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rohanaka

A Walk on the Noir Side

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To me The Glass Key is the best Lake Ladd picture. It is even more romantic than The Blue Dahlia (since Lake isn't married in that one), and it is a lot more gritty and realistic.

 

The overall cast in The Glass Key is also better than any other Lake Ladd picture in my view. This is a top notch picture.

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I like the beginning of The Glass Key...the way Ladd and Lake are at odds from the start.

But the story was a little "dry" for me. Still, I like all their films together and think a DVD box set

of Key, Gun for Hire and Dahlia (restored, commentaries) would be tremendous.

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I finally watched *They Live by Night*. It is by far my favorite Nicholas Ray movie. For a few months now, since I have seen a few Farley Granger movies besides *Strangers on a Train*, he has risen in my estimation greatly. Both he and Cathy O'Donnell are fantastic here, it is my favorite also for both of them.

 

I haven't read through the comments yet, but what a great movie this is - so exciting and very, very different from anything anyone had made up until this point I think. Ray was incredibly innovative in the way he shot this film, in the same way that Gun Crazy was innovative, except that you don't notice camera angles as much. The sense of excitement just rises and you are aware of a sense of danger because of the camera work. The plus side here is that Ray gets incredibly realistic and heartfelt, beautiful performances from his couple...

 

All Ray's films seem connected to one another, in some deep and profound way. I find it fascinating that cars play such extremely important roles in his films, as extensions of his heroes, as a means of escalating the drama, as a definition of place, and as a way for his characters to escape briefly from their unhappy homes and "the vultures" of the world.

 

The two leads are so young and tender, you want desperately to cradle the two in your arms and give them a place of shelter from the ugliness of the world. O'Donnell completely grounds pie in the sky Granger, and Granger gives O'Donnell some heat and excitement. They are perfect complements.

 

I've never seen Cathy O'Donnell so relaxed and easy before, she always has a bit of "actress" stamped on her performances. I saw none of that here and I can only say she was absolutely the best under Ray's direction. Brilliant, in fact, as was Granger.

 

I see that Frank has mentioned Helen Craig as Mattie. She was such a sad character to me, and the actress was wonderful with her sad, wounded eyes.

 

I was stupid enough to go and look the movie up on IMDB, where it was characterized over and over by viewers as "flawed, but interesting and innovative". I would love to ask, "where are these flaws?" I found none.

 

This is a movie I will come back to and back to. It was beautiful, heart wrenching and something I could really empathize with, right from the incredible prologue. The two faces will forever be etched in my mind, along with a lingering sadness at the tragedy of it all.

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Oct 28, 2010 2:18 PM

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Thanks very much, Maven.

 

TLBN was such a well made movie - the pace was slow and deliberate at the beginning. I liked the way the two lovers were so suspicious of one another, circling like animals, checking each other out. Then as they got to know one another, the tough suspicion dropped, and they were just like two little kids. There was something magical about the two finding one another in an ash heap, that disgusting gas station, so to speak.

 

When Granger says he was in jail for seven years, it was like a slap in the face, so shocking. I wonder how many people watching this film did the quick arithmetic in their heads - 16 years old, going to prison for murder. Awful. The other big shock for me in the movie was when T-Dub slapped Bowie.... and then again, and again. So shocking that this previously benign presence in the film could be so coldly violent, even as he understood the plight of the young couple. Those slaps of Nick Ray's, they really hurt.... it was like slapping a young puppy for wanting to play and I felt each one, violently.

 

In some ways I felt that Keechie's old man was the worst of them all. He would sell his own daughter out for a drink. I realize he was in the grip of alcoholism, but what a piece of work he was, and she was always left having to pick up the pieces after. DaSilva was the same - it felt very real to me that these two were brothers - because all DaSilva wanted was more and more money to stay drunk, and a little fame to stoke his incredible ego.

The irony of the situation was not lost on me - here was DaSilva, wanting nothing more than to be a big man in the papers, and Bowie wanting nothing more than to be hidden away , anonymous, forever. Life is cruel enough to give each of them the exact opposite of what they want. I was sure DaSilva was going to give the two up to the police out of spite.

