In a Lonely Place (1950) Poster

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9/10
Bogart and Grahame Are Great
drednm4 July 2005
Very adult film about a surly Hollywood writer, a would be actress, and a murder. Among the very best Bogart performances, yet this film is practically unknown. Top notch acting across the board. Bogart and Grahame are a terrific team (she is the designing actress), but also good are Frank Lovejoy, Jeff Donnell (as his wife), Martha Stewart (no not that one) as the murder victim, Art Smith as the agent, and Robert Warwick (just wonderful) as the washed-up actor. Everything in the story revolves around Hollywood and movie making, but this is NOT really a film about Hollywood; it's a murder mystery. Great script is full of memorable lines, and all the supporting actors are sharp. Ruth Warren is funny as the maid, and Ruth Gillette is really spooky as the masseuse. Carl Benton Reid is the Lieutenant, and William Ching another officer. But the center is Bogart's harsh, unrelenting character. His Dixon Steele must rank with his best characters. And we never get to know him, nor is there any apology for his toughness. He seems almost psychotic--very rare for the hero of the 1950s movie. This also rates as one of Grahame's best performances. A truly unique Hollywood movie all round. In a Lonely Place still rates as an undiscovered gem.
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One of Nicholas Ray's best movies with brilliant performances from Bogart and Grahame.
Infofreak6 February 2004
Nicholas Ray is a director who has almost been forgotten these days, despite making brilliant movies like 'They Live By Night', 'On Dangerous Ground', 'Johnny Guitar' and 'Rebel Without A Cause', and numbering Martin Scorsese and Wim Wenders among his fans (the latter even gave him a small role in his 'The American Friend'). 'In A Lonely Place' could be Ray's best. It's a fascinating movie that mixes drama, suspense and romance in a very interesting way. You could call it Noir I suppose, but it's a very difficult movie to tie down. Humphrey Bogart plays a bitter, hard drinking and frequently violent screen writer who becomes a murder suspect when a young girl (Martha Stewart) is killed. Gloria Grahame ('Crossfire', 'The Big Set Up') is a neighbour who supplies him with an alibi. This odd way of meeting leads into a romance. At first everything is wonderful, and Bogart is even writing again, but bit by bit Grahame starts to see his dark side and begins to fear him, even suspecting that he may have been involved in the murder after all. I don't think I've ever seen Bogart better. It's a terrific performance, and while his character can be charming at times he's also surprisingly unlikeable and intense (we are told he broke an old girlfriend's nose, for example. Imagine Mel Gibson or Brad Pitt doing that in a movie today and still being the romantic lead!). Grahame pulls off a difficult role too, being torn between love and terror. They both make a great team. Such a pity they never worked together after this. I also liked Frank Lovejoy ('House Of Wax', 'The Hitch-Hiker') who plays Bogart's cop buddy. 'In A Lonely Place' is a movie not to be overlooked. I thought it was superb entertainment.
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10/10
Classic Bogart, classic script, classic noir
CountZaroff11 March 2004
This is one of my all time favourite films, and (alongside the obvious - Casablanca, Maltese Falcon etc) my favourite Bogart.

The script is smart, witty and cynical, just like a typical Bogart character. But in this film Bogart plays probably his darkest character.

In some of the scenes with Gloria Graeme he's at his smooth, wisecracking, slightly irritable best, but in the moments where the anger and the fog of despair descends he is a more threatening character than in any of his other leading man roles.

The cynical, darker aspects of this film just go to highlight how few contemporary films are prepared to be so bleak.

Despite the fact that the plot is ostensibly a 'did he do it?' crime story, this is largely inconsequential to the psychological character and relationship study that is the central concern of the film.

