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In a Lonely Place (1950)

Not Rated | | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery | August 1950 (USA)
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A potentially violent screenwriter is a murder suspect until his lovely neighbor clears him. But she begins to have doubts.

Director:

Nicholas Ray

Writers:

Andrew Solt (screenplay), Edmund H. North (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Humphrey Bogart ... Dixon Steele
Gloria Grahame ... Laurel Gray
Frank Lovejoy ... Brub Nicolai
Carl Benton Reid ... Capt. Lochner
Art Smith ... Mel Lippman
Jeff Donnell ... Sylvia Nicolai
Martha Stewart ... Mildred Atkinson
Robert Warwick ... Charlie Waterman
Morris Ankrum ... Lloyd Barnes
William Ching ... Ted Barton
Steven Geray ... Paul
Hadda Brooks Hadda Brooks ... Singer
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Suspense! Intrigue! Suspicion! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

August 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Behind the Mask See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,375,000, 31 December 1950
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

As Steele and Mildred walk through the gate of his apartment building, she has only her purse, hanging from her arm. When they enter the courtyard after passing through the gate, she is clutching both her purse and the book, tucked in the crook of her arm. See more »

Quotes

Laurel Gray: [entering kitchen as Dix is sectioning a grapefruit] What happened to the grapefruit knife?
Dixon Steele: It was crooked and I straightened it.
Laurel Gray: Fool, it's supposed to be curved!
Dixon Steele: What? Wonder what they'll think of next!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Girl on the Late, Late Show (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

I Hadn't Anyone Till You
(uncredited)
Written by Ray Noble
Performed by Hadda Brooks
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of Bogart's most complex roles
2 January 2010 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

This was a very interesting role for Humphrey Bogart, and was a bit of a production code buster on several levels.

Bogart plays Hollywood screenwriter Dixon Steele, who is in somewhat of a writing rut. He also has a quick temper and a paranoia complex. He picks fights with people over the most routine matters and these fights commonly come to blows. He is indeed "in a lonely place" of his own making. Steele has a chance to write a screenplay based on a book, but the author wants him to read the book and give him his opinion in just a matter of a few days. At the restaurant where Steele has talked with the author, the hat check girl says she has just read the book and loves it. Steele invites her to come over to his apartment and tell him about the book to save him the trouble of reading it. This is all very innocent in what Steele intends and in what actually happens. In fact, Steele's reaction, unseen and unheard by the hat check girl, to her semi-literate oral book report is wickedly funny. This shows us Steele's charming and funny side. After the girl tells her story, she leaves. Neighbor Laurel Grey (Gloria Grahame) sees her leave. However, the next day, the girl's strangled body is found next to a road. The police quickly find their way back to Steele's place where, due to his violent past and nonchalant reaction to the murder, he is under immediate suspicion. He finds an alibi in his neighbor Laurel, and this is how they formally meet.

Almost immediately the two begin a relationship that gets serious fast. Laurel finds Steele attentive and interesting. Thus at first Laurel thinks Steele is innocent of the murder, but one by one her doubts grow. Steele explodes over little things, even eventually punching out his own agent over nothing. In fact, Steele's agent is his only real friend and actually is a bit of an enabler for his bad behavior. You always see Steele show his idea of remorse for his actions, even anonymously sending money to a guy he has beaten up over a traffic accident. However, the question that is left to be answered is - exactly what is going on with this guy? Could he have stalked and killed the girl over his anger at something else or someone else entirely? And if he didn't kill the hat check girl, will he eventually kill someone else? Laurel is asking these same questions as she begins to wonder - is it more dangerous to try and run away from Steele, or is it more dangerous to stay? One should never consider saying "yes" to a marriage proposal if it comes down to what is less dangerous.

Laurel is not exactly a finished book herself. Apparently she had a serious relationship with a well-off man just prior to this, and ended it for really no tangible reason. Then there is a kind of gay subtext going on between herself and her masseuse, Martha. They only have one scene together but it certainly throws out more questions than answers, just like the rest of this film.

If you like noir, if you like Bogart, if you like being challenged, watch this film.


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