by guest writer
In A Lonely Place (1950) marked Nicholas Ray’s second collaboration with Humphrey Bogart and his production company, Santana. It’s a bleak view on Hollywood and what’s happening to people in the movie business backstage. Dixon Steele, Bogart, plays a down on his luck screenwriter with a hot temper. In fact, his multifaceted personality plays out as the movie’s background. You never know what might set Dix on fire. When a young woman offers to help him over the night explaining the plot of a book he has to consider adapting into a screenplay, the movie takes a different turn towards mystery and then again turns to the psychological side following the character’s deconstruction.
Dixon’s bursts of rage seem to have a depth that is not clear to us, the viewers, thus raising doubts about his real intentions. Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame, in one of her best performances) is his beautiful new neighbour, who bears a bruised past, but who seems to have a great influence on Dixon. An unusual film noir mainly because it focuses on the psychological part of Steele’s character and its impact upon the environment he lives in and on his life as well. Burnett Guffey’s cinematography adds to Ray’s vision of what hides behind a Hollywoodian face and his success. The film has an intelligent script and direction and the ending is what makes it even better. “I lived a few weeks when you loved me.”
photo: publicity still | Columbia Pictures & Santana Pictures