Bogart stars as Dixon Steele, a deranged and troubled screenwriter suspected of murder, and Grahame co-stars as Laurel Gray, a neighbor who falls under his spell. Beyond its surface plot of confused identity and tormented love, the story is a mordant comment on Hollywood mores and the pitfalls of celebrity and near-celebrity, similar to two other American films released that same year, Billy Wilder‘s Sunset Boulevard and Joseph L. Mankiewicz‘s All About Eve.
Although lesser known than his other work, Bogart’s performance is considered by many critics to be among his finest and the film’s reputation has grown over time along with Ray’s.
Hollywood screenwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart) and his neighbor Laurel (Gloria Grahame) are just getting to know each other romantically when the police begin questioning Dixon about his involvement in the murder of a girl he met once. Certain her new love interest is innocent, Laurel stands by Dixon, but as the police continue pressing him, Dixon begins to act increasingly erratically. The blossoming love affair suffers as Laurel begins to wonder if Dixon really might be a killer.
In a Lonely Place (1950) – Nicholas Ray (whisper)
This among many great scenes in Nicholas Ray’s superb film In a Lonely Place. Endorsed by Bogart’s film production company, the film is a compelling and unsentimental account of two people destined for tragedy. This film, along with Huston’s The Treasure of Sierra Madre demonstrated Bogart’s range as an actor. Also, Gloria Grahame is very good as the woman who decides to put her faith in the troubled writer, Dixon Steele. This is, perhaps, Nicholas Ray’s best film released in 1950. Finally, the striking photography is by veteran cinematographer Burnett Guffey.
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