Bogart plays Bogart
- In a Lonely Place review by RhysH
This is the finest example of Bogart playing Bogart. I note he was the producer of the film so was able to set up the perfect Bogart masterclass. He gets some great brooding scenes, some full blown scenes of anger and, of course, some witty and vitriolic one liners. Nobody smokes like Bogart complete with the picking of the stray bits of tobacco from the tongue.
The plot is quite slight, Bogart plays Dixon Steele, screenwriter and main suspect in a murder. The main investigating detective never leaves his office and the other detective invites Steele around for dinner where Bogart gives a hypnotic performance of how the murder might have been committed. The main witness for Steele's defence is Laurel Gray who lives in the apartment opposite, wonderful cantilevered support from Gloria Grahame. The two fall in love and this, of course unlocks the writer's block. There is a genuine rapport of love between the two.
And oh, the hair. The women look as if their perms have been sculptured out of marble. Even after a restless night Gloria Grahame emerges in beautiful array, make up and hair intact.
A great 1950s movie.
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Noir Curiosity (spoiler).
- In a Lonely Place review by Steve
This has a huge cult following; directed by critics' favourite Nic Ray, and with a once in a lifetime pairing of film noir superstars Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame. And it starts promisingly with Bogart under suspicion for the murder of a cocktail bar hatcheck girl, and Gloria the witness who could clear him.
But like many Ray films, after the set up, it unexpectedly becomes something else. Once Dix and Laurel fall in love, she becomes menaced by his violent jealousy. In the source novel, Dix is a serial killer and Laurel playing with fire. Maybe because of star protocol, in the film he is just responsible for an incandescent temper, probably due to PTSD after fighting in WWII.
Dix's agent tells Laurel that if she loves Dix, she has to love all of him, including his volatility... Which is bad advice! Grahame is sensational, and Bogart is impressively menacing. But he's too convincing to be forgiven when he turns out to be innocent. The only plausible conclusion was in Dorothy Hughes' book.
It's set in Hollywood. Dixon is a screenwriter and Laurel a minor actor in B films. And there is some interesting behind the scenes chat about the industry. It looks great. But it's a disappointment. Dixon is such a dreadful, overbearing nutcase that no one would go near him. It's two different films implausibly welded together. Plus points though for the great noir title.
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