 2,200 films since I started tracking my watches, the noir genre remains a largely untapped pool of films. While I plan on using this November – aka Noirvember – to fill in my numerous noir blind spots tonight felt like a good chance to get a head start by watching the debut feature by Nicholas Ray, They Live By Night.

They Live By Night is a classic tale of a criminal and his girl living on the run from the law. Bowie (Farley Granger) is a recently escaped convict who falls quickly in love with Keechie (Cathy O’Donnell) the niece of one of the men who helped him to escape. When an altercation with a cop brings about too much heat, Bowie convinces Keechie to take to the road with him.

While Ray would direct In A Lonely Place, a more seminal noir film, just a year later, They Live By Night is a fully enjoyable if unremarkable movie. Very little stands out about the film, but what it does, it does perfectly.

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