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.
The Hope That Fueled Bowling for Columbine
How much can a film turn the tide on American violence? Michael Moore and archivist Carl Deal reflect on the moral urgency that gave rise to one of the most talked-about documentaries of all time.
Bringing the Grit to Philippine Cinema
For Philippine master Lino Brocka, casting a mix of nonprofessional and professional actors was key to achieving his brand of unvarnished naturalism.
This Kiss: Filming an Intimate Moment in The Virgin Suicides
What goes into staging the perfect on-screen kiss? Director Sofia Coppola and actors Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett look back on shooting a passionate make-out session in The Virgin Suicides.
“Perfect Imperfection”: Neil Young Improvises Dead Man
Jim Jarmusch filmed Neil Young recording the score for his 1995 revisionist western. Watch a bit of the never-released footage here.