Monday, March 15, 2010
In A Lonely Place(1950)
In a Lonely Place(1950) .Film noir. Director: Nicholas Ray. Cast: Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame, Produced for Bogart's Santana Productions. The script was adapted by Edmund North from the 1947 novel In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes.
Dixon Steele a screenwriter is driving to meet his agent, Mel Lippman, when you see Dixon lose his temper at a stop light. At the nightclub, Mel wants him to adapt a book for a movie. The hat-check girl, is enjoying reading the book and asks if she can finish reading it. A second argument breaks out when the director criticizes Dixon's actor friend Charlie. Soon after Dixon asks Mildred to go home with him, so he can explain the plot to her.
As they enter his apartment, they pass the new tenant, Laurel Gray. While there Mildred describes the story which confirms what he had first thought about the book. He gives her cab fare to get home.
The next morning, he is visited by an old army friend, police detective, Brub Nicholai, who takes him to the police station to be questioned by Captain Lochner. The girl was murdered during the night and Dixon is a suspect. Laurel is also brought to the police station and says she did see the girl leave Dixon's apartment alone, but Lochner is still suspicious. Dixon does not show any sympathy for the dead girl in this scene:
Capt. Lochner: You're told that the girl you were with last night was found in Benedict Canyon, murdered. Dumped from a moving car. What's your reaction? Shock? Horror? Sympathy? No - just petulance at being questioned. A couple of feeble jokes. You puzzle me, Mr. Steele.
Dixon Steele: Well, I grant you, the jokes couldn't been better, but I don't see why the rest should worry you - that is, unless you plan to arrest me on lack of emotion.
When he gets home, Dixon checks up on Laurel. They begin to fall in love. This gives Dixon what he needs to get back to writing. Dixon begins to act strangely which makes his agent and his wife Sylvia wonder if he really did kill the girl. Lochner warns Laurel about Dixon's violent temper. Dixon becomes furious when he hears of it. Will Laurel's distrust and fear of Dixon become too much for her?
For me the film Lonely Place, Bogart plays probably his darkest character in this love story. Gloria Grahame, one of the underrated actresses of the 40's and 50's, had wonderful on screen chemistry with Bogie, with a mix of violence/ tenderness. I loved the surprise ending.
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.
Lovejoy, was a narrator for the show, This Is Your FBI. He played the title character on the syndicated, The Blue Beetle during the 1940's and starred in the later crime drama series, Nightbeat in the early 1950's.
In films of the 1940's and 1950's, Lovejoy mostly played supporting roles in: Goodbye, My Fancy (1951 and The Hitchhiker (1953).
He was in several war movies: Retreat, Hell! (1952) which portrayed the United States Marine Corps' retreat from the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. In 1951, he had the title role in, I Was a Communist for the FBI.