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>
Though the title and characters are based on Dorothy B. Hughes's novel, the biggest difference between book and movie is that in the movie Dixon Steele, though violent, is only accused of being a murderer while in the book he is a serial killer and rapist. Director Nicholas Ray claimed that he made the change because he was "more interested in doing a film about the violence in all of us, rather than a mass murder film or one about a psychotic." Hughes was never bothered by the changes from her novel and praised Gloria Grahame's performance. See more »
When Dixon and Laurel are in the car, the window glass of his left hand-side is up. But after he stops the car, in the shots from the left, the window glass disappears. See more »
It's much easier to get people's names into the papers than to keep them out.
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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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