If you like a cracking script with sharp performances, with all kinds of deep psychological observations on love and loneliness to be read into it, in the best noir tradition, this is the film for you.
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Disturbing & Important
fowler120 February 2001
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, 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. Yet, Ray never takes the easy way out of having Bogart turn monster on her. You care deeply about these people, hoping desperately (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 terrible wonder to behold. The shadows suffusing this excellent film come not from UFA-influenced lighting but from moral and spiritual desolation, the death throes of old Hollywood, the coming of McCarthyism and the Black Dahlia murder of 1947. But most of all, they're projected from within the characters themselves. The finest work of Bogart, Grahame and Ray. Special note should be taken of Ray and Grahame, whose own deteriorating relationship formed the template for the doomed lovers; for them, this film is an act of great courage. Bogart himself has taken elements of all his previous romantic loners and blended them with the sour pigments of Fred C Dobbs; as the star and executive producer, his performance is unflinching in its honesty, and as fearless as Grahame and Ray. See this movie.
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8/10
Essential Bogie
skymovies7 September 2005
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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9/10
Fantastic film with Bogart at his very best. Gloria Grahame also gives one of her best performances.
zetes29 November 2004
The story concerns a Hollywood screenwriter (Bogart) who is suspected of being a murderer. Grahame, a neighbor, steps in to defend him – she saw the murdered woman leave his apartment alone. Afterwards, they begin a relationship. But Bogart's nature is a violent one, and that violence keeps pushing forward. It makes Grahame rethink her earlier testimony, as well as fear for her own safety. It's quite a unique film for the time, one that actually deals with the possibility of an abusive man. Everything is perfectly done, and the script is wonderful. The film's tagline was 'The Bogart suspense picture with a surprise ending!' What is surprising about the ending is just how much weight it carries. 9/10.
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8/10
Bogey's best?
thehumanduvet13 March 2002
A scorching performance from Bogey makes this film a real classic, his Dixon Steele one of the great screen characters. In this more biting version of the plot of Hitchcock's suspense/comedy Suspicion, Bogart is a kind and loving screenwriter with a violent streak of temper waiting to break out and a taste for a drink or two, wooing Gloria Grahame's pretty young actress next door. The death of a young girlfriend of his hangs over him throughout the movie, as Graham at first believes him to be innocent, then later, having fallen for his charms, begins to suspect he may have had something to do with the girl's death after all, as his temper becomes more and more uncontrolled and frightening. The police circle around, making his nervous anger worse; the relationship begins to crumble into a mess of fear, lies and misunderstanding. Through all this Dixon Steele emerges as a great and brilliant creation, a highlight even in a career as illustrious as that of Bogart, a charming and witty man when happy, a black and vengeful man when roused to anger, a man of contradictions that only seems the more real, heroic, and ultimately tragic. Bogart's performance is brilliant, but the setting works well too, Grahame is great as the sassy girl he falls for, then frightens, the story chugs along at a fair lick, but allowing plenty of time for the many fun minor characters to develop well, and the script is a corker - wonderful stuff.
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10/10
Bogart's Vulnerability Is A Revelation
rollo_tomaso7 January 2001
Bogart stretches his acting muscles and allows his vulnerability to be on display in this realistic gut-wrenching love story. Gloria Grahame, one of the underrated great US actresses of the 40's and 50's, has an electrifying chemistry with Bogie, touching a side that we'd never seen -- not even with Lauren Bacall, laced with an odd kind of violent tenderness. Frank Lovejoy heads a fantastic supporting cast, heavy on three-dimensional characterisations. This unknown classic is Bogie's most complete performance ever. I give it 10 out of 10.
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7/10
A brave and smart twist to the "man alone" theme...
Nazi_Fighter_David5 December 2004
There was a brave and smart twist to the 'man alone' theme in an unusually literate thriller which isolated its ambivalent hero having conflicting feelings inside his own negative personality... This man was not physically isolated as Robert Ryan ('Inferno') had been: he was an embittered Hollywood screenwriter who needed self-discipline and trust… The lonely place in which he was trapped was his own mind...

Perhaps some people thought Bogart over-acted, played the writer like a criminal aggressively apt to be easily offended... but he played his role well. No gangster this time, or cop, or private eye... He was a Hollywood screenwriter—strong, easily annoyed, depressed; his nerve-ends constantly steaming; living alone with his talent, his reputation and his typewriter; impulsive rather than strengthened by a diet of alcohol and nicotine… His savage temper was uncontrollable: anything, it seemed, could explode it; and his violence was more than merely verbal…

Bogart found himself capable of murder... He might have been anti-social... But the stress within him, reacting to the pressures without, built up so strongly that his rages, always near boiling point, became explosive... He hit people without good reason...

One watched the reactions of his dream girl, the beautiful blonde Gloria Grahame, and his two close friends... With them, one came to wonder if he was not really a murderer after all...
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10/10
One of the Best ever!
red-7428 March 2003
Very briefly, if you love 'film noir', excellent writing, brilliant direction, powerful B&W imagery and inspired casting, IN A LONELY PLACE is waiting for you. The storyline and the characterizations are city street-smart and flawless. One of Bogart's very best!
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8/10
One of Bogart's most complex roles
AlsExGal2 January 2010
This was a very interesting role for Humphrey Bogart, and was a bit of a production code buster on several levels.

Bogart plays Hollywood screenwriter Dixon Steele, who is in somewhat of a writing rut. He also has a quick temper and a paranoia complex. He picks fights with people over the most routine matters and these fights commonly come to blows. He is indeed "in a lonely place" of his own making. Steele has a chance to write a screenplay based on a book, but the author wants him to read the book and give him his opinion in just a matter of a few days. At the restaurant where Steele has talked with the author, the hat check girl says she has just read the book and loves it. Steele invites her to come over to his apartment and tell him about the book to save him the trouble of reading it. This is all very innocent in what Steele intends and in what actually happens. In fact, Steele's reaction, unseen and unheard by the hat check girl, to her semi-literate oral book report is wickedly funny. This shows us Steele's charming and funny side. After the girl tells her story, she leaves. Neighbor Laurel Grey (Gloria Grahame) sees her leave. However, the next day, the girl's strangled body is found next to a road. The police quickly find their way back to Steele's place where, due to his violent past and nonchalant reaction to the murder, he is under immediate suspicion. He finds an alibi in his neighbor Laurel, and this is how they formally meet.