 

On a side note, can anyone tell me what nifties are? The billboard that Bowie hides behind has an ad for "Nifties" - I am thinking they are foundation garments of some kind and are important to the plot. :D

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Oct 28, 2010 6:21 PM

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Great stuff, Jackie, boy you really got this movie down to the ground. This

was your first viewing? It's taken me the second viewing and this discussion

to bring out all the film's layers to me.

 

But I disagree with the Imdb.com posters who say it's "flawed"...like you,

I can't see any sign of that.

 

Agree with you about Keechie's father. I blamed him for her pitiful situation. And

I don't give him any of the credit that she was still a good girl in spite of the awful

life he led her.

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Yes, it was my first viewing. I kept putting it off for some unknown reason.

 

I guess I had some ridiculous notions about not liking Nick Ray. I was wrong. This movie, and *On Dangerous Ground* are really wonderful stories, exceptionally well made and strongly emotional, even magical, full of odd touches of fate, which is what I like. A LOT.

 

I had assumed from a little reading and watching documentaries that Ray was a self indulgent, violent drunk, who always tried to make you feel sorry for his reprehensible outsiders (himself), and made excuses for beating women, and this rubbed me the wrong way. What I know of his personal life brought out the prig in me. :D

 

Though I do like *Rebel Without a Cause*, I dislike some of it's florid preachiness, although once I am into it, I fall for it all the way. I just have to be in the mood to let myself go, in an un-judgmental way. I could not get that picture of Ray out of my head when watching other Ray films until now. I think I have made a huge mistake in thinking I know Ray from just a couple of films and a documentary. I wish now that I had learned nothing about him until after I had seen all his movies.

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that's interesting, Jackie. I never knew much about him. I read most of "I was interrupted" a

while back, but found it too unfocused to stay with it. he definitely was seriously messed up

as he got older. good director in his prime, though.

 

as for *rebel without a cause*, i appreciated it when i was a teen myself. now

i really can do without watching it. it's a good film, but i'm just not into teen problems

anymore. *they live by night* is a much better story about young people, anyway.

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> {quote:title=MissGoddess wrote:}{quote}

> as for *rebel without a cause*, i appreciated it when i was a teen myself. now

> i really can do without watching it. it's a good film, but i'm just not into teen problems

> anymore. *they live by night is a much better story about young people, anyway.*

 

I think so too. :D

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What's the word, Quiet Gal

 

SCIENCE!!! ha. Make that SUPER Science.. .no.. make it SUPER SCIENCE SATURDAY!! ha.

 

OH my golly... am I ever ZONKED!! I have just spent the last several days getting thing prepared for an ALL day (early this am until after dark) "day camp" event with the scout troop kids.. OH me, oh my.. Science "rocks" ha. (the badge work I led for this was "Geology" ha.. so I have to say that.. ha)

 

Anyway.. it was a LOT of fun..and a HUGE success.. (thankfully) but boy oh boy.. I see I have fallen woefully behind here.

 

Wowsa.. I am loving the chat I am seeing on TLBN. I want to go back to re-read some of the stuff you folks have been bringing up (when I am not nearly so "bleary eyed"... but wanted to say that I think it is really fun that this film has generated such good "chat" (Ms Favell.. I am really glad you got to see this one)

 

I will get back w/ you all soon.. but ha.. well.. it may still be a day or two.. tomorrow is going to be another busy one..

 

(Gee.. I USED to know what sleep was.. but I am so tired now.. I think I have forgotten, ha) :D

 

think Quiet Gal would absolutely love On Dangerous Ground. I think she'd really go for the entire story, the characters, the look, the music, the emotion. The film pretty much has it all

 

That is one I am really looking forward to (after reading your comments here. Thanks to a couple of friends, I have been able to come by a copy of it.. so it USED to be on my "Wanna See list" and NOW it is on my "Hopefully SOON to see" instead. I will report back in when I get a chance to let you know. (I still have a couple of others I need to get to first though.. so it might be a week or so)

 

Did I mention I was falling "woefully" behind?? Ha. :D

 

(Oh golly.. if I don't get w/ the program soon. I am going to have to go on the lamb.. ha. The Grey Dude will start calling ME "shiftless" for SURE, ha) :P

 

Edited by: rohanaka on Oct 30, 2010 10:45 PM

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Hi Ro,

 

I also think that you will love *On Dangerous Ground*. One of my favorites! I haven't seen *They Live By Night* in many years so I really need a fresh viewing before I read up on the discussion.

