A hotheaded Hollywood screenwriter, questioned for murder, is drawn to his neighbor when she confirms his alibi, but his volatile nature eventually threatens to destroy their one last chance for real love. — Genre: Feature ... more »Film-Drama
"For all the praise film-noir is lavished with (quite a lot of it valid), the majority of it relies on convention as much as the standard white-picket-fence, happy-ending 'family' film does: just invert the cliches and bathe them in deep-focus shadows. While this movie, on its surface, resembles the classic-style film noir of DOUBLE INDEMNITY, beneath the surface it's a whole different animal. No calculating evil females or tough guys masking hearts of gold populate IN A LONELY PLACE. It's a much more wrenching and powerfully disturbing film because the murder that draws the protagonists together turns out to be of peripheral importance, while the love story between Humphrey Bogart's troubled screenwriter and Gloria Grahame's B-actress spins inexorably towards damnation completely on its own power. The basic story has him a suspect in a killing, and her in love with him yet unsure of his innocence, but director Nicholas Ray stages the proceedings so that WE see it's not the murder that disturbs her but her own conviction that his self-destructive and volatile nature will destroy them both. To his credit, Ray never takes the easy way out of having Bogart turn monster on her. You care inordinately about the characters, hoping hard (as Bogart's agent does in the film) that some transforming moment will come that will spare these people and allow their deeply felt love to flourish and heal them both - even as the evidence before your own eyes tells you there ain't no way. For 1950 -hell, for any year- such an unsentimental and uncompromising treatment of a tragic adult relationship is a rarity. The shadows suffusing this excellent film come not from UFA-influenced lighting but from the Black Dahlia murder, the HUAC hearings, the death throes of old Hollywood & the moral and spiritual detachment of postwar American life. But most of all, they're projected from within the characters themselves. Grahame and Ray's own real-life deteriorating relationship formed the template for the doomed lovers, and for them, this film is an act of great courage. For his part, Bogart (the star and executive producer) takes elements of all his previous romantic loners and blends them with the harsh, sour pigments of Fred C Dobbs, running the risk of audience rejection. His performance is unflinchingly honest, among his best work ever. See this movie."
A DEEPLY MOVING FILM!
Elaine J. Campbell | Rancho Mirage, CA United States | 06/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Filmed in 1950, this film is brilliantly directed by Nicholas Ray. Its production company, Santana Productions, was Bogart's own (Santana was the name of his yawl), which he started in 1948 and sold to Columbia Pictures in 1954, the problem being that his company simply couldn't outbid the large studios for properties he wanted, i.e., Dead End and The Detective Story (some of Santana's films included Knock on Any Door, Tokyo Joe and Sirocco, which Bogart himself called "a stinker").Eric Lax, the definitive biographer of Humphrey Bogart, believes that he was drawn to this role because he could so closely identify with the character's inner turmoil, problems with women, and a rocky relationship with the ups and downs of the film industry itself. The character he plays is also a heavy drinker. Perhaps because of the similarities, and because Bogart was so greatly talented, his performance in this film leaves one in awe. It is wide and deep, cruel and unbelievably tender, and very, very moving. Gloria Grahame gives unquestionably the best performance of her career. The role was to go to Lauren Bacall, but Warner Brothers refused to lend her to Santana Productions for the film. Though I admire Bacall's early work, I am glad we got Grahame with her flower-like fragility. It is a murder mystery, but more it is an in-depth character study and even a life study. Dix (Bogart's character) is full of rage which he has for years refused to confront. Laurel (Grahame's character) is lost. Both her film career and her search for a meaningful love are illusive at best. They genuinely fall deeply in love. Was she not strong enough? Was he not brave enough? We see what could have been, and are left with what will never be.My great compliments to Art Smith, whom I consider to be the greatest character actor of his time (he played the psychiatrist in Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid, one of William Powell's later films). The scene in which he is violated is a great moment in film.Hats off to a deeply moving film, brutally honest and perfectly executed, each performance being a gem of its own."
Ian Muldoon | Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia | 07/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One test for me is re-viewing and I've seen this film around ten times. The tenth time I found the initial scene between Ms Grahame and her lesbian masseur both witty and gripping as the almost sadistic masseur twisted, leant, squeezed with each vicious word her distaste for Ms Grahame's man, and I guess, for all men. But this is a film rich in such moments - including the apparently obligatory night club singing scene which was a cliche of the forties films - with the excellent singing performance interrupted by the enraged Dixon Steele (Bogart) as he physically attacks HIS BESPECTACLED BEST FRIEND AND AGENT at his table. Personally I find this film superior to REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. It is especially well written by Andrew Solt and Mr Ray gets fabulous performances out of all concerned. It is at the one time a film self deprecating about its own medium as an art - much irony within the film about the cliches of film - as well as a searing comment on post traumatic stress as the character played by Mr Bogart is clearly a victim of war. Indeed, I count the film amongst the best of its time which seems to get better with age. Brilliant in black and white."
