Let Us Live

Watch Let Us Live

"A True Story . . . A Vivid Romance !"
  • Approved
  • 1939
  • 1 hr 8 min
  • 6.7  (659)

Let Us Live is a gripping crime drama from 1939, directed by John Brahm and starring Maureen O'Sullivan, Henry Fonda, and Ralph Bellamy. The film is based on former newspaperman and noted criminologist Joseph F. Dinneen's book Murder in Massachusetts, which in turn recounted a real-life murder case that took place in Boston. The story follows two working-class couples, Brick and Mary (played by Fonda and O'Sullivan) and Marty and Helen (William Gargan and Charlotte Wynters), who are out driving one evening when they encounter a police car in pursuit of a suspect. When they stop to help, they are all swept up in a terrifying chain of events that sees the innocent Brick and Mary falsely accused of the crime and sentenced to death.

The film's early scenes create a sense of foreboding as we see the main characters enjoying a night out on the town. A key sequence sees them all seated around a table in a nightclub, with Fonda's character awkwardly attempting to impress O'Sullivan's with his humorous patter. This sequence is played with realism and charm and helps to create the illusion that we are watching a group of real, likable people who are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As the plot unfolds, the sense of darkness and foreboding only intensifies. The murder scene itself, in which an elderly security guard is brutally bludgeoned to death, is shot with a noirish sense of fatalism. Brahm's direction imbues the sequence with a sense of the inevitable, as if the murder is part of some larger cosmic horror that is beyond the control of the hapless characters caught in its grip.

One of the most impressive aspects of the film is its portrayal of the American justice system. The trial scenes are harrowing and intense, with the presiding judge (played with ominous authority by Alan Baxter) seemingly determined to railroad the innocent Brick and Mary into conviction. Ralph Bellamy, playing a young, inexperienced lawyer tasked with defending the couple, delivers a passionate and nuanced performance as he desperately tries to clear their names.

The film's climax, which takes place in the death chamber as Brick and Mary are about to be executed, is heart-stoppingly intense. The tension is so expertly crafted that it feels as if we are watching in real-time, with each moment of suspense building on the last.

Despite its grim subject matter, Let Us Live is a film that is deeply invested in the power of human connection and compassion. The scenes between Fonda and O'Sullivan are especially moving, as they grapple with the unthinkable possibility of their impending deaths. The film is also notable for its depiction of the tenacious detective (played with great gravitas by Stanley Ridges) who ultimately solves the case and clears Brick and Mary's names.

Overall, Let Us Live is a powerful and effective crime drama that uses its real-life inspiration to deliver a story that is both thrilling and emotionally resonant. The film's final message, that justice can be done if we are willing to fight for it, feels especially relevant in our current era.

Let Us Live is a 1939 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 8 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7.

Let Us Live
Where to Watch Let Us Live
Let Us Live is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at FuboTV, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Let Us Live for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 8 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (659)