 

As for falling behind, I'm so far behind I've fallen off everyone's radar! :)

 

So I will sneak back in when I can!

 

"Shiftless Quiet Gal" ??? My, My what is the world coming too? :D

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*They Live By Night* is on tomorrow, November 1st, at 11:15 AM ET.

 

It will be followed at 1:00 PM ET by the other Farley Granger/Cathy O'Donnell pairing, *Side Street*, directed by Anthony Mann.

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for years i confused *side street* with *they live by night*.

 

i'll try to record it, it's been forever since i saw that one, too. thanks, jackie.

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I'm really noticing the sparse use of music in *They Live By Night*. Most of the movie is completely silent - no background music, which is refreshing and adds to the tension. The scene that is most striking is after the Zelton robbery, the radio is blaring some swing bluegrass song, but then they have to burn the car and the song is distorted and dies.....

 

And I love the song used in the intimate scenes between Bowie and Keechie:

 

I know where I'm goin'

and I know who's goin' with me

I know who I love

and my dear knows who I'll marry.

 

I have stockings of silk

and shoes of bright green leather

Combs to buckle my hair

and a ring for every finger

 

O' feather beds are soft

and painted rooms are bonnie

But I would give them all

for my handsome winsome Johnny

 

Some say that he's poor,

but I say that he's bonnie

Fairest of them all

is my handsome winsome Johnny.

 

Alternate verse:

 

Some say he?s dark,

I say he?s bonny,

He?s the flower of them all

My handsome, coaxing Johnny.

 

I know where I?m going,

I know who?s going with me,

I know who I love,

But the dear knows who I?ll marry.

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Just wanted to let everyone know what a wonderful noir that *Pitfall* is!! I went to the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD., this past Saturday and saw it. Wow!! What a great movie, with good performances by Dick Powell, Lizabeth Scott, Jane Wyatt, and Raymond Burr. If you ever get the chance to see it, please do!! - Mary

 

Edited by: moviesrgr8 on Nov 1, 2010 11:59 AM

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What's the word, Little Red Buick? -- I loved reading your words on They Live by Night. They were wonderful. I'm glad the film moved you as much as it did. It's one of my favorite films noir. I believe it's the most romantic of all film noir.

 

I finally watched They Live by Night. It is by far my favorite Nicholas Ray movie. For a few months now, since I have seen a few Farley Granger movies besides Strangers on a Train, he has risen in my estimation greatly. Both he and Cathy O'Donnell are fantastic here, it is my favorite also for both of them.

 

It's also my favorite Cathy O'Donnell performance. She's so lovely in this film. Farley is also terrific. I like him as an actor. Both are on the "tender" side.

 

I haven't read through the comments yet, but what a great movie this is - so exciting and very, very different from anything anyone had made up until this point I think. Ray was incredibly innovative in the way he shot this film, in the same way that Gun Crazy was innovative, except that you don't notice camera angles as much. The sense of excitement just rises and you are aware of a sense of danger because of the camera work. The plus side here is that Ray gets incredibly realistic and heartfelt, beautiful performances from his couple...

 

That was nicely expressed. Ray was very unique in his ability to mix hard with soft, harsh with tender. His films noir usually have a great deal of heart.

 

All Ray's films seem connected to one another, in some deep and profound way. I find it fascinating that cars play such extremely important roles in his films, as extensions of his heroes, as a means of escalating the drama, as a definition of place, and as a way for his characters to escape briefly from their unhappy homes and "the vultures" of the world.

 

Now that is an absolutely fascinating observation. In the Ray films I've seen, cars are used as escape, be it from the law (They Live by Night) or from your own world (On Dangerous Ground) or from yourself (In a Lonely Place).

 

The two leads are so young and tender, you want desperately to cradle the two in your arms and give them a place of shelter from the ugliness of the world. O'Donnell completely grounds pie in the sky Granger, and Granger gives O'Donnell some heat and excitement. They are perfect complements.

 

Ooooooooooohhh, I like that! They really do complement each other so well.

 

I liked this:

 

theylive3.jpg

 

That speaks to both their "inexperience." It's rare to find that in film noir.

