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Nicholas Ray's Tender 
'They Live By Night'

by Michael Wilmington, Tribune Movie Critic

Chicago Tribune, May 29, 1998 page N

Of all the American "outlaw lovers on the run" movies, the tenderest and most romantic is Nicholas Ray's "They Live By Night. " Starring Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell as Bowie and Keechie, members of a gang of bank robbers, "They Live By Night" marked Ray's directorial debut.

Based on Edward Anderson's powerful novel "Thieves Like Us," "They Live By Night" is a low-budget, black-and-white film of violent bank robbers and tragic destiny, of flight and pursuit across the Midwestern roads and farmland. It's permeated with a sweetness and vulnerability unusual for any crime movie. At its center are the naive lovers Bowie and Keechie, almost childlike in their gravity and grace.

The film's greatest scene is their wedding: a two-dollar affair in an unfamiliar city. In this wedding, a near-travesty, we can see "Night's" couple desperately reaching for a normality they will never share.

© 1998 Chicago Tribune Company

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