They Drive by Night

My 200th post, already, or so blogger tells me. Not taking this month into account, I'm kinda glad with the posting rhythm I have now, and the tone. Now, on to business.

They Drive by Night
really has no right to work as well as it does. It's a weird genre-blend, part social commentary/underdog story, part noir. The plot meanders: first it's about these truckers and their hard life, then it's about how they plan to make it, then about the danger of the road, then all of a sudden it's a noir with a murder and an attempted frame-up. A pre-High Sierra Bogie is one of the two main characters in the first half, then more or less ignored, or at least neglected, afterwards.

Still, it works surprisingly well together. Part of it is because the characters are consistent through the tonal shifts. For instance, Ann Sheridan's Cassie might give in at some point, and go from hard-to-get to loving and trusting fiancee, but she never becomes so soft that we don't recognize her. Part of it is also simply that the dialogue is so good, sharp and witty, and it rolls off everybody's tongue. The cast, including supporting players, is also good, and look for our old pal Shapely in the small role of Irish.

A classic this is not, by any stretch. But just as it's possible to enjoy an unremarkable, yet well-made and entertaining film made today, it's possible to enjoy a film like that made 67 years ago.

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