 

I've never seen Cathy O'Donnell so relaxed and easy before, she always has a bit of "actress" stamped on her performances. I saw none of that here and I can only say she was absolutely the best under Ray's direction. Brilliant, in fact, as was Granger.

 

I know what you're saying with Cathy. She can be guilty of trying too hard. What she brings to the screen is such a natural sweetness and innocence. That's extremely rare. I was trying to think of actresses that match Cathy's sweetness and innocence and the only ones that come to mind for me are Gail Russell and Teresa Wright. And I feel Cathy is the softest of that trio.

 

I see that Frank has mentioned Helen Craig as Mattie. She was such a sad character to me, and the actress was wonderful with her sad, wounded eyes.

 

You're right, Mattie does have a sadness to her. She's very lonely but also quite bitter. She wants a different life but she made her decision and you get the feeling she really regrets it yet she still loves her man and stands by him. I feel for the girl.

 

I loved how she reacted to Bowie's written words to Keechie. She wished her man would say those words to her. If she heard those words, all she had been putting herself through for him would have felt justified to her. That's what she really wants.

 

It's amazing how such a small character in the film could come to mean so much.

 

I was stupid enough to go and look the movie up on IMDB, where it was characterized over and over by viewers as "flawed, but interesting and innovative". I would love to ask, "where are these flaws?" I found none.

 

Really?! That does surprise.

 

TLBN was such a well made movie - the pace was slow and deliberate at the beginning. I liked the way the two lovers were so suspicious of one another, circling like animals, checking each other out. Then as they got to know one another, the tough suspicion dropped, and they were just like two little kids. There was something magical about the two finding one another in an ash heap, that disgusting gas station, so to speak.

 

That's excellent. You're definitely right, they were a bunch of kids. They hadn't experienced any kind of love. It was all new to them.

 

And I love the song used in the intimate scenes between Bowie and Keechie:

 

Wonderful! Thank you for taking the trouble to post the lyrics. I always listen to the lyrics of songs in films because they usually help tell the story. I didn't catch all the lyrics with this one, so that was very good of you to do so.

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> {quote:title=FrankGrimes wrote:}{quote}

> *What's the word, Little Red Buick? -- I loved reading your words on They Live by Night. They were wonderful. I'm glad the film moved you as much as it did. It's one of my favorite films noir. I believe it's the most romantic of all film noir.*

 

I think it might be my favorite noir after today's showing. It was just as strong a movie, if not stronger than the first time.

 

_*Hey, White Hat!*_ What's new? Is it a baseball travel night?

 

TLBN moved me just as much today as it did last week. I wonder if Ray was the first to use those big, tender closeups - so close it's painful? He seems to use them as the two lovers are revealing themselves to each other, then later when they are fighting and they want to get back to where they were before. I swear, George Stevens took the idea for *A Place in the Sun.* In fact, this movie could have just as easily been called that too.

 

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Look how far away they are when they fight:

 

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I like the time Ray takes with the emotions in his story - look at the doubt on Bowie's face now. He just opened his Christmas present. When I watched the movie the first time, I thought he didn't even have a name. I thought he was just called "Boy". Like a dog is called "Dog".

 

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But Ray always brings them back together. I'm glad. I hate for them to be apart. Almost as much as Keechie does.

 

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Look at how Ray shows that they think alike, that they have the same hopes and dreams. They are one. They see life the same way, even looking the same direction when they dare to dream:

 

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This is my favorite shot in the movie, the rain pouring down the cracked window outside. It casts a shadow on their faces (twenty years before In Cold Blood):

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When I saw this shot, I immediately thought of the rushes in *Gun Crazy*:

 

Photobucket

 

> It's also my favorite Cathy O'Donnell performance. She's so lovely in this film. Farley is also terrific. I like him as an actor. Both are on the "tender" side.

 

I'm going to be guilty of using that word too often in relation to this movie. I notice so many little tender touches - like when Bowie reveals to her that he is going to go talk to the lawyer, right after the first getaway - she turns her head away from him and hides it in the car window - she can't even bear to look at him because she knows the score - it's too painful because it won't work out for him. She hides her knowledge from him, FOR him, because she doesn't want him to see that it's hopeless. He doesn't. He keeps his innocence for a while longer, folding it up carefully and stashing it away in a safe place.