DARK, BROODING HUMAN EMOTIONS....
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 01/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Excellent psychological noir drama about a cynical Hollywood screenwriter (Humphrey Bogart) with a disturbing violent streak who becomes a suspect in the brutal murder of a hat check girl from the club he frequents. His only alibi is Gloria Grahame, a starlet who's his neighbor in their apartment complex. She covers for him to the police even admitting that she likes his face. They begin a relationship and Grahame discovers his frightening violent tendencies. Now even she begins to doubt his innocence as well as fear for her own safety. Film crackles with cynicism and tension throughout and offers one of Bogart's best performances as the troubled writer struggling with his inner demons. Grahame is excellent in one of her first big roles before becoming the 50's film noir femme fatale she later did. Ironically, the film was directed by the great Nicholas Ray whose marriage to Grahame was falling apart at the time. This could explain why it has a bleak, gloomy feel to it and the two leads are such tormented characters who are powerless over their destinies. A must see, a must on DVD and a must have for those who know what Bogart could do in a role like this, for fans of Grahame and especially for those who are familiar with Nicholas Ray. A potent, adult film that's an underrated and overlooked classic."
A Truly Great Performance in a Tragic Film Noir.
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 03/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hot-tempered, uncompromising screenwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart) hasn't been able to write a successful script in years. When he's asked to adapt a popular novel, Dix invites an enthusiastic young hatcheck girl (Martha Stewart) who has read the book to tell him about it. She cancels a date for the chance to explain the novel to the famous screenwriter, and he's happy not to have to read the book. But Dix is summoned to the police station for questioning the next day, because the young woman was murdered shortly after leaving his apartment. A neighbor, Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame), who saw Dix the night before from her balcony, verifies that the murder victim left Dix's apartment alone. But Dix remains the police's prime suspect, as he and Laurel fall in love. Although she loves Dix, his controlling, violent personality eventually cause Laurel to distrust him, and then to suspect that he may be guilty of murder, after all.
"In a Lonely Place" is loosely based on the novel by Dorothy B. Hughes and is wonderfully reflexive in that Dixon Steele adapts a novel in the film, which he alters dramatically for his purposes. Edmund H. North, who adapted "In a Lonely Place", departed radically from Hughes' novel and completely rewrote the Dix character. Dixon Steele is a typical film noir protagonist in that he falls victim to his own character flaw: his violent and controlling nature. "In a Lonely Place" is a "Hollywood insider" film that takes place in and around the filmmaking industry and presents an unflattering view of the industry's motives and the audience's tastes. Even Burnett Guffey's "sunny California" cinematography is dark. Dix is to some extent made a heroic figure within this environment by his stubbornness -a writer with integrity trying to do good work in an industry of "popcorn salesman". Director Nicholas Ray is masterful at manipulating the audience's sympathies from Dix to Laurel and back again. When we are sympathetic to Dix, he frustrates the audience by being his own worst enemy. When he is callous and volatile, we wonder if he committed the crime. Ultimately, "In a Lonely Place" is about the corrosive effects of distrust and suspicion. Humphrey Bogart achieves true acting greatness with his complex performance, which is one of the most memorable of his career.
The DVD: Bonus features include 2 documentaries, a sort of retrospective of Bogart's career, and trailers for "In a Lonely Place", "The Lady from Shanghai", and "The Big Heat". "In a Lonely Place Revisited" (20 minutes) is hosted by director Curtis Hanson. Speaking from the courtyard of the hacienda-style apartment community where Dix and Laurel lived in the film, Hanson talks about various aspects of the film, including the director, actors, characters, and the collaboration between director Nicholas Ray and Humphrey Bogart that produced such an emotionally honest performance. He also contrasts the film and the book on which it was based. Commentary is illustrated with film clips. "In a Lonely Place: Restoration Story" (5 minutes) is an interesting look at the process of restoring the film from its original, very battered, cellulose nitrate film stock. Includes interviews with Sony's Vice President of Asset Management, Grover Crisp, the folks at Cinetech who restored the film images, and the folks at Chase Productions who restored the film's sound. "The Bogart Collection" (4 minutes) is a text bio of Humphrey Bogart's career, followed by posters and publicity stills for some of his films. Subtitles are available for the film in English, Japanese, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Korean. Dubbing is available in French."