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.
Liv Ullmann Recalls “Shattering” Moments on the Set of Shame
While working on Ingmar Bergman’s devastating antiwar film, the actress developed an emotionally intense chemistry with her costar Max von Sydow.
The Real-Life Rage That Fueled Lee Grant in In the Heat of the Night
In this excerpt from a new interview, the actor talks about how she channeled her political anger in the role of a distraught widow in Norman Jewison’s Oscar-winning crime drama.
Writing with the Body: Mikey and Nicky as an Actors’ Showcase
Elaine May populated her gangster-film masterpiece with acting heavyweights who could bring spontaneity to their roles. Critics Richard Brody and Carrie Rickey talk about her approach to performance in this clip.
How Hitchcock Pulled off a Shot for the Ages
Award-winning cinematographer John Bailey discusses the complications that Alfred Hitchcock faced trying to execute one of the most ambitious shots in his filmography.