In a Lonely Place

An aspiring actress begins to suspect that her temperamental boyfriend is a murderer.
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Credits: TheMovieDb.

Film Cast:

  • Dixon ‘Dix’ Steele: Humphrey Bogart
  • Laurel Gray: Gloria Grahame
  • Det. Sgt. Brub Nicolai: Frank Lovejoy
  • Capt. Lochner: Carl Benton Reid
  • Agent Mel Lippman: Art Smith
  • Sylvia Nicolai: Jeff Donnell
  • Mildred Atkinson: Martha Stewart
  • Charlie Waterman: Robert Warwick
  • Lloyd Barnes: Morris Ankrum
  • Ted Barton: William Ching
  • Paul the Headwaiter: Steven Geray
  • Nightclub Singer: Hadda Brooks
  • Martha the Masseuse (uncredited): Ruth Gillette
  • Prince Romanoff (uncredited): Michael Romanoff
  • Effie the Cleaning Lady (uncredited): Ruth Warren
  • Nightclub Patron: Harold Miller
  • Young Detective: James Arness
  • Actress In Convertible: June Vincent
  • Restaurant Patron: Bess Flowers

Film Crew:

  • Director: Nicholas Ray
  • Executive Producer: Humphrey Bogart
  • Director of Photography: Burnett Guffey
  • Costume Design: Jean Louis
  • Adaptation: Edmund H. North
  • Makeup Artist: Clay Campbell
  • Hairstylist: Helen Hunt
  • Editor: Viola Lawrence
  • Music Director: Morris Stoloff
  • Set Decoration: William Kiernan
  • Other: Rod Amateau
  • Producer: Robert Lord
  • Story: Dorothy B. Hughes
  • Original Music Composer: George Antheil
  • Assistant Director: Earl Bellamy
  • Associate Producer: Henry S. Kesler
  • Sound Designer: Howard Fogetti
  • Art Direction: Robert Peterson
  • Screenplay: Andrew Solt

Movie Reviews:

  • John Chard: Clinically excellent noir drama.

    Plot Summary – First Paragraph

    Screenwriter Dixon Steele is very talented, he also drinks too much and is prone to outbreaks of shocking violence. Thus the studios are reluctant to hire him, but through sheer determination, his agent manages to get him a coveted writing assignment to adapt a popular novel. The main players in the proposed picture meet up at a restaurant to talk things out, but with Dixon being Dixon it all goes wrong and violence curtails the evening. Though not really keen to read the novel he is to adapt, Dixon accepts an invitation from the hatcheck girl to read for him as it’s her favourite book, they both go to Dixon’s home and nothing untoward happens between the pair, he bids her farewell and puts out for her cab fare home. The next day the police show up at the door requesting Dixon accompany them down to the station, turns out that the poor hatcheck girl was murdered and dumped on the roadside, Dixon of course is the chief suspect. But a glint of light appears in the form of Dixon’s beautiful neighbour, Laurel Gray, who provides Dixon with a solid alibi, this sets in motion a relationship between the pair that might break or make either one of them.

    In A Lonely Place is a fabulous picture, not nominated for any academy awards (incredible in light of Bogart’s stunning portrayal as Steele), and tagged on its release as being too bleak to be a winner, it’s now rightly considered one of the best films of its type and contains some of the best work from those involved. What always amazes me with the film is how the two halves are so very riveting for different reasons. The first half we are trying to understand Steele’s conflict with himself (a wonderfully complex character), he is our sole focus of attention. Then the second half as Laurel and Dixon enter into a full blown relationship, we find ourselves in Laurel’s place, as Dixon grows ever more erratic, we join Laurel in her unease, it feels like a coiled spring waiting to unleash itself.

    It’s quite an achievement that director Nicholas Ray blends the pictures’ halves together and dabs them with darkly affecting visuals, whilst simultaneously taking us on an up and down ride as to how we feel about Dixon Steele and the girl he has clearly fallen in love with. This is not just about the actors (Gloria Grahame as Laurel is also as fabulous as Bogart is) and the director, though, a tip of the hat has to go to the source material by Dorothy Hughes and Edmund H North and the adaptation by Andrew Holt. The ending here is different to the one in the book, but personally I think this one works better because it has a quandary cloud hanging over it, not in a short changed way, but in a deeply unnerving way, the kind that sets you pondering over a cold glass of beer.

    Terrific stuff here for those willing to invest undivided time with it, a film that is now rightly revered as a classic, so just as Dixon Steele is up on that old knife edge, the makers are asking you to hop up on that edge alongside him, so do it and you wont be disappointed. 9.5/10

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