In a Lonely Place (1950)
“I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me.”
Humphrey Bogart is brilliantly cast in the pretty unheroic role of a scriptwriter with a mighty violent temper. When a young woman he is seen with is discovered murdered only hours afterwards, Dixon Steele (Bogart) becomes the chief suspect in a murder case. His alibi, however, comes in the form of a beautiful blonde (played by Gloria Grahame) who, once they start playing house together and she gets to know him a little better, begins having doubts about his innocence… (There’s nothing quite like seeing your lover nearly beat someone to death to make you wonder if he’s quite the man of your dreams.)
An unusual film, Nicholas Ray’s noir masterpiece plays beautifully with the joys of new love whilst simultaneously undermining it with suspicion and doubt (it may be interesting to note that Ray’s marriage to his lead actress, Gloria Grahame, was unraveling and the couple split whilst shooting was in progress. Also, more intriguingly – and worryingly, Louise Brooks in her book Lulu in Hollywood, describes Bogart’s role in this film to be the closest to his true character…)
The film is laden with clues and suggestions that lead you astray as well as an unexpected – and initially unscripted – ending. With its character driven storyline that strips the players’ emotions bare, it isn’t hard to see why In a Lonely Place is considered by many to be one of the finest noirs ever made.
Gloria Grahame – a very bad girl…
posted by Dixie Turner