One of Hollywood’s earliest and most influential lovers-on-the-run thrillers, Nicholas Ray’s debut film, They Live by Night, encapsulates the tension between mobility and entrapment that the open road came to represent in the middle of the twentieth century. Adapting Edward Anderson’s Depression-era novel Thieves Like Us as an impressionistic crime drama, the film centers on the doomed relationship between escaped convict Bowie (Farley Granger) and an innocent young woman named Keechie (Cathy O’Donnell). Despite their attempts to build a new life together, the couple find themselves with nowhere left to turn, as Bowie is pursued by the cops and hounded by his fellow fugitives. On our newly released edition, critic Imogen Sara Smith discusses the ways that Ray’s groundbreaking film—which anticipated his career-long fascination with outsiders—captures the perils of life on the lam and the symbolic resonance of the road in the American imagination.
Donald Richie Uncovers the Traces of a Lost Japan
In collaboration with director Lucille Carra, the renowned writer brought his impressionistic travelogue The Inland Sea—an unusual choice for a film adaptation—to the big screen.
A Palette That Sizzles On-Screen
Filmmaker Darnell Martin and writer Nelson George discuss how vividly Do the Right Thing captures the heat of a Brooklyn summer and the diverse skin tones of its cast of color.
A Genius of French Cinema Delivers a Career-Defining Performance
Raimu is at his subtle best in one of the most moving scenes in The Baker’s Wife, a moment in which the actor channels the collective despair of France’s working class.