 

Photobucket

 

 

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>*That was nicely expressed. Ray was very unique in his ability to mix hard with soft, harsh with tender. His films noir usually have a great deal of heart.*

 

Both kids are taught that things can't work out - T-Dub and One-eye have convinced Bowie that he can't go back to the cops to tell them he was innocent - it's their excuse to keep him in the game. Meanwhile they use him and Keechie as unpaid help. Notice how it's Keechie and Bowie who are left to take care of the drunk Will Wright.... while the grown-ups go and plan the Zelton job? And I thought T-Dub was a square guy - but there is a moment when he and Howard Da Silva share a quick look behind Bowie's back - they are both stringing Bowie along, just using him until they don't need him anymore.

 

> *Now that is an absolutely fascinating observation. In the Ray films I've seen, cars are used as escape, be it from the law (They Live by Night) or from your own world (On Dangerous Ground) or from yourself (In a Lonely Place).*

 

I watched again today for this and I've decided that at least in this film (and maybe Rebel Without a Cause) cars are the extension of the darker side of a man's soul:

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Guns too:

 

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There's no clearer message in this film than a gun brought down with with a kiss.

 

>I like this:

 

> theylive3.jpg

>

> That speaks to both their "inexperience." It's rare to find that in film noir.

 

I liked it too. A lot. This is where the critics all seem to think Ray made a mistake, that these two kids couldn't be that innocent - but I think they could - neither one had any kind of a life with other kids - Bowie was in jail and Keechie was hauling her dad home from the bars. How could they relate to any kids their own age in order to have normal dating experiences? They are both old before their time.

 

Photobucket

 

I like how she doesn't care about keeping the money. Her expression says it all. Love and hate, resignation and hope.

 

> *I know what you're saying with Cathy. She can be guilty of trying too hard. What she brings to the screen is such a natural sweetness and innocence. That's extremely rare. I was trying to think of actresses that match Cathy's sweetness and innocence and the only ones that come to mind for me are Gail Russell and Teresa Wright. And I feel Cathy is the softest of that trio.*

 

I don't know - Gail strikes me as the softest - but it's pretty close.

 

> *You're right, Mattie does have a sadness to her. She's very lonely but also quite bitter. She wants a different life but she made her decision and you get the feeling she really regrets it yet she still loves her man and stands by him. I feel for the girl.*

> *I loved how she reacted to Bowie's written words to Keechie. She wished her man would say those words to her. If she heard those words, all she had been putting herself through for him would have felt justified to her. That's what she really wants.*

 

I think Mattie was forced into the life just like the kids - that's why she hates them. She can't stand to look at them because they make her feel guilty for doing to them what was done to her. You hate the ones you do wrong to.

 

> *It's amazing how such a small character in the film could come to mean so much.*

 

That's thanks to Helen Craig and Ray. She has fear smeared across her face, a desperate look right from her very first entrance. All she really wants is her man.

 

> And I love the song used in the intimate scenes between Bowie and Keechie:

>

> *Wonderful! Thank you for taking the trouble to post the lyrics. I always listen to the lyrics of songs in films because they usually help tell the story. I didn't catch all the lyrics with this one, so that was very good of you to do so.*

 

There are no lyrics ever sung. It is all instrumental, played in varying ways throughout the movie. Sometimes happy, like when they are going to the cabin. Most times poignantly embellishing their youthful dreams.

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Nov 1, 2010 10:10 PM

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Hola, Spunky -- Is it a baseball travel night?

 

That was excellent! Yes! I've got a lot to reply to around here.

 

I think it might be my favorite noir after today's showing. It was just as strong a movie, if not stronger than the first time.

 

Wow!

 

I do think it's a very accessible film noir, especially for women and hopeless romantics. This ain't Kiss Me Deadly.

 

TLBN moved me just as much today as it did last week. I wonder if Ray was the first to use those big, tender closeups - so close it's painful? He seems to use them as the two lovers are revealing themselves to each other, then later when they are fighting and they want to get back to where they were before. I swear, George Stevens took the idea for A Place in the Sun. In fact, this movie could have just as easily been called that too.

