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.
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 <email@example.com>
In her essay "Humphrey and Bogey," Louise Brooks wrote that more than any other role that Humphrey Bogart played, it was the role of Dixon Steele in this movie that came closest to the real Bogart she knew. See more »
When he stands up after falling in Dixon's apartment, Charles has his jacket and tie untidy, and the top and middle buttons of his jacket are fastened. In the following shot when he is embracing Dixon, his jacket and tie are completely neat and only the top button is fastened. See more »
[on hearing a voice at the front door]
My friend Charlie, who speaks but poetry and borrows but money.
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A brave and smart twist to the "man alone" theme...
There was a brave and smart twist to the 'man alone' theme in an unusually literate thriller which isolated its ambivalent hero having conflicting feelings inside his own negative personality... This man was not physically isolated as Robert Ryan ('Inferno') had been: he was an embittered Hollywood screenwriter who needed self-discipline and trust The lonely place in which he was trapped was his own mind...
Perhaps some people thought Bogart over-acted, played the writer like a criminal aggressively apt to be easily offended... but he played his role well. No gangster this time, or cop, or private eye... He was a Hollywood screenwriterstrong, easily annoyed, depressed; his nerve-ends constantly steaming; living alone with his talent, his reputation and his typewriter; impulsive rather than strengthened by a diet of alcohol and nicotine His savage temper was uncontrollable: anything, it seemed, could explode it; and his violence was more than merely verbal
Bogart found himself capable of murder... He might have been anti-social... But the stress within him, reacting to the pressures without, built up so strongly that his rages, always near boiling point, became explosive... He hit people without good reason...
One watched the reactions of his dream girl, the beautiful blonde Gloria Grahame, and his two close friends... With them, one came to wonder if he was not really a murderer after all...
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