In a Lonely Place Analysis

“In a Lonely Place” (1950) film analysis. Spoilers.


Brub (Frank Lovejoy) demonstrates on Sylvia a possible murder method

When Edmund H. North adapted the story, he stuck close to the original source and John Derek was considered for the role of Dix because in the novel the character was much younger. North’s treatment was not used. Andrew Solt developed the screenplay with regular input from producer Robert Lord and director Nicholas Ray, and the end result is far different from the source novel. Solt claimed that Bogart loved the script so much that he wanted to make it without revisions – Solt maintains that the final cut is very close to his script – but further research shows that Ray made regular rewrites, some added on the day of shooting. In fact, only four pages of the 140-page script had no revisions. The film was produced by Bogart’s Santana Productions company, whose first film was Knock on Any Door (1949), which was directed by Ray and starred Bogart and Derek in the leading roles.

Louise Brooks wrote in her essay “Humphrey and Bogey” that she felt it was the role of Dixon Steele in this movie that came closest to the real Bogart she knew. “Before inertia set in, he played one fascinatingly complex character, craftily directed by Nicholas Ray, in a film whose title perfectly defined Humphrey’s own isolation among people. In a Lonely Place gave him a role that he could play with complexity because the character’s pride in his art, his selfishness, his drunkenness, his lack of energy stabbed with lightning strokes of violence, were shared equally by the real Bogart.”[7] Apparently, on one voyage in their yacht Santana, Bogart showed an inexplicable burst of rage that frightened his wife Lauren Bacall.

The original ending had Dix strangling Laurel to death in the heat of their argument. Sgt. Nicolai comes to tell Dix that he has been cleared of Mildred’s murder but arrests him for killing Laurel. Dix tells Brub that he is finally finished with his screenplay; the final shot was to be of a page in the typewriter which has the significant lines Dix said to Laurel in the car (which he admitted to not knowing where to put) “I was born when she kissed me, I died when she left me, I lived a few weeks while she loved me”. This scene was filmed halfway through the shooting schedule, but Ray hated the ending he had helped write. Ray later said, “I just couldn’t believe the ending that Bundy (screenwriter Andrew Solt) and I had written. I shot it because it was my obligation to do it. Then I kicked everybody off stage except Bogart, Art Smith and Gloria. And we improvised the ending as it is now. In the original ending we had ribbons so it was all tied up into a very neat package, with Lovejoy coming in and arresting him as he was writing the last lines, having killed Gloria. Huh! And I thought, shit, I can’t do it, I just can’t do it! Romances don’t have to end that way. Marriages don’t have to end that way, they don’t have to end in violence. Let the audience make up its own mind what’s going to happen to Bogie when he goes outside the apartment.”[8]

Bacall and Ginger Rogers were considered for the role of Laurel Gray. Bacall was a natural choice given her off-screen marriage to Bogart and their box-office appeal, but Warner Bros. refused to loan her out, a move often thought to be in reaction to Bogart having set up his own independent production company, the type of which Warner Bros. were afraid would jeopardize the future of the major studios. Rogers was the producers’ first choice but Ray believed that his wife Gloria Grahame was right for the part. Even though their marriage was troubled, he insisted that she be cast. Her performance today is unanimously considered to be among her finest.

Grahame and Ray’s marriage was starting to come apart during filming. Grahame was forced to sign a contract stipulating that “my husband [Ray] shall be entitled to direct, control, advise, instruct and even command my actions during the hours from 9 AM to 6 PM, every day except Sunday … I acknowledge that in every conceivable situation his will and judgment shall be considered superior to mine and shall prevail.” Grahame was also forbidden to “nag, cajole, tease or in any other feminine fashion seek to distract or influence him.” The two did separate during filming. Afraid that one of them would be replaced, Ray took to sleeping in a dressing room, lying and saying that he needed to work on the script. Grahame played along with the charade and nobody knew that they had separated. Though there was a brief reconciliation, the couple divorced in 1952, when Ray found Grahame in bed with his thirteen-year-old son.[9][10]

The film was one of two Nicholas Ray films to be scored by avant garde classical composer George Antheil (1900–1959). The production began on October 25, 1949 and ended on December 1, 1949. Wiki.