 

You're the best on this board at understanding mise-en-sc?ne, aesthetics, and spacing. You really take in a lot. You are so right about the shots of Bowie and Keechie and how they are shown as being together, then being one. I like what you said about their fight and the distance between them.

 

I'm going to be guilty of using that word too often in relation to this movie. I notice so many little tender touches - like when Bowie reveals to her that he is going to go talk to the lawyer, right after the first getaway - she turns her head away from him and hides it in the car window - she can't even bear to look at him because she knows the score - it's too painful because it won't work out for him. She hides her knowledge from him, FOR him, because she doesn't want him to see that it's hopeless. He doesn't. He keeps his innocence for a while longer, folding it up carefully and stashing it away in a safe place.

 

Wonderfully expressed. Keechie is doing all she can to protect Bowie. It's lovely.

 

Both kids are taught that things can't work out - T-Dub and One-eye have convinced Bowie that he can't go back to the cops to tell them he was innocent - it's their excuse to keep him in the game. Meanwhile they use him and Keechie as unpaid help. Notice how it's Keechie and Bowie who are left to take care of the drunk Will Wright.... while the grown-ups go and plan the Zelton job? And I thought T-Dub was a square guy - but there is a moment when he and Howard Da Silva share a quick look behind Bowie's back - they are both stringing Bowie along, just using him until they don't need him anymore.

 

You're right, both "adults" are purely using Bowie. They always leave him behind while they go off and do "men's" work. But that's a very good thing for Bowie and Keechie. They are left alone with each other, which allows their love to grow.

 

I watched again today for this and I've decided that at least in this film (and maybe Rebel Without a Cause) cars are the extension of the darker side of a man's soul:

 

How so?

 

There's no clearer message in this film than a gun brought down with with a kiss.

 

Oooooooh, I like that one!

 

I liked it too. A lot. This is where the critics all seem to think Ray made a mistake, that these two kids couldn't be that innocent - but I think they could - neither one had any kind of a life with other kids - Bowie was in jail and Keechie was hauling her dad home from the bars. How could they relate to any kids their own age in order to have normal dating experiences? They are both old before their time.

 

They really are "old before their time." That's great. And I completely believe these two kids could be innocent. Bowie hasn't been around a girl in seven years. Keechie seems to be lost in a rural land of losers. She also seems to be a "grease monkey." I don't think love is something that each has really been around. This speaks to their mothers bolting, too.

 

theylivebynight24.jpg

 

I like how she doesn't care about keeping the money. Her expression says it all. Love and hate, resignation and hope.

 

I believe Keechie understands how wrong and dirty the love of possessions is. She sees it firsthand with her father, who is in love with the bottle. Her uncle is in love with money. She doesn't want Bowie to be like her dad and uncle. Still, she doesn't give him a sermon. Instead, she supports him while also letting him know she disapproves through her tone. She's hoping Bowie gets it for himself. And he does. But there is that darker side to Bowie.

 

theylivebynight25.jpg

 

I don't know - Gail strikes me as the softest - but it's pretty close.

 

Cathy is the plainest actress that I've seen yet she is quite lovely to me. She truly seems like the girl next door.

 

I think Mattie was forced into the life just like the kids - that's why she hates them. She can't stand to look at them because they make her feel guilty for doing to them what was done to her. You hate the ones you do wrong to.

 

I took her differently. I see Mattie as being envious of Bowie and Keechie. First of all, they are together whereas her and her husband are apart. Secondly, Bowie and Keechie are in love with each other and it's a young love. I believe she wishes to feel that way again. She seems like the classic case of a woman who is wishing to feel that kind of love but who knows she cannot so she spits on what she can't have.

 

Her opinion of Bowie is very harsh. It's as if Bowie is her husband. She loves her husband yet hates him at the same time. I think she even hates herself for loving him and needing him as much as she does. How she reacts to what Bowie writes to Keechie really tells you a lot about Mattie and what she wishes to have. Like I said, if her husband would tell her the things Bowie writes to Keechie, she would be okay with spending her life loving him. She wants to be loved and appreciated.

 

theylivebynight36.jpg

 

She's even dressed as a "widow" in the above cap.

 

That's thanks to Helen Craig and Ray. She has fear smeared across her face, a desperate look right from her very first entrance. All she really wants is her man.

