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3.6 out of 5 stars8
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 25 October 2005
A movie of two halves: The first part deals with the trials of being an independent truck-driver on the road: missing sleep, missing your sweetheart and trying to avoid the finance company. This is by far the most rewarding part, the camaraderie of the road, the wisecracking waitresses in the truck stops (Anne Sheridan on top form), and the danger of driving fuelled by coffee and deadlines. The set up of the film is immaculate. But after a tragic accident - in which Humphrey Bogart's character, Paul Fabrini, is injured - both brothers are forced to leave the road. The other brother, Joe (George Raft), is forced to take a manager's job at a haulage company, where he falls foul of the owner's scheming wife Lana Carlsen, who accuses him of her husband's murder. The second part of the movie loses the spirit of a road movie and becomes a rather stagy melodrama. Ida Lupino puts in an extraordinary performance as Lana, but you can't help but wish the boys had managed to keep their rig on the road.
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on 7 August 2010
They Drive By Night (1940) is very much a picture of its time and its studio. Messrs Littrell and Roger O. Thornhill have already outlined the plot. I can hardly remember seeing another film that falls so clearly into two parts, and with the joins and glue only too obvious. It reminds me a lot of Warner's Angels with Dirty Faces from a year or two earlier.

Both chronicle the flip side of the thrust and raw excitement of American capitalism in full flight. Humphrey Bogart and George Raft (sounding and even looking oddly similar) are compelled to work all hours of the day and night to keep their truck business afloat in a world of loan sharks and undercutting competitors, where the first breakdown or accident can lead to ruin. Just beneath the tough facade of Ann Sheridan's transport cafe waitress lies loneliness and vulnerability. When she quits the job to escape a groping boss she hits the road to L.A. with 1 dollar 12 cents in her purse. Bogie slips up and is left with a shortened arm and even shorter job prospects.

Suddenly, with a crashing of gears the movie reaches a signpost marked Melodrama and lurches away along what turns out to be something of a cul-de-sac. Ida Lupino in an early role appears as a drunken businessman's discontented wife with her eye on George Raft (poor taste in men her besetting sin, it seems) and the movie rushes on into the land of jealousy and murder, with even a perfunctory but over-the-top courtroom scene popping up at the end.

A bit of a mess, then, and the picture is not helped by hammy or plain inadequate acting from most of the support players. You'd think Hollywood actors of all people would know how to do drunks. So it's down to four stars to come to the rescue. They do their best. Bogie plays second fiddle to Raft but does his thing until strangely at halfway he disappears and is hardly seen again. 22 year old Ida Lupino, in her first substantial part, is encouraged or allowed to overact by director Raoul Walsh, making what could have been an interesting study into a hysterical harpy. George Raft is pretty good. This leaves Ann Sheridan, the Oomph Girl, who's just about the best thing in the picture. She's helped by having the best dialogue but she makes the most of it with her husky voice and her rare but devastatingly flashing smile. Playing a woman with a brittle shell and vulnerable core, she shows Ida Lupino just how to do it.

No classic, but worth a look by people who're maybe moving on from a few films noirs and want to see or be reminded how a big studio went about its job.

Picture quality is adequate, no more; not too grainy but the b/w contrast is dull. Sound is satisfactory. Extras are the theatrical trailer and a 10 mins Making Of featurette that has people like the film guide author Leonard Maltin giving potted biographies of the stars and film makers, together with a little on Warner Brothers. OK, but it covers well-trodden ground.
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It was a pleasure seeing Ida Lupino in this, her first significant role at age 22. She is sexy, pretty and more than a bit nasty. Sometimes dubbed "the poor man's Bette Davis" she shows here that she could have handled some of Davis's roles very well.

The story itself is a tale about truck drivers that pits them against the loan sharks and emphasizes the danger of driving without much sleep on roads not yet of Interstate quality. It takes place in California in the late thirties. Lupino plays Lana Carlsen, the bored wife of the head of a trucking company who only has eyes for Joe Fabrini (George Raft), who only has eyes for Cassie Hartley (Ann Sheridan). Humphrey Bogart plays his brother Paul Fabrini and really takes a backseat. That would change beginning the next year when Bogey would star with Ida Lupino in High Sierra (1941).

It is interesting to contrast the two films both directed by long time Hollywood legend Raoul Walsh. They Drive by Night has a distinct thirties feel to it and not just because George Raft stars. The sense of the Depression is still with the characters in TDBN as the truck drivers and waitress Cassie worry about their jobs. There is a sense of identification with the working man that is absent from High Sierra, which really began Bogart's tough guy movie persona.

