They Drive By Night (1938)

Excellent British crime movie about an ex con on the run for a murder he didn’t commit. Don’t miss this one. Note: The title’s the same but that’s the only similarity between this and the 1940 movie with Humphrey Bogart and George Raft.

Shorty Matthews gets out of prison after eighteen months. He looks up his old girlfriend Alice. She’s now a dance hostess. He goes to her rooming house. The door’s open so he walks in. Looks like Alice is asleep. With that silk stocking around her neck she’ll be asleep for a long time. The landlady runs into Shorty before he leaves. She says she’s tired of Alice bringing men around. She’s going upstairs to throw her out. She screams and calls the cops. She describes Shorty.

Shorty gets out of town and to a truck stop. He runs into Molly. She worked with Alice at the dance hall. He eventually hitches a ride with a lorry driver. On the road he admits who he is. It’s a rainy night and the truck skids and hits a post. The driver is knocked out and Shorty gets behind the wheel.

While driving along he sees Molly struggling in the middle of the road with a driver. He rescues her and takes off for his driver’s original destination. When they get there he and Molly go into a back room with the driver and his wife.

Someone comes in the front door. It’s the cops. They brush past the wife and Shorty jumps out the window. The cops put Molly into the police car. Shorty doubles back, knocks out a couple cops and takes off.

Down the road Shorty gets out and tells Molly he has to keep going. Now the cops pull up in a commandeered car but Shorty’s gone.

Back in London Molly gets back to work. Shorty’s back too. He’s hoping for some help from his old pals. Nothing doing. He waits outside the dance hall for Molly. She takes him to an abandoned building where he can hide out.

He tells her to question the guys Alice danced with. He thinks one of them might be the murderer. Maybe it’s the creepy Walter Hoover. (Ernest Thesiger).

Some good suspense moves things along. Thesiger is a must see as Hoover.

Ernest Thesiger should be rediscovered. A couple of his most effective performances were as Horace Femm in 1932’s “The Old Dark House” and as Dr.Pretorius in 1935’s “Bride Of Frankenstein.”  He had a fifty year career

Ernest Thesiger

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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