 

I think she wants more than her man. She wants her man to appreciate her love and devotion to him. And I see her face as showing bitterness, pain, and anguish.

 

This scene is played perfectly by Helen Craig:

 

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She just got her man off. He should be thrilled. But he isn't because she ratted to do so. So when he gets up to leave, he doesn't even acknowledge her. And, for the first time in the film, we see Mattie happy. She actually smiles. Her face lights up. She even wishes to reach out and touch her man. But he doesn't even dignify her with a look. Lots of hurt and pain for Mattie.

 

I liked that Bowie was opinionated:

 

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It's quite ironic when he says the following:

 

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Love this shot:

 

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The young couple is imprisoned. The imprisonment can be viewed as a bad thing because of Bowie's situation. On the other hand, it can be viewed as love is the imprisonment. In many ways... love is.

 

The lump on the noggin tells me Bowie must have ran into Miss G's skillet. :P

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h2. THEY LIVE BY SPOILERS

 

> {quote:title=FrankGrimes wrote:}{quote}

> I do think it's a very accessible film noir, especially for women and hopeless romantics. This ain't Kiss Me Deadly.

 

It gives me the same feeling I get from *Curse of the Cat People*. Not quite as much, but close.

 

> Wonderfully expressed. Keechie is doing all she can to protect Bowie. It's lovely.

 

I love the look on her face as she turns away from him, not taking the worn newspaper clipping . It's a nice touch that it is falling apart. Is she afraid to touch it for fear she'll accidentally destroy it? If she spoke she would say something like, "WHY are you so impossibly naive? You are killing me with your innocence of the world."

 

> You're right, both "adults" are purely using Bowie. They always leave him behind while they go off and do "men's" work. But that's a very good thing for Bowie and Keechie. They are left alone with each other, which allows their love to grow.

 

That's true. I didn't look at it as a good thing, but you're right.

 

> I watched again today for this and I've decided that at least in this film (and maybe Rebel Without a Cause) cars are the extension of the darker side of a man's soul:

>

> *How so?*

 

You said it here very well:

 

>I believe Keechie understands how wrong and dirty the love of possessions is. She sees it firsthand with her father, who is in love with the bottle. Her uncle is in love with money. She doesn't want Bowie to be like her dad and uncle. Still, she doesn't give him a sermon. Instead, she supports him while also letting him know she disapproves through her tone. She's hoping Bowie gets it for himself. And he does. But there is that darker side to Bowie.

 

Money has bad connotations in this movie - that leather bag Bowie was carrying assumed almost mythic proportions in my mind. I kept looking to see if he had it with him, which he always did, except for when he ALMOST left it behind on the bus when they decided to get married. How much better off would they have been if he had forgotten it? I thought it would be more prominent in the ending, but I'm glad it wasn't. It turned into an albatross round his neck.

 

Look at all the images of cars in this film, every time Bowie gets in a car something bad happens. Every time he gets in the car, his dark side comes out, or someone else's does - he robs, or witnesses a murder, or knocks the jewelry store man down, or gets hurt, or has to defend himself. It's a symbol of the money - of those possessions you were talking about - now he has to protect himself from the "vultures", now he has something he has to protect. It's especially bad after he BUYS a car.... it's almost his death several times over. Even in the scene when he and Keechie are on the run - the one with the rain and the broken window, when they are talking about the baby - now it's her turn to be idealistic ("I'm gonna have my baby, no matter what." and what does he say? "He'll just have to take his chances, like we did." Heartbreaking.

 

However, cars also brought them together, so maybe my theory is a little flawed. :)

 

 

 

> They really are "old before their time." That's great. And I completely believe these two kids could be innocent. Bowie hasn't been around a girl in seven years. Keechie seems to be lost in a rural land of losers. She also seems to be a "grease monkey." I don't think love is something that each has really been around. This speaks to their mothers bolting, too.

 

That's right. The lack of a mother's love.....They don't even know what love is. But they both long for it without knowing it.

 

 

> Cathy is the plainest actress that I've seen yet she is quite lovely to me. She truly seems like the girl next door.

 

That's beautiful, Frank.

