In a Lonely Place (1950) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A potentially violent screenwriter is a murder suspect until his lovely neighbor clears him. But she begins to have doubts.

  • 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?

  • Hollywood screenwriter Dixon Steele hasn't written a hit movie for quite a while and has now been hired to turn a potboiler into a screenplay. He soon finds himself as the prime suspect in the murder of restaurant hat check girl Mildred Atkinson however. Steele had invited the girl to his his house so she could tell him about the book, which she had just read. She left his apartment but was found dead a few hours later. Dix is known for having a temper and fortunately his neighbor Laurel Gray is able to give him an alibi. They soon fall in love and with Laurel as his muse, Dix is soon writing again. There is no doubt that Dix has a dark side to him, frequently getting into fights and taking too great an interest in the murder. The police don't give up however and continue to investigate him and Laurel begins to have her doubts.

  • Dixon Steele is a successful screenwriter who has not written anything worthwhile for a long time. He is a very violent man, with a bad temper. His agent asks him to read a book and prepare the screenplay. Dix invites Mildred Atkinson, who is the receptionist of the restaurant where he is habitué and had read the book, to go to his home and present a summary of the story. The girl has a date, but she decides to call off and go with Dix. After midnight, he gives some money for the cab and Mildred leaves his apartment alone. On the next morning, she is found murdered and Dix becomes the prime suspect. He goes to the police station and stumbles upon his neighbor Laurel Gray that gives alibi to Dix. Then they fall in love with each other, but Gloria can not trust him completely. With the support of Gloria, Dix starts working again, and prepares an outstanding screenplay for his agent. Meanwhile he proposes her to get married with him, and although Gloria is in love with him, she is not sure whether he killed Mildred or not. Did Dix kill the girl?

  • Dixon Steele was once a successful screenwriter but, like many writers in his industry, has run into a bit of a rut and hasn't written a hit film for quite some time. When he is tasked with turning a trashy bestseller into a hit film, he seeks out hatcheck woman Mildred Atkinson to recount the story for him back at his place. The next day, Steele is informed that the same girl who was at his place the night before, Mildred Atkinson, was found dead that very night. Under the circumstances, coupled with Steele's short temper and violent tendencies, Steele's is immediately pinned as the prime suspect of the murder. The police's efforts and suspicions of Steele complicate matters when he falls for his beautiful, albeit equally enigmatic, neighbor, Laurel Gray. A story of heartbreak, distrust and mystery.

  • Dixon Steele is a Hollywood screenwriter who has not had a hit movie in years, his best screenwriting days most-likely behind him. His longtime agent, Mel Lippman, is arguably his best friend despite their sometimes rocky relationship. Mel suggests that he read an acquaintance's novel as possible source material for a movie, Mel giving Dixon overnight to go through the material before making a decision. By morning, Dixon's life takes a turn as he is called to the police station by Detective Brub Nicolai, an old friend from their military days, as a possible suspect in the murder of a young woman who Dixon had spent some time with the evening before. Dixon ends up with an alibi in the form of Lauren Gray, a relatively new neighbor who lives in the apartment across the courtyard from him, she who willingly provides this alibi, despite not knowing him, because she states she likes the look of his face. Dixon in turn is smitten with her as well, the two who embark on a relationship. Lauren, an aspiring actress, ends up inspiring Dixon to do the best writing he has done in years. Nicolai's boss, Captain Lochner, still believes that there is merit in pursuing Dixon as a suspect regardless of the alibi, in large part due to Dixon's past history of a violent temper and violence, of which Lauren is initially unaware. Regardless of if Lauren may have ulterior motives in providing that alibi and entering into the relationship with Dixon, she may regret her decision if Dixon does display that violence, which often pops up in the emotion of his writing, or worse if he really is the murderer.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Dixon "Dix" Steele (Humphrey Bogart) is a talented but violence-prone and washed up screenwriter. Needing money, he reluctantly takes the job of adapting a trashy novel for the screen. Knowing that this is obviously below him, instead of reading the thing he instead asks a naive, celebrity-obsessed girl (who has read the book) he meets at a restaurant to give him a synopsis, which she does enthusiastically. He sends her home with cab money and is abruptly woken up at 5:00 the next morning by a police officer; the girl was found murdered, and Dix was the last person to see her alive. Given his violent past and what appears to be apathy towards her death, he is the most logical suspect until his beautiful neighbor Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame) gives him an alibi (though the audience is never quite sure if she is telling the truth or lies because of her attraction to Dix). There is an undeniable connection between Laurel and Dix, and despite her guarded demeanor and his deep internal demons, the two fall madly in love and for a while they enjoy the happiest time of their lives. Meanwhile, the murder investigation continues and Dix is still the most likely suspect. This puts immense strain on their relationship. The pressure on him is mounting, and as he begins to become increasingly impatient and irritable, this makes her back away from him. Sensing this, he is so frightened he'll lose Laurel, he clings ever more tightly to her, which appears controlling and frightens her. After hearing she didn't tell him about going down to the police station to answer more questions, he storms off and almost kills an innocent bystander, and is only stopped by Laurel's plea. After that incident, Laurel begins to truly doubt Dix's innocence. Dix senses this and from the strain of the accusation, the novel and his fears of losing Laurel, his violence has started up again. In addition, his controlling ways continue to increase from his desperation as she pulls further and further away from him emotionally. Though she loves Dix, Laurel fears for her life and plans to leave him. When Dix finds out, he flies into a rage and nearly strangles the woman he loves; the only thing that stops him is a ringing telephone which confirms his innocence. However, he walks away anything but a free man, having lost forever the one person who he truly loved, who truly loved him, and could've made him happy enough to help him deal with his violent nature.

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