AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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They Drive by Night
Director: Raoul Walsh (Dir)
Release Date:   3 Aug 1940
Premiere Information:   New York opening: week of 27 Jul 1940
Production Date:   began late Apr 1940
Duration (in mins):   93
Duration (in reels):   11
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Cast:   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)  
    Henry O'Neil (District Attorney)  
    Paul Hurst (Pete Haig)  
    Charles Halton (Farnsworth)  
    John Ridgely (Hank Dawson)  
    George Lloyd (Barney)  
    Dorothea Kent (Sue)  
    Charles Wilson (Mike Williams)  
    Pedro Regas (McNamara's helper)  
    Norman Willis (Neves)  
    Joe Devlin (Fatso)  
    Joyce Compton (Sue Carter)  
    Lillian Yarbo (Chloe)  
    Eddy Chandler (Truck driver)  
    Sol Gorss (Driver)  
    Eddie Fetherston (Driver)  
    Dick Wessel (Driver)  
    Al Hill (Driver)  
    Charles Sullivan (Driver)  
    Eddie Acuff (Driver)  
    Pat Flaherty (Driver)  
    William Haade (Driver)  
    Vera Lewis (Landlady)  
    Mack Gray (Mike)  
    Max Wagner (Sweeney)  
    Wilfred Lucas (Bailiff)  
    John Hamilton (Defense attorney)  
    Howard Hickman (Judge)  

Summary: Brothers Joe and Paul Fabrini eke out their living as wildcat truckers, barely keeping ahead of their creditors. Joe is stubbornly independent, determined to save enough money to establish his own trucking business, while Paul is disenchanted with life on the road and wants to settle down with his wife Pearl. Consequently, when Ed Carlsen, the big-hearted owner of the Carlsen trucking company, offers Joe a job, Joe refuses, and Paul, out of loyalty to his brother, continues his life on the road. On the night that the brothers make their final payment on the truck, an exhausted Paul falls asleep at the wheel, sending the vehicle careening over a cliff. In the accident, the truck is demolished and Paul loses his arm. Hearing the news, Ed's sarcastic, shrewish wife Lana, who is in love with Joe, convinces her husband to offer him a managerial job in the office and Joe, now the sole support of his disabled and embittered brother, accepts. Lana continues her obsessive her pursuit of Joe, but he is in love with Cassie Hartley. When he refuses Lana's brazen advances at a party, using the excuse that he will not betray his good friend Ed, Lana drives her drunken husband home, and when he is too drunk to get out of the car, she decides to leave him with the motor running. Ed is asphixiated, but his death is ruled accidental. With her husband dead, Lana offers Joe a partnership in the business, but when she discovers that Joe is planning to marry Cassie, she accuses him of driving her to commit murder. The district attorney believes Lana's story and charges Joe as an accomplice in Ed's murder. Lana is soon haunted by her crime and begins to lose control of herself. When she is called to testify at Joe's trial, she breaks down on the witness stand and rants insanely about Ed's death. Joe is then freed and returns to Cassie and the trucking company. 

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Production Text: A Warner Bros.--First National Picture; Jack L. Warner in charge of prod
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Raoul Walsh (Dir)
  Hugh MacMullen (Dial dir)
  Elmer Decker (Asst dir)
Producer: Hal B. Wallis (Exec prod)
  Mark Hellinger (Assoc prod)
Writer: Jerry Wald (Scr)
  Richard Macaulay (Scr)
Photography: Arthur Edeson (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: John Hughes (Art dir)
Film Editor: Thomas Richards (Film ed)
Costumes: Milo Anderson (Gowns)
Music: Leo F. Forbstein (Mus dir)
  Adolph Deutsch (Mus)
Sound: Oliver S. Garretson (Sd)
Special Effects: Byron Haskins (Spec eff)
  H. F. Koenekamp (Spec eff)
Make Up: Perc Westmore (Makeup artist)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the novel Long Haul by Albert Isaac Bezzerides (New York, 1938).
Authors: Albert Isaac Bezzerides

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. 3/8/1940 dd/mm/yyyy LP9821

PCA NO: 6278
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

Genre: Drama
Subjects (Major): Brothers
  False accusations
  Truck drivers
Subjects (Minor): Carbon monoxide
  Truck accidents
  Unrequited love

Note: Although this picture was written by different writers, portions of the film, especially the courtroom confession and events leading up to it, closely resemble aspects of the 1935 Warner Bros. film Bordertown (see above). In 1941, George Raft, Lana Turner, and Lucille Ball starred in a Lux Radio Theatre version of this story. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   9 Jul 40   p. 3.
Film Daily   12 Jul 40   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Apr 40   pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Jul 40   p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily   15 Jul 40   p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald   13 Jul 40   pp. 24-26.
New York Times   27 Jul 40   p. 17.
Variety   10 Jul 40   p. 12.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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