 

> I took her differently. I see Mattie as being envious of Bowie and Keechie. First of all, they are together whereas her and her husband are apart. Secondly, Bowie and Keechie are in love with each other and it's a young love. I believe she wishes to feel that way again. She seems like the classic case of a woman who is wishing to feel that kind of love but who knows she cannot so she spits on what she can't have.

> Her opinion of Bowie is very harsh. It's as if Bowie is her husband. She loves her husband yet hates him at the same time. I think she even hates herself for loving him and needing him as much as she does. How she reacts to what Bowie writes to Keechie really tells you a lot about Mattie and what she wishes to have. Like I said, if her husband would tell her the things Bowie writes to Keechie, she would be okay with spending her life loving him. She wants to be loved and appreciated.

> theylivebynight36.jpg

>

> She's even dressed as a "widow" in the above cap.

 

Great stuff! Good catch about the widow's weeds.

 

> I think she wants more than her man. She wants her man to appreciate her love and devotion to him. And I see her face as showing bitterness, pain, and anguish.

 

I really didn't realize all that was going on between Mattie and her man. I need to go back and watch more specifically. I really did think it was the way I said earlier, she can't abide their innocence - it throws her off her game, what she has to do.

 

> She just got her man off. He should be thrilled. But he isn't because she ratted to do so. So when he gets up to leave, he doesn't even acknowledge her. And, for the first time in the film, we see Mattie happy. She actually smiles. Her face lights up. She even wishes to reach out and touch her man. But he doesn't even dignify her with a look. Lots of hurt and pain for Mattie.

 

 

Wow! Somehow I missed all of that! That's amazing. I really am going to go look at it again, from Mattie's point of view.

 

> I liked that Bowie was opinionated:

I like how he just bursts out with his opinions all the time, like they matter. He does think well of himself! :D and it's good he does, because no one else will.

 

> It's quite ironic when he says the following:

 

There ought to be a law.... I know. That would make me laugh and then cry when he said that. Ray was very much about the evil that folks do every day to hurt and maim each others souls - especially when they do it for profit. There really ought to be a law.....

 

But you can't regulate human beastliness. Only crime.

 

It's all very ironic. Ray uses irony in a way that no one else does, not humorously at all, but in pain. Tragic irony. Like Romeo and Juliet. If I were to pick one story that comes closest to Shakespeare's story of young love, this would be it. I've never seen a better couple to represent youth in all my life. And they are not just alienated from their parents, they basically haven't got any. It's incredibly sad.

 

> Love this shot:

>

> theylivebynight21.jpg

> The young couple is imprisoned. The imprisonment can be viewed as a bad thing because of Bowie's situation. On the other hand, it can be viewed as love is the imprisonment. In many ways... love is.

 

In that article I posted, the guy mentions how windows and fences are used in the movie - you are totally on it with that description.... I think Ray gives us the fences and windows between people to show how these two manage to break through to each other in an alienated world. They really do it literally and very specifically, all through the movie. They also remain insulated from the rest of the normal world as well. To break through to each other, and then to break into the normal world is too much to ask, I guess.

 

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Always outside:

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Your favorite shot:

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Through the window of the diner:

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from the window of the quickie marriage place:

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A door has come between them:

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There's no wall here between our couple and the dancing floor, but there might just as well be.

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No walls here, they are completely intimate.... but Bowie knows it isn't going to last now.

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The door behind the JP's head looks like bars of a cage. He's just a big liar, he can't help them.

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Shut out:

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Last chance:

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Is there a lonelier shot in the whole movie?

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Something I did not notice till this minute, taking the caps.... Bowie looks in, quickly, and decides to run OUT, away from sleeping Keechie instead of inside, where he will be safe. He doesn't want to endanger her. It's a noble act of self sacrifice.

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He reaches into his shirt - not for a gun, but for his note to Keechie.

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> The lump on the noggin tells me Bowie must have ran into Miss G's skillet. :P

 

Uh - oh.....

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Nov 2, 2010 2:29 PM

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(I've got to start wearing a bib again. "They Spoil By Night"... "They Live By Spoiling"... just how often do you folks think I can clean these screens and keyboards. STOP IT!)

 

Wifey says a bib won't help me. "Try a burka... just not in France."

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Jeepers creepers Ol'. Don't you know better than to face your monitor when you log onto this Message Board. You can spit from laughter of the cleverness of some or gag from, well...you

know.

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