In A Lonely Place (1950) – Ending Scene (3/3)

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.


In A Lonely Place (1950) – Car Scene (2/3)

Dixon “Dix” Steele (Humphrey Bogart) is a down-on-his-luck Hollywood screenwriter who has not had a hit, “since before the war.” While driving to meet his agent, Mel Lippman (Art Smith), at a nightclub, Dix’s explosive temper is revealed when, at a stoplight, he engages with another motorist in a confrontation that almost becomes violent.

At the nightclub, Mel cajoles him to adapt a book for a movie. The hat-check girl, Mildred Atkinson (Martha Stewart), is engrossed in reading the copy meant for Dix; since she only has a few pages left to go, she asks to finish before passing it on to Dix. Dix has a second violent outburst when a young director bad-mouths Dix’s friend Charlie (Robert Warwick), a washed-up actor.

Dix claims to be too tired to read the novel, so he asks Mildred to go home with him, ostensibly to explain the plot. As they enter the courtyard of his apartment, they pass a new tenant, Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame); Dix and Laurel are clearly intrigued by each other. As soon as Mildred is convinced that Dix is not trying to seduce her, she describes the story, in the process confirming what he had suspected—the book is trash. He gives her cab fare to get home.

The next morning, he is awakened by an old army buddy who is now a police detective, Brub Nicolai (Frank Lovejoy), who takes him downtown to be questioned by Captain Lochner (Carl Benton Reid). The coat check girl Mildred was murdered during the night and Dix is a suspect. Laurel is brought to the police station, she confirms seeing the girl leave Dix’s apartment alone and unharmed but Lochner is still deeply suspicious. Although Dix shows no overt sympathy for the dead victim, on the way home from the police station, he anonymously sends her two dozen white roses.

In A Lonely Place (1950) – Police Station Scene (1/3)

In a Lonely Place is a 1950 American film noir directed by Nicholas Ray[2] and starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame, produced for Bogart’s Santana Productions. The script was written by Andrew P. Solt from Edmund North’s adaptation of Dorothy B. Hughes‘ 1947 novel of the same name.[3]

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.[4]

It is now considered a classic film noir, as evidenced by its inclusion on the Time “All-Time 100 List”[5] as well as Slant Magazine‘s “100 Essential Films.”[6] In 2007, In a Lonely Place was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Gloria Grahame with Humphrey Bogart, from In A Lonely Place (1950)

Image may contain: 2 people, indoor

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.

William McDonald

Duel in the Sun 1946 [Western Drama][1080p HD] Gregory Peck & Jennifer Jones

Tragedy seems to follow Pearl Chavez (Jennifer Jones) everywhere she goes. After a domestic dispute results in the death of both of her parents, Pearl moves in with her aunt, Laura Belle (Lillian Gish), on an expansive farm. When Pearl notices Laura Belle’s son, the fiery Lewt, life on the ranch erupts into chaos. The two have a brief courtship, but Lewt abruptly ends the relationship. When Pearl tries to move on, Lewt’s jealousy leads to a climactic gun battle between the former lovers.

Release date: May 8, 1947 (New York)DirectorKing VidorBased on: Duel in the Sun; 1944 novel; by Niven BuschNarratorOrson WellesNominationsAcademy Award for Best Actress,

HVOB live @ Copa del Sol (Careyes)

Our culture is obsessed with stories of folks who drop out of society to follow a magnetic personality to a remote land, where a dark underbelly festers and things take a turn for the worst. 

We don’t often hear about the success stories. Here is one such tale.

It was 1968, and Gian Franco Brignone, an Italian banker, was flying over a part of Jalisco, Mexico’s Costalegre that stretched from the Pacific Coast into untouched jungle.

