In a Lonely Place (1950)

“I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me.” Intriguing film noir directed by Nicholas Ray and loosely based on a 1947 novel of the same name by Dorothy B. Hughes that features one of Humphrey Bogart’s finest performances as hot-tempered, self-destructive Hollywood screenwriter “Dix Steele,” a prime suspect in the murder of “Mildred Atkinson” (Martha Stewart), a hat-check girl who Steele had invited over to his apartment to synopsize a bestselling novel for him. However, Steele’s neighbor “Laurel Gray” (Gloria Grahame, who was married to Ray at the time) provides him with an alibi that leads to a turbulent relationship. After witnessing several of Steele’s explosively violent outbursts (for example, he nearly beats a young UCLA football star to death during a fit of road rage), Gray begins to doubt Steele’s innocence and fear for her own life. In a Lonely Place was billed as “The Bogart Suspense Picture with the Surprise Finish!” The excellent supporting cast includes Art Smith as Steele’s agent “Mel Lippman,” Frank Lovejoy as police detective “Brub Nicolai,” Carl Benton Reid as “Captain Lochner” and Robert Warwick as Steele’s booze-addled buddy and washed-up actor “Charlie Waterman.” Also look for “Queen of the Boogie” Hadda Brooks singing “I Hadn’t Anyone Till You” in a nightclub scene. In her excellent essay titled Humphrey & Bogey, actress Louise Brooks writes, “In a Lonely Place gave [Bogart] a role that he could play with complexity because the film character’s, the screenwriter’s, pride in his art, his selfishness, his drunkenness, his lack of energy stabbed with lightning strokes of violence, were shared equally by the real Bogart.” The film was made by Santana Productions, which was formed by Bogart in 1947 and named after his beloved yacht.

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