Almost immediately the two begin a relationship that gets serious fast. Laurel finds Steele attentive and interesting. Thus at first Laurel thinks Steele is innocent of the murder, but one by one her doubts grow. Steele explodes over little things, even eventually punching out his own agent over nothing. In fact, Steele's agent is his only real friend and actually is a bit of an enabler for his bad behavior. You always see Steele show his idea of remorse for his actions, even anonymously sending money to a guy he has beaten up over a traffic accident. However, the question that is left to be answered is - exactly what is going on with this guy? Could he have stalked and killed the girl over his anger at something else or someone else entirely? And if he didn't kill the hat check girl, will he eventually kill someone else? Laurel is asking these same questions as she begins to wonder - is it more dangerous to try and run away from Steele, or is it more dangerous to stay? One should never consider saying "yes" to a marriage proposal if it comes down to what is less dangerous.

Laurel is not exactly a finished book herself. Apparently she had a serious relationship with a well-off man just prior to this, and ended it for really no tangible reason. Then there is a kind of gay subtext going on between herself and her masseuse, Martha. They only have one scene together but it certainly throws out more questions than answers, just like the rest of this film.

If you like noir, if you like Bogart, if you like being challenged, watch this film.
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8/10
Excellent film noir
The_Void5 June 2005
Film noir is a part of cinema that has been sorely missed since it's decline in the sixties, but it's always nice to view a classic from the era; and this film is one of the best of the genre that I've seen. While many film noir's focus on crime only, this one fuses crime with romance and the result is a film that is both thrilling and touching. The film also seems keen to give a commentary on Hollywood, with it's comments on the sort of people that live there along with criticisms of certain methods. The film is very pessimistic, which is a part of the film noir tradition and the pessimistic outlook of the movie blends excellently with the stylish black and white cinematography. This film marks a different sort of role for the great Humphrey Bogart as well, as it shows him in a more vulnerable, and more importantly darker, role than what we are used to seeing him portray. The plot includes mystery and suspense, and it follows Bogart as the girl that he invited to his apartment is found dead.

The story of In a Lonely Place really picks up when Bogart comes into contact with his neighbour, a mysterious young woman whom he promptly falls in love with. This romance forms the backbone of this dark movie, but even though the romance is usually a positive thing; director Nicholas Ray even manages to keep this aspect of the story firmly in the shadows. The film is a great example of professionalism throughout, with the direction, screenplay and acting all being flawless. It's nice to see an actor of Bogart's immense talent in this sort of role, as it really allows him to put his back into it and the result is a fine performance from one of the greatest actor's of all time, which is a treat to watch. The plot is full of criticisms of Hollywood in the 50's, and this will be of interest to film fans as this was an important period of time for movies. On the whole, this movie is a fascinating piece of cinema. It is captivating from the moment it starts and you will be drawn to it all the way though. My only slight criticism is that it could have spent a little more time on the mystery side of it's plot, and a little less on the romance; but that's a small criticism. Otherwise, this is an excellent piece of cinema.
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9/10
Superb psychological noir
faraaj-15 October 2006
Bogart gives a real actors performance in his production company Santana's first picture In a Lonely Place. The title describes the mental state of the lead character Dixon Steele - played by our favourite Humphrey Bogart.

He seems to be more himself in this movie, than in any other role he played before or since. Dixon Steele is a famous Hollywood writer going through a low patch for a few years now. He is also a very violent man with a short fuse. He is suspected of the murder of a hat check girl early on in the movie but is provided an alibi by neighbour Gloria Grahame. They both fall in love and Steele actually seems to be cured and starts writing again. But....

I won't delve further into the plot, but this is Bogie's most personal performance and worth a detailed viewing. You'll begin to understand the talents of this actor much more by watching this film. There are several memorable scenes and some great dialogue but this film is more realistic and less stylish than classic noir's like Big Sleep, Double Indemnity, Maltese Falcon or Out of the Past.

The end is great....a true noir ending.
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9/10
"Anger Management" is nothing new...
GreyDiva25 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers
...and this movie proves it. Watch out Adam Sandler because Bogie beat you to the punch (literally). This is not one of Bogart's more famous works, but for fans of his romantic works, it's a must. There are some great snappy one-liners. The bittersweet ending comes as a surprise. The tense final few minutes are theatrical directing genius, but it also works pretty well for film.