Alan Hale (235 acting credits at IMDb!) plays Lana's fun-loving and clueless husband, Ed Carlsen. Roscoe Karns provides some wise-cracking relief as Irish McGurn, truck-driving pinball wizard. The script by Jerry Wald is full of snappy one liners like this between Joe and Cassie. He asks, "Do you believe in love at first sight?" She counters with, "It saves a lot of time." Wald later became a producer of some of Hollywood's most memorable flicks including Pride of the Yankees (1945), Mildred Pierce (1945), Key Largo (1948), The Glass Menagerie (1950), etc.

By all means see this for Ida Lupino, who to escape from the typecasting that began with this movie later went on to become one of Hollywood's first woman directors.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 February 2011
They Drive by Night (AKA: The Road to Frisco) is directed by Raoul Walsh and adapted by Jerry Wald & Richard Macaulay from the novel "The Long Haul" written by A. I. Bezzerides. It stars George Raft, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino and Humphrey Bogart. Adolph Deutsch scores the music and Arthur Edeson is the cinematographer. Plot finds Raft & Bogart playing the Fabrini brothers, two guys trying to make a living as truck drivers during the Depression era. Just about keeping afloat in a very competitive market, the boys find that they have to work longer hours to stay ahead in the game. But that brings fatigue and danger, and with the repo men after them they could do with a break; a break that comes by way of work for Ed Carlson (Alan Hale). But the fortune is short lived as trouble awaits, not only on the road, but also in the form of Carlson`s wife, Lana (Lupino).

Warner Brothers produce a film of two differing halves that blends social realism with film noir edges. The script is tight as the narrative firstly deals in an adventure with period detail, then shifts to drama as bad luck and a bad woman come into play. There`s zippy dialogue to digest, too, while Walsh keeps the pace brisk and provides good attention to detail in relation to the subject of the trucking industry. With Bogart a year away from leading man status (High Sierra/The Maltese Falcon), he was fourth billed for this movie. He gets relegated to the sidelines for the second half of the piece but by then he had made his mark. Sheridan is effective, in what ultimately is a love interest role, while Raft dominates as the centre piece character. But it`s Lupino`s movie all the way. True enough to say that her pivotal scene has a touch of the over theatrical histrionics about it, but it works in context to how she had formed the character up to then. Playing it man hungry and vixen like; yet with a sternness that oozes business woman sensibilities, her performance earned her a studio contract.

Two movies for the price of one, then, and nary a dull moment in either of them. 7.5/10
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 January 2011
Warner Bros. Pictures presents "THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT" (3 August 1940) (95 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --
They Drive by Night benefited from a strong supporting cast culled from the studio's stock company --- Generally regarded as Raft's best Warner Brothers film, and the beautiful Ann Sheridan was allowed the most memorable, snappy dialogue, which she delivered as only Sheridan could --- Ida Lupino was finally given the chance to display her acting range and Bogart got the opportunity to shed his patented B-picture tough guy --- Check out his brief yet compelling scene, where he expresses his bitterness both at his injury and having to accept what he perceives as his brother's (Raft) charity as wild cat truck drivers.

My favorite line in the film is when some trucker is checking out Ann Sheridan and mumbles something about taking out a mortgage on her -- Ann snaps back at him while taking on a seductive pose - "You couldn't afford the headlights!"

Under the production staff of:
Raoul Walsh [Director]
Jerry Wald [Screenplay]
Richard Macaulay [Screenplay]
A.I. Bezzerides [novel "Long Haul"]
Mark Hellinger [Associate Producer]
Hal B. Wallis [Executive Producer]
Adolph Deutsch [Original Music]
Arthur Edeson [Cinematographer]
Thomas Richards [Film Editor]

BIOS:
1. Raoul Walsh [Director]
Date of Birth: 11 March 1887 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 31 December 1980 - Simi Valley, California

the cast includes:
George Raft - Joe Fabrini
Ann Sheridan - Cassie Hartley
Ida Lupino - Lana Carlsen
Humphrey Bogart - Paul Fabrini
Gale Page - Pearl Fabrini
Alan Hale - Ed Carlsen
Roscoe Karns - Irish McGurn
John Litel - Harry McNamara
George Tobias - George Rondolos

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 4 Stars
Performance: 4 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]

Total Time: 95 min on DVD ~ Warner Bros. Pictures ~ (10/03/2006)
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on 10 September 2010
excellent film that portrays the life of truckers in the early days , fine stars like bogart ,ann sheridan , ida lupino , and george raft taking top honours in the film , tried to get this for years ,only available as import from abroad ,now easier from amazon , i had lots of stuff from amazon over the past year and very impressed with the service and having such a wide choice one has to look no further for prices , will remain a dedicated customer ,thx amazon ,
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on 14 November 2009
good to find this cd as i wanted it for a friend, who had been looking for ages for it good service,good value,and made my friend very happy, i will continue to shop with you, many thanks.
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on 29 April 2016
Waited a week and when it did arrive I put it on and it was all in Spanish,thanks a lot.
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