They Live By Night from 1948 with Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell Before director Nicholas Ray made the classic Rebel Without a Cause, you can see him playing with some of the same themes from that movie - teenage defiance, societal hypocrisy, institutionalized injustice and young love - in his directorial debut effort, the B-movie noir, They Live By Night. A young man, Farley Granger, in prison since he was sixteen, breaks out in his early twenties. After getting injured during a subsequent bank robbery he and his partners pull, they hide out in "the mountains" where he meets a poor, cute, seemingly modestly abused (hard to tell) young girl, Cathy O'Donnell. As she nurses him back to health, they fall in love. Trying to escape everything - their pasts, his record, the police, the adults in their lives, their unhappiness - they take his share of the money from the bank heist and run away. From here, the movie is one of two young adults, with insuperable pasts, trying to make a normal life for themselves. After a sad justice-of-the-peace marriage, they hold up for a time in a one-room cabin where, attempting to create something of a home, they decorate it and try to live like regular people. But it's not to be as he's a fugitive, so his past - old partners in crime, the police and people looking to turn him in (he's modestly infamous in the papers) - comes calling in one way or another. Hence, his life, and hers by proxy, is one of always being "on the run," never really comfortable in public or, even, private as every knock on the door has a baleful overtone. Since it's a noir in '48, you can all but guess the outcome, but this is a journey movie anyway - a journey to escape a bleak past and present. And that bleakness implies that neither of these two had a chance in life as he was put into an adult prison at only sixteen and she seems trapped in poverty with no one really caring or looking out for her. Their escape road trip is all but destined to fail, but these two needed some joy, love and hope in their life no matter how fleeting. And as in Rebel Without a Cause, the morality is grey and unsatisfying: are all the adults bad, no, but many are; are the kids always right, no, but you understand their anger; is their love doomed, sure, but you know they have to go for it anyway; is society unjust, yes, but anarchy is not the answer. Director Ray will revisit these themes, as noted, in Rebel Without a Cause, but you can see him wrestling with them early in this solid, if sometimes plodding, B-noir. If you do see it, a few other neat things to look out for are one, proof, once again, that there is no honor amongst thieves, two, Ian Wolfe's wonderfully smarmy performance as a huckster justice of the peace and, three, some incredible time-travel shots - cars, clothes, architecture and motor lodges - of 1948 America.