The only thing missing was a motivation/explanation for Dix's short fuse, but juxtaposition of Bogart's fury and Gloria Grahame's gentle, faithful love is spell binding. Gloria Grahame is a perfect leading lady for Bogart. It's a pity this combination wasn't repeated, because their chemistry rivals Bogart/Bacall, and Bogart/Hepburn for sure.
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10/10
One of the great films of all time
funkyfry20 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Humphrey Bogart gives his most compelling performance in Nick Ray's classic and generates more on-screen heat with co-star Gloria Grahame than in any of his other justly famous cinematic couplings. The fact that it also manages to make a statement about Hollywood – and, by extension, the very concept of the "macho loner" glorified by Bogart in so many of his films – just makes it all that much more unforgettable.

The very first thing you hear in this film is a passing character calling out to Bogart – "Dix Steele!". Right way I find this amusing because of the connotations of his name and the fact that it's such a perfect "Hollywood" name from the period. Dix is a guy who takes a hat check girl home so that she can tell him the story of a book he's supposed to adapt and ends up the prime suspect for her murder. His alibi is provided by a lovely new neighbor, Laurel Gray (Grahame, director Ray's wife at the time). The scene where they flirt with each other in the midst of police interrogation is sexy, intelligent, and surprising. It also engages some of the major themes in the film – early on in the scene Bogart wonders aloud whether the investigation is supposed to determine if he's guilty of murder or of being insensitive. "I didn't say I was a gentleman, I said I was tired". Steele's attitude here is basically his classic screen persona – tough, cynical, and defiant of authority. One of the cops, Brub (Frank Lovejoy) is Steele's old war buddy and one of the film's strongest scenes is the one where Steele encourages Brub and his wife Sylvia to act out the murder scenario. Jeff says "he's a sick man" but Brub demurs, basically describing the Bogart persona's appeal – "he's just exciting, that's all! He's different from other men." The really impressive thing that the film does is that it actually brings us at least closer to Sylvia's perspective by the end, deconstructing the appeal of Bogart's macho noir persona while at the same time maintaining his humanity to the extent that we really feel awful for him because we know this is his last chance in life and that every twist of the story is pushing him that much closer to the bitter loneliness that will occupy the remainder of his life (in this respect it differs greatly from films like "Kiss Me Deadly" which merely satirize the macho persona without humanizing it). And there's no melodramatic outside cause for the tragedy; it's all internal to Dixon Steele's character – his inability to internalize stress and his tendency to act out with violence against anyone who happens to be in his way when he gets angry.

The love story between Grahame and Bogart's characters is extremely convincing. I like how after Laurel "confesses" to finding Bogart's face "interesting" in the interrogation scene, he invites her to come see him and initially thinks she might accompany him on his date with his cop friend's family. It's the first sign of the character's vulnerability, and for the remainder of the film Ray brilliantly uses Grahame's female prerogative to undermine Bogart's arrogant style. Even the scenes that could become maudlin are handled in a convincing way. When Dixon's agent Mel Lippman (Art Smith) comes by and is amazed to see Dixon working on a script feverishly, Grahame's performance carries the necessary feminine affection to make us believe in their brief idyll. Grahame is the whole package, and it's remarkable how she comes off the screen as a flesh and blood woman instead of the kind of "dolls" and "molls" that usually inhabit suspense films from the period. And likewise Bogart's character feels truly real to me in a way that none of his other characters do. I'm not talking about the style of acting, it's really in the writing and the fact that Bogart is able to take advantage of the writing by fully inhabiting this character (which some say was the closest to his own personality he ever played). It's not one of those films where you're supposed to guess whether he's really "good" or "bad", even though superficially that seems the case; I think this story is too sad and the character too pathetic to deserve either epithet. And ultimately even the question of "did he, or didn't he, murder her?" becomes irrelevant because Laurel and the audience become convinced that he COULD have killed her, and this destroys the possibility of trust in their relationship.

Nick Ray made at least two other timeless masterpieces, "Johnny Guitar" and "Rebel Without a Cause". All 3 deal with loneliness and the stress placed on relationships by the conflict between traditional concepts of "manliness" and personal concepts of love and belonging. And all 3 show Ray's ability to work with a small ensemble of actors and approach potentially conventional dramatic situations in ways that are not only new but also startlingly intimate and personal. I don't usually issue recommendations, but anyone who hasn't seen all 3 owes it to themselves to seek them out, because speaking from my own heart these are movies that have the potential to enrich our own lives – without moralizing, Ray has created at least through a handful of personal films a body of work that affirms life in all its beautiful weirdness. Only he could have created a film like "In a Lonely Place" that brings out so many emotions without being manipulative. He knows how to let us come to the characters instead of forcing the characters on us, and he does not allow even one scene to be a "throw-away" – absolutely every scene in this movie enhances the quality of the film and the experience of watching it is enhanced with each repeat viewing.
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10/10
the star with two sides, with a sad tinge to it all, in one of Ray's great films
Quinoa19845 July 2006
Humphrey Bogart's part in In a Lonely Place perfectly makes such an interesting case as to what is capable in his skills as an actor, and as a star. Nicholas Ray's film doesn't so much challenge as it does confront a certain style of POV in how the character(s) may be seen in the film, and it very much has a lasting impact to this day. Early on in the film we're seeing it all through Dixon Steele's perspective, a down-on-his-luck type who in this case happens to be a screenwriter. After a woman he asked over to his place leaves, and gets killed later on, he's pulled in as the chief suspect. The investigation goes on, but in the meantime he falls for his alibi, a woman neighbor he glanced at that night (Gloria Grahame). Now so far we've gotten, more or less, the 'star' side of Bogie, where he's a decent enough person, even through the way that he says the lines is his style of gruff, low-key. So far we're on his side with this, and the director too goes to lengths to make the police-side moments to be as they are in any given number of noirs where there's always the overly suspicious head detective.

