A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
Screenwriter Dixon Steele, faced with the odious task of scripting a trashy bestseller, has hat-check girl Mildred Atkinson tell him the story in her own words. Later that night, Mildred is murdered and Steele is a prime suspect; his record of belligerence when angry and his macabre sense of humor tell against him. Fortunately, lovely neighbor Laurel Gray gives him an alibi. Laurel proves to be just what Steele needed, and their friendship ripens into love. Will suspicion, doubt, and Steele's inner demons come between them?Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
This film was added to the National Film Registry in 2007. See more »
When Dixon pours drinks for himself and Mildred, we see him uncap a bottle and pour in the glass. Between cuts, the bottle appears capped before we see him capping it. In the subsequent shots, he moves the same bottle from one place to another and it appears first uncapped, then capped. See more »
Bogart is at his uncompromisingly dark best as the Hollywood writer whose temper leads to accusations of murder and conflicted relationships. By turns charming, cold, romantic and remorseful, Dix Steele is as unpredictable a character as Bogie has ever played.
He shows no emotion on learning that Mildred - the innocent he has just met - has been killed, and those who know him accept his violent nature as simply part of the Steele package. But thanks to the skill of Bogie and director Ray, the audience never entirely loses sympathy for him. The moments of tenderness he shows to his alibi-turned-lover Laurel (an ethereal Gloria Grahame; imagine Hope Davis glammed-up for the 50s) alternate with fits of anger to turn their relationship into that of a tragic poem.
In A Lonely Place is film noir that focuses on romance rather than crime. The reasons for Mildred's murder are never satisfactorily made clear, but it doesn't really matter. The movie asks whether love and trust are earned by what a person says or what they do. And in the end, actions speak louder than words.
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