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Friday, June 29, 2012

They Drive By Night (1940)

Two brothers (George Raft, Humphrey Bogart) are independent truckers well on their way to paying off their truck and starting their own business. But when Bogart falls asleep at the wheel, their truck is destroyed and Raft is forced to take a job from an old friend (Alan Hale) whose manipulative wife (Ida Lupino in the film's best performance) has her own plans for him. The film is evenly split into two parts. The first involves the two brothers and the problems they encounter with their struggling business. The second part becomes a film noir with the devious femme fatale played by Lupino going to all lengths, including homicide, in her attempt to get Raft. Both portions are enjoyable though the shift in the film's temperament is far from seamless and several seemingly important characters are given reduced screen time. It doesn't help that the film's leading man is outclassed his co-stars including the fourth billed Bogart who would be a huge star within two years. Directed by the prolific Raoul Walsh. With Ann Sheridan as Raft's love interest, Gale Page, Roscoe Karns, George Tobias, Frank Faylen and Joyce Compton (THE AWFUL TRUTH).

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