George Raft and Humphrey Bogart share a driving ambition in They Drive by Night, a feisty tale of brothers trying to make a go of their independent trucking enterprise. Ann Sheridan plays a truck-stop waitress who can dish both the daily special and the patter. And Ida Lupino is the headstrong executive who mixes business and romance with murder. With Bogart again riding shotgun en route to leading-man stardom (a stature he would achieve the following year) and Raft handling the wheel in one of his best roles of the decade, this fine example of Warner Bros. social-conscience filmmaking (directed by Raoul Walsh) proved a sturdy vehicle for both actors. The movie proved even more fortuitous for Lupino. Her courtoom scene of babbling derangement made her a celebrated "overnight" sensation that resulted in a seven-year studio contract for her. Year: 1940 Director: Raoul Walsh Starring: George Raft, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino, Humphrey Bogart, Special Feature: Original Theatrical Trailer B&W/93 Mins.
By turns hard-nosed and ribald, They Drive by Night
smashes through a vintage Warner Bros. yarn about truck drivers, the Depression, and one duplicitous dame. The opening reels are a forceful look at the dangerous lives of independent truckers (George Raft and Humphrey Bogart as brothers--Bogie in the supporting role, though he would soon eclipse Raft in Hollywood), battling the system and the economy. The final section veers into a less exciting murder frame-up, but Ida Lupino is so delicious as the Black Widow, it works. The robust humor of director Raoul Walsh dominates the film, with some truly hilarious double entendres aimed at outfoxing the censors. At the center of many such one-liners is Ann Sheridan, as a waitress who slings more than hash. It's close to being a classic, and the road sequences are as vital as those in The Grapes of Wrath
, made the same year. --Robert Horton