But then suddenly, the perspective changes really from Bogart's character to Grahame's. Suddenly, as her character types up his new, 'inspired' script in a matter or weeks, the relationship for her- at first with a firm tongue-in-cheek and kind adoration in part to the writing- starts to take a turn. Here's where the character of Bogart's starts to get interesting, as the past record of violent outbursts starts to add doubt not just for his girl, but for the audience as well. As he was much as at home playing tense, on-edge gangsters and the like in the 30's as he was in star turns in the 40s, here's a role where he gets to both, but in line with the director's dramatic requirements. Here he creates this film just on structure with a keen apt for the suspense of it all. It isn't even a 'whodunit' as much as it is a look at the environment of how 'loneliness' is often most crushing when it incurs loss and pushing others away. And the climax that is reached is meant as an emotional one, as the real peak is revealed. In a Lonely Place is great for what it gives its actor(s) to do with the material, and along with an accompanying, varying style, it's exemplary of subverting expectations. You may get the rough side of Bogie as well as the side that's near charming. But this time the implications of connecting and feeling for one another are just as strong, if not stronger, than the mystery portion that pushes further on them.

Saying all this, of course, doesn't mean that the film isn't quite the entertainer, too; moments of humor are pecked in with a side character and with some of the (typical for a Bogart star role) finely tuned bits of dialog. It's a film that tells a love story and has the mix of very touching moments with the uglier ones, has some grit on the edges that adds to the subversion of the material, and puts conflicts where elsewhere would be shuffled around by others. In short, it's a highlight in both of the careers of the director and star.
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8/10
Exceptional and very Noir
MartinHafer25 June 2007
This is one of Bogart's better films but is rarely seen or discussed. I really can't understand why as it's a wonderful Film Noir-style movie with exceptionally exciting dialog and some very clever writing.

Bogart plays a strange and complex character--a man who writes screenplays. At times, he's affable and decent, and at other times he's violent and cruel--getting into fights at the drop of a hat. But regardless, he was always cynical and spouted great dialog in whichever mood struck him.

Towards the beginning of the film a young lady is murdered and the evidence points mainly to Bogart. Now the writers and director COULD have chosen to make it very clear to the audience what actually occurred, but there is definitely plenty of reason for the audience to suspect Bogart DID kill her and it isn't spelled out for you. Oddly, through much of the film it seemed like Bogart's character was doing everything he could to prove he might have done it! The only witness who could throw doubt on Bogart's guilt is a neighbor played wonderfully by Gloria Graham. Interestingly enough, Ms. Graham often played "trashy dames" in films but this time, she sported a more conservative style of hair and makeup. She was still a bit of a Noir "dame", but definitely smart and with a lot of class.

After providing Bogart with an alibi, the two oddly fall in love. She is firmly convinced of his innocence, though it is STILL possible that Bogart did kill the girl. And, as the film unfolds and Bogey shows an amazingly volatile temper, Graham becomes afraid of him--setting up a wonderful conclusion to the film.

The best aspects of the film were the great dialog (it just sounded so gritty and cool--like a Noir flick), interesting and unique script as well as the building tension--almost like a Hitchcock film. I also liked that, for once, the film kept me guessing!
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10/10
Amazing Film With Possibly Bogart's Greatest Performance
jem13225 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This film was sold on release as 'The Bogart Suspense Picture With The Surprise Finish'. It's plot does revolve around the highly tense 'Did he really do it?' premise of a murder mystery, yet 'In A Lonely Place' is really more focused on psychology and human behaviour than anything else. The 'Who killed Mildred Atkinson- was it Dixon Steele?' angle is more of a MacGuffin in the way that it moves the plot along and gives purpose, but ultimately is of little concern to the viewer. We are more concerned with the Dixon Steele (Bogart) and Laurel Gray (Grahame) relationship, and how it has been affected.