Without stepping foot on the ground, he decided to purchase 20,000 acres.

That land is what we now know as Careyes, or what some are calling the next “it” spot of Mexico.

Despite its distance from any major town (about a 1½-hour drive from Manzanillo and a 2½-hour drive from Puerto Vallarta), the hideaway is celebrating 51 glorious years among people in the know.

In its early days, Careyes served mostly as an enclave for Brignone’s social circle — a place where Italian elite, celebrities, nobility and models could live la dolce vita in North America. 

Gradually, a population of part-time and full-time owners was built, and that sense of community remains Careyes’ defining characteristic. Celebrities still flock here — model Naomi Campbell was recently spotted — most likely thanks to its preserved sense of privacy. Wealthy but unpretentious, owners and visitors appreciate time spent in nature with friends, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, where creativity can flourish.

Because if there’s a second defining characteristic of Careyes, it’s the inimitable architecture.

Careyes’ signature “castles” are perched over the coastline.
Careyes’ signature “castles” are perched over the coastline.
Credit: 2019 Careyes

The first major structures here set the tone for what would follow: Castles made of concrete and painted in bold monochromatic colors were decorated sparsely (but lavished with infinity pools) so as to frame nature and let “emotion run through the house,” says Filippo Brignone, a developer for Careyes and Gian Franco’s youngest son. Adding to the drama are the home locations. Perched atop lush slopes, the villas crown Costa Careyes’ craggy coastline.

Gian Franco, well into his 90s now, still lives in Casa Mi Ojo, which is painted a bright blue that conjures Morocco’s Chefchaouen or La Casa Azul, Frida Khalo’s former home and studio in Mexico City. 

During my visit, all guests of Careyes were invited to this mothership for mixing and mingling. I walked around — mezcal cocktail in hand — tracking the many vantage points of the sunset: the infinity pools; the bridge that begins at the house and extends, dramatically, over the ocean to a hill; and the rooftop, where an entire bedroom was converted into a bar. Here, I watched as friends, acquaintances and strangers chatted warmly until I, too, was swept into a conversation with U.S. polo players and Mexican socialites and artists.

Gian Franco Brignone, the founder of Careyes, lives in Casa Mi Ojo, a blue castle crowned by an illustration of his one eye.
Gian Franco Brignone, the founder of Careyes, lives in Casa Mi Ojo, a blue castle crowned by an illustration of his one eye.
Credit: 2019 Mindy Poder

Luisa Rossi, a Careyes board member, explains the Careyes style as a mix of ingenious Mexican craftsmanship and a sophisticated Italian eye. Think Luis Barragan’s dramatic buildings softened by the Amalfi Coast’s (or Mykonos’) chicest beach houses. There are more than 60 villas now, along with a neighborhood of 40 smaller casitas. 

While most are available to rent — and come equipped with a staff for cooking and cleaning — a new visitor option is El Careyes Club and Residences on the former site of a hotel. El Careyes is not officially considered a hotel, though its horseshoe-shaped building, five infinity pools and on-site beachfront restaurant will satisfy hotel-seekers. 

Units, which start at $350 per night, are contemporary and feature concrete floors, muted colors and, for top-floor condos, ocean views. My three-bedroom suite on the first floor featured a terrace set with ghost chairs, a wooden table and an off-white sofa topped with textured pillows, all neutral except for one small, blue accent pillow.

El Careyes Club and Residences, the newest and most contemporary accommodations option, is ideal for first-timers.
El Careyes Club and Residences, the newest and most contemporary accommodations option, is ideal for first-timers.
Credit: 2019 Careyes

According to Rossi, El Careyes is the perfect product for travel advisor partners, which the destination is now enthusiastically seeking. Manager Aura Serna and head concierge Karen Curiel can explain the lay of the land and book activities and meals for guests, making El Careyes the best bet for first-time visitors who want to get the hang of Careyes quickly. The setup is also ideal for groups who need multiple rooms in one easy location.

