When he gets home, Dix checks up on Laurel. He finds she is an aspiring actress with only a few low-budget films to her credit. They begin to fall in love and, with Laurel assisting him, Dix finds new energy and goes back to work with enthusiasm, much to his agent’s delight.
Dix remains notoriously erratic, however; sometimes he behaves strangely. He says things that make his agent Mel and Brub’s wife Sylvia (Jeff Donnell) wonder if he did kill the girl. Lochner sows seeds of doubt in Laurel’s mind, pointing out Dix’s long record of violent behavior. When he learns about this, and that Laurel has not told him of her meeting with Lochner, Dix becomes furious and irrational. With her a terrified passenger, he drives at high speed until they sideswipe another car. Nobody is hurt in the collision, but when the other driver accosts him, Dix beats him unconscious and is about to strike him with a large rock when Laurel stops him.
Laurel gets to the point where she cannot sleep without taking pills. Her distrust and fear of Dix are becoming too much for her. When he asks her to marry him, she accepts, but only because she is too scared of what he might do if she’d refused. She secretly makes a plane reservation and tells Mel she is leaving because she cannot take it anymore. Dix finds out and becomes violent, almost strangling her before he regains control of himself. Just then the phone rings. It is Brub with good news: Mildred’s boyfriend (named Henry Kesler, the same as the film’s associate producer) has confessed to her murder. Tragically, it is too late to salvage Dix and Laurel’s relationship.
- Humphrey Bogart as Dixon Steele
- Gloria Grahame as Laurel Gray
- Frank Lovejoy as Det. Sgt. Brub Nicolai
- Carl Benton Reid as Captain Lochner
- Art Smith as Mel Lippman
- Martha Stewart as Mildred Atkinson
- Jeff Donnell as Sylvia Nicolai
- Robert Warwick as Charlie Waterman
- Morris Ankrum as Lloyd Barnes
- William Ching as Ted Barton
- Steven Geray as Paul, Headwaiter
- Hadda Brooks as Singer