Bogart's performance is mesmerizing; there is very little trace of acting here, it is real and he seems to drawing from demons within. It's not 'The Method', it's just sheer brilliance by an amazing film actor. Steele appears to be always on the brink, ready to boil over. Bogart conveys this expertly with his actions and mannerisms. Gloria Grahame, a truly underrated actress, is also wonderful as Laurel Gray, the woman who falls in love with Steele, but finds she can no longer trust in the course of the film's events. I will make the perhaps startling suggestion that Bogart and Grahame actually share better on-screen chemistry than Bogart and Bacall. There, I said it. It's true. It's a simmering, tender yet dangerous romance that Steele and Gray (note the surnames- an interesting likeness) experience, and Bogart and Grahame are absolutely believable in their roles.

This film is about trust, and what happens when trust is lost in a relationship. It's also about the loneliness that everyone inevitably experiences; particularly the artist, the writer, that Bogart's character is. It's about Steele's loneliness before Laurel came into his life, and how his situation will be hopeless if she leaves him or doubts him ever. Very powerful noir.

It is one of the best noirs I have ever seen, and very underrated. I notice that the TIME Magazine has included it on it's list of 100 greatest films of all time. Finally, some recognition! Ray's direction is amazing, the atmosphere is brilliantly maintained and the performances are perfect, so it puzzles me why this film is not better known (especially with Bogart's name and all). It's considered by many a Bogart fan to be the film in which he gives his best performance, so it's a must-see for all film goers. A frightening noir because of it's emphasis on human drama, 'In a Lonely Place' is right up there with 'Out Of The Past' and 'Double Indemnity'.

It's also a powerful satire and critique of show business and it's false values. Steele, the screenwriter, is the bitter outsider to the game, caustically observing the trappings of his position. One feels Bogart is drawing upon his own early struggling experiences in Hollywood when capturing the essence of Steele. Dix's dry comments to hat-check girl Mildred and his amazing bitterly earnest replies to critical film producers speak of a noir with a higher purpose than just the usual murder plot with style. This is a noir with wit, and outlook.

See It! 10/10.
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10/10
Bogie's Loner meets an emotional dead end.
theowinthrop24 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
It is rarely shown - and more's the pity for that. IN A LONELY PLACE is the forgotten great performance of Humphrey Bogart, as screenwriter and psychotic Dix Steele. Bogie had played his loner against the world in many varieties before - but his film characters had an edge to them. This was due to their cynicism (usually due to watching the realities of the world, or of actually experiencing them). At the worst he had been Fred C. Dobbs, whose gold fever greed destroys him, and almost his partner Curtin in THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRES. Yet aside from Dobbs most of his best performances were ones where the audience did sympathize with him.

IN A LONELY PLACE gives him a role that is almost as dark as Dobbsie was. Dix is one of two men who have been suspected of a brutal murder of a woman whom Dix dated. At the start of the film we are made aware that Dix is really bad tempered - he gets into a mild fender bender and almost ends up beating up the other driver. Throughout the film, the screen writer and Nicholas Ray remind us of Dix's temper - it flares up repeatedly. It even turns on his friends - Mel Lippman (his agent and friend - Art Smith) says the wrong thing, and almost gets throttled. This makes us aware of Dix possibly being the killer of the woman.

Dix meets Laurel Gray (Gloria Graham), and a hot romance develops. And we watch the film show the slow growth of fears and suspicions in Laurel regarding Dix's temper and his actual innocence, and Dix's realization that Laurel trusts him less and less. The film spirals to their final painful confrontation - and it's ironic conclusions of shattered hopes. Fred C. Dobbs may have ended up dead, but only in IN A LONELY PLACE did a Bogie character end up shattered.
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9/10
A Magnificent Movie About Trusting In and Suspicion
claudio_carvalho23 January 2004
Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart) 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 (Martha Stewart), 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 (Gloria Grahame) 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?

"In a Lonely Place" is a magnificent movie, and Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame have outstanding performances. The story is tense, with a mature love story entwined with fear and mystery, and the direction and cast are magnificent. The restored black and white cinematography is overwhelming. The conclusion is fantastic. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): 'No Silêncio da Noite' ('In the Silence of the Night')

Note: On 18 September 2016, I saw this film again.
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8/10
Fear, Futility & Shades Of Camus
seymourblack-117 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
"In A Lonely Place" is a product of a period when Hollywood was at its most introspective and fearful. Having become the focus of the House Un-American Activities Committee's witch-hunt for communists, many careers were either destroyed or threatened and the introduction of the industry's blacklist was responsible for compounding the strong feelings of bitterness and persecution which were so prevalent at that time. This movie reflects the period in which it was made by being heavily infused with these emotions and also by being inherently morose and pessimistic.

Humphrey Bogart, in one of his greatest performances, plays the part of a talented screenwriter (Dixon Steele) who's disillusioned with the industry in which he works and is also critical of the quality of many of the projects that he's invited to undertake. His bitterness and hostility often manifest themselves in violent outbursts of anger and drunken rages. This behaviour and his general inclination to be uncooperative with other people in the business, lead to him becoming alienated and out of work for long periods. He does, however, at times also display a more human side, for example with his kindness to an old, out of work, alcoholic actor with whom he is friendly.