What to Do in Careyes
Besides befriending residents and peeking into their homes, guests in Careyes can enjoy nature without the crowds and tourist clutter of some of Mexico’s popular, more developed destinations. 

During my visit, I dipped into pools and spent time swimming in the ocean. At times — specifically before 7:30 a.m. — I had the entire place to myself. One day, my group hired a boat to take us around the coastline; we didn’t spot dolphins or whales as hoped, but we did dive in for a refreshing snorkeling session and see boobies flying outside of caves.

Water-based activities include leisurely boat rides, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, swimming, advanced surfing and pool hopping.
Water-based activities include leisurely boat rides, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, swimming, advanced surfing and pool hopping.
Credit: 2019 Mindy Poder

There are seven places to eat, drink and socialize, and most are poolside or beachside. Some are located in Careyes’ town square, which also houses a chic art museum; a small cinema; a storefront for the nonprofit Careyes Foundation, which focuses on educating local children and protecting sea turtles; a few designer clothing and jewelry shops; and an adjacent, and stylish, small hospital. 

The ever-present sense of style is very European — as is the party ethos. Even though a third of Careyes’ owners are North American, folks here kiss on both cheeks and smoke at the table (which features the almost anachronistic ash tray). Dinner starts late; dancing, even later.

The Brignone family takes pride in its parties and has a hand in planning bigger celebrations such as the Chinese New Year Celebration in February, the Arte Careyes Film Festival in March, the Agua Alta Polo Cup in April and Ondalinda, a psychedelic music and art fest that attracts California’s Venice Beach crowd in the fall.

But at Careyes, it’s not all about partying. 

The Copa de Sol is one of the many unique architectural pieces in Careyes, imagined by Gian Franco Brignone.

1/5Careyes, Mexico

The Copa de Sol is one of the many unique architectural pieces in Careyes, imagined by Gian Franco Brignone.
Credit: 2019 CareyesPreviousNext

Visitors can climb to the top of the oceanfront Copa de Sol and walk its perimeter.

2/5Careyes, Mexico

Visitors can climb to the top of the oceanfront Copa de Sol and walk its perimeter.
Credit: 2019 Mindy PoderPreviousNext

The Copa de Sol can be used for sound bath meditations led by Niki Trosky, Careyes’ yoga teacher.

3/5Careyes, Mexico

The Copa de Sol can be used for sound bath meditations led by Niki Trosky, Careyes’ yoga teacher.
Credit: 2019 Mindy PoderPreviousNext

Careyes’ villas are known for the artistic ways they frame nature.

4/5Careyes, Mexico

Careyes’ villas are known for the artistic ways they frame nature.
Credit: 2019 CareyesPreviousNext

The home of Filippo Brignone features a one-of-a-kind library, topped with a ladder that Brignone says is for “people from other worlds to know they’re welcome.”

5/5Careyes, Mexico

The home of Filippo Brignone features a one-of-a-kind library, topped with a ladder that Brignone says is for “people from other worlds to know they’re welcome.”
Credit: 2019 Mindy PoderPreviousNext

One coastal corner of Careyes is occupied by the manifestation of one of Gian Franco’s dreams. From afar, the Copa de Sol looks like a bowl. Up close, the shape is more complex, punctured by diamond-shaped windows that let the sun in via otherworldly beams of light. 

Here, guests can partake in a private sound bath and meditation led by Niki Trosky, Careyes’ yoga teacher and de facto spiritual guide, and Daniel Pardo, resident sound-bowl healer, DJ and restaurant manager. As the sun set through the windows, Trosky performed energy healing over my third eye. The sounds of the bowls seemed to generate from within. By the end of the session, I felt like my back had melted into the base of the bowl itself.

Careyes had managed to get under my skin, just like everyone told me it would.  

The Details

HVOB playing an exclusive live set at Copa del Sol in Careyes (Jalisco, Mexico) for Cercle ☞ Subscribe our channel for more videos: ☞ Subscribe our Spotify playlist: