A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.
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? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Edmund H. North adapted the story, he stuck close to the original source and John Derek was considered for the role of Dix because in the novel he was much younger. North's treatment was not used, and Andrew Solt developed the screenplay with regular input from producer Robert Lord and director Nicholas Ray, and the end result is far different from the source novel. Solt claimed that Humphrey Bogart loved the script so much that he wanted to make it without revisions - Solt retains that the final cut is very close to his script - but further research shows that Ray made regular re-writes, some added on the day of shooting. In fact, only 4 pages of the 140 page script had no revisions. See more »
In the bar, while Dixon orders the drinks, Mel puts his right hand on his left one, resting on the counter. In the subsequent shot he has his arms crossed. See more »
Why didn't you call for a cab? Isn't that what a gentleman usually does under the circumstances?
Oh I didn't say I was a gentleman. I said I was tired.
See more »
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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