One evening Dix meets his loyal and long suffering agent, Mel Lippman (Art Smith), at a restaurant/bar to discuss a project to write a screenplay based on a new best selling novel. Dix feels typically sceptical about the merits of the book but nevertheless, agrees to read it. The hat check girl at the establishment has read the novel and is very enthusiastic about it, describing it as an "epic". Dix takes the opportunity to invite her back to his apartment, so that she can tell him the entire story thus relieving him of the tedium of having to read it himself. She agrees and after completing the task, Dix pays her and also gives her money to get a cab to return home.

The next morning, after her dead body has been found, Dix is interviewed by the police who suspect him of murder. Fortunately, one of his neighbours, Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame) saw the young lady leaving Dix's place and is able to support his account of what happened. Dix and Laurel get to know each other and soon fall in love. This experience transforms Dix from being unmotivated and unwilling to take on work that he thinks is unworthy of his talent and he rapidly becomes very industrious and works extremely hard on his new screenplay.

Unfortunately, as their relationship develops, Laurel becomes increasingly aware of how bad tempered and jealous Dix can become and a combination of things that she's told by other people about his violent nature and also behaviour that she witnesses herself, make her start to fear him. Things get so bad that Laurel starts to use sleeping pills and when Dix proposes, she feels compelled to accept because she's so afraid of him. The means by which their relationship continues from that point leads to the movie's very unconventional denouement.

In the scene where he's interviewed by the police, Dix's reactions to the information he's given and the charges made against him are not conventional and the fact that he reacts with petulance rather than shock, horror or sympathy lead to him being seen by them as someone who's more sinister than would have been the case had he responded in the way that they would have expected. This passage of the film is interesting both because of its similarity to the predicament experienced by the main protagonist in Albert Camus' "The Stranger" (aka "The Outsider") which was published in the early 1940s and also because it provides another illustration of Dix's complexity.

Bogart is excellent in his particularly demanding role and Gloria Grahame gives a great performance in which she shows her changing feelings and increasing vulnerability in a very natural and believable manner.

"In A Lonely Place", rather like Dix himself, is less than straightforward as it initially appears to be a murder mystery but soon develops into a poignant, romantic melodrama. The complexities of its main characters and the feelings of hopelessness and futility that it conveys also make this movie very different from the mainstream dramas that audiences are more used to seeing.
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7/10
"You knew he was dynamite -- he has to explode sometimes!"
utgard144 December 2014
Humphrey Bogart plays an alcoholic screenwriter with a violent temper who's accused of murder. His alibi is pretty neighbor Gloria Grahame. The two soon become involved but Bogie's dark side leads Gloria to fear for her life. One of Bogie's best performances in one of his most challenging roles. I can't say that I prefer '50s Bogie to his '40s prime but he certainly was taking more chances as an actor. Gloria Grahame is terrific. I only knew her as Violet Bick growing up but over the years I've come to appreciate her talent in many grittier roles. This is one of the best of Bogie's later efforts. A suspenseful, edgy drama with noir touches. Really good script and fine direction. A must-see for Bogart fans.
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Worth a Closer Look
dougdoepke4 October 2013
Bogart reportedly thought the movie a failure. Certainly box-office results were dismal and Bogie's production company, Santana, lost a bundle. Hard to believe anyone thought this disturbing film with its downbeat ending would actually make money. Bogart's Dix Steel (that name should have been reconsidered) is a borderline psychopath, a Jekyll and Hyde who can boil over in an instant. He's a walking volcano whose sensitive side simply cannot contain the inner turmoil. In that day, few Hollywood egos had the assurance to take on such an unflattering role, especially the shadowy later scenes where his creviced face approaches the grotesque. It's a fine and daring performance, and the last, I believe, where Bogart plays even a semi- romantic leading man.

Good as Bogart is, this is a Gloria Graham showcase. Her droopy upper lip and pouty face never quite fit the Hollywood mold, and by decade's end, she was gone. Here, however, she's near perfect as the jaded starlet, with a questionable background and just a hint of 50's kink. Her Laurel Gray emerges as a vulnerable, yet street-wise toughie, drawing the eager Steel into a torrid affair, (only hinted at because of the production code of the day). But as his character unravels, so must hers, which it does in beautifully understated stages. Watch her quietly desperate reaction to Steel following the assault on the motorist, or her barely controlled panic at film's end. It's an award-level performance, all the better for refusing to go over the top, despite the many opportunities. Small wonder she remains an enduring noir favorite.

The mystery angle may be a clever plot device, but it's director Nicholas Ray's powerful vision that makes the film gel. A poet of post-war alienation, he's the perfect overseer of such fare, combining the elements into a grimly compelling view of human estrangement and isolation. Perhaps no director other than Elia Kazan could work with a cast as effectively as Ray. Notice how distinctively each of the supporting players is drawn, from the Shakespearean drunk to the hard-bitten maid to the lounge lizards at Romanoff's. Only the cops in routine roles seem to fade into the background. Underrated in many of Ray's best films is the scoring, and this film is no exception. George Antheil's compositions are simple yet expertly conceived, highlighting the scenes without rivaling them and lending just the right emotional tone. My one complaint: I've never understood why an industry so close to the beach couldn't film at the beach, or at least couldn't have come up with a better process shot than the one here.

Nonetheless Bogart was wrong. The film is anything but a failure. Coming from an era of happy endings, Dix and Laurel remain star-crossed lovers, doomed by their own sophistication and inner demons, for which there appears no cure. Expecting uplift, audiences of the day may not have responded, but viewers during the years between have, recognizing In a Lonely Place for the noir classic it is. This quietly disturbing portrayal of one man's inability to cope continues to resonate beyond the confines of today's slam-bang world. So whatever you do, don't miss it.
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8/10
I lived a few weeks while you loved me
ferguson-610 December 2011
Greetings again from the darkness. Just couldn't wait to see this one on the big screen for the first time. It's a mystery why this film doesn't get the same love and respect as some of the others from this era. It is one of Humphrey Bogart's finest performances and one of director Nicholas Ray's first films. It also has a terrific performance by Gloria Grahame, who most will recognize as Violet from "It's a Wonderful Life".

Andrew Solt wrote the screenplay based on the novel by Dorothy B. Huges. With numerous changes to the source material, we get Bogie in quite a unique role. He plays Dixon Steele, an aging writer accused of murder. His alibi is his beautiful new neighbor (Grahame) who may or may not be telling the truth to the police. Of course, Steele himself may or may not be telling the truth. In fact, he has such a history of flashing a violent temper, that after he punches a director, his friends just laugh it off saying "oh, that's just Dix".

The scenes with Grahame and Bogart are tremendous and we certainly see that they both have secrets, as well as difficulty in accepting happiness. Support work is provided by Frank Lovejoy as Det Brub Nicolai. His wife Sylvia is played by Jeff Donnell, who went on to a long run on General Hospital. Martha Stewart (no not that one) plays Mildred, the perky murdered girl ... well, perky before the murder. Art Smith plays Steele's long suffering agent and only true friend.

The film skirts film noir traits, but is equal parts murder mystery and tragic love story. The ending is quite different than the first one Ray filmed, but it is one of the most powerful, emotional endings we have ever received from Hollywood. Some of the behind the scenes scoop make this one even more fascinating. Ray and Grahame were still married during filming, but they no longer lived together. Their marriage ended formally soon after when Ray caught her in bed with his son. Her stepson!

If you are a Bogart fan, you need to see this one for his performance. He goes much deeper than in his earlier roles, and watching him teeter between charmer and jerk is spellbinding. His demeanor leaves us doubting not whether he is capable of murder, but rather if he committed THIS one.
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8/10
"I lived a few weeks while you loved me."
classicsoncall11 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Bogart's characterization of Dixon Steele, an erratic and violent screenwriter, builds on a role seen three years earlier in "The Two Mrs. Carroll's". In that one he was a scheming husband with a penchant for disposing of used up wives. Here however, Bogey is driven to maniacal excess that roils to a raging white heat best exemplified when he stops short of smashing a man's head in with a rock in a 1950's fit of road rage. It may be the proverbial straw that destroys the romance between Steele and Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame), a would be actress who insinuates herself into the writer's life by virtue of an alibi in the death of a young woman.

The film keeps one guessing as to Steele's guilt or innocence, but his re-creation of the murder for a detective friend and his wife only adds to the intrigue. Not to mention feigning guilt every time his agent Lippman (Art Smith) comes around. It's the bantering between the pair that keeps the film off balance in the early going and lightens the story with an air of dark comedy.

It was hard for me to warm up to the Laurel Gray character. There was always a veneer of caution and distrust about her, made more ominous by the revelation that she was on the run from a former boyfriend. In turn, her own internal warning system slipped into high gear as the film progressed, becoming increasingly wary of Steele's hot temper and growing intrusion into her life.

I'm always intrigued by the slightest of film nuances and this one offers a couple. For one, when the character of detective Brub Nicolai (Frank Lovejoy) is introduced for the first time to Laurel Gray at the police station, his boss calls him 'Nicholson'. And were you quick enough to catch Myron Healey as the uncredited postal clerk in the latter part of the movie?

Humphrey Bogart was equally at home portraying both heroes and villains, but it seems that bad guys brought out more intensity in the actor. Though not nearly as strong or well known as Bogey's A-list of films, and we all know which ones they are, "In A Lonely Place" is a strong contender to head up his second tier along with "Conflict", "The Enforcer" and "Knock On Any Door". The latter film, as this one was directed by Nicholas Ray, who achieved his seminal career work in "Rebel Without a Cause".
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