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4.6 out of 5 stars
80
In A Lonely Place [DVD] [2003]
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on 5 July 2017
A deeply romantic noir with Bogart and Graham in fine form as the ill-starred lovers, adapted from a fine and much darker novel by Dorothy B. Hughes. Hollywood, as usual, fillets the novel, keeping the suspicion theme and the friendship with the cop, but setting it firmly in the Hollywood milieu of screen-writers, directors, producers and agents.
The novel is a disturbing portrait of a serial killer, closer in tone to Jim Thomson, where the character claims to be a writer as a cover story to explain away his lack of means of support, whereas Bogart is a successful writer with what we would refer today as 'anger management issues'. The novel roams the length and breadth of the Los Angeles area, with such geographical attention to detail that with the aid of a map it should be possible to chart his precise movements, whereas the film economically confines itself largely to his apartment complex and a celebrity restaurant.

(Spoiler follows)
Although the film changes the ending and makes him innocent, it denies him happiness and ends with a suitably despairing climax to warrant it's inclusion in the noir pantheon.
I imagined what an even better film it would have been if they had stuck to the novel but it was far too dark and despairing for Hollywood to
entertain. Bogart played mean and nasty characters at times but, such is our emotional need for reassuring archetypes, we the audience could never accept him as a serial murderer.
Rather like Cary Grant in Hitchcock's 'Suspicion' (another film adapted from an even finer novel where the ending was changed) we we can accept him as a lovable rogue but never as a murderer.
I thoroughly enjoyed both the book and the film, but rather than see the film as an adaptation I prefer to think of it more accurately as a
variation on certain themes., a life without lover
I cannot end without a special mention for the wonderfully sublime, evocative and resonant title that can variously refer to a murder scene, a life without love or the mental state of a psychopath.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 August 2016
EXCEPTIONNAL! This is a great film noir, surprising, shocking, even disturbing, with two great actors at the top of their game. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

Dixon "Dix" Steele (Humphrey Bogart) is a Hollywood screenwriter. His talent is not questioned but he is also a rather unpleasant person and has a history of antagonizing people - also, he is going through a deep depression, which put his professional life in even more trouble. His loyal agent, Mel Lippman (Art Smith), struggles more and more to find work for him.

At the beginning of the film Steele catches a break - he receives a commission to adapt a recent bestseller for a high budget movie. However, being too lazy to read the book himself he pays a girl working in the restaurant where he had his dinner, to come with him home and tell him the story, which she seems to be very familiar with. The girl, a certain Mildred Atkinson (Martha Stewart), tempted by the promise of receiving one hundred dollars, accepts. When entering the appartment Steele and Mildred say hello to the somehow arrogant woman who just moved into the same building (Gloria Grahame), then the door closes behind them... and I will say nothing more about the story. However, this being a film noir made by Nicholas Ray, you can be certain that trouble will follow...

This is a highly original, very surprising film noir, in the same time very similar to most of other movies of this genre and in the same time quite different. The scenario is very strong and the director used it with optimum efficiency. The story keeps the viewer guessing and on the edge until the final three minutes and when the dark mystery is finally solved, things get even more poignant, until the ultimate line, just before the credits.

This is one of the very best performances by Bogart. His character is totally different from his other "film noir" heroes and anti-heroes, but I will say no more, to avoid spoilers. Gloria Grahame SHINES in this film, both by beauty and by her talent, exploring all the possibilities the scenario offered to her. Actors in supporting roles are equally excellent, Martha Stewart - cute like a button by the way - very much included. Stewart didn't make much of a career, as she withdrew from acting in 1952 to devote herself to her three kids, but it seems that she and her husband had a very happy life, until his death in 1982. Remarkably, in August 2016 Martha Stewart, currently aged 93, is still with us.

Special mention goes also to Art Smith, who plays the incredibly loyal agent and Robert Warwick, who plays a washed out actor - they are Steel's very last friends...

This is a very, very good movie, harder and more difficult than many other "film noirs", but really reamarkable. I will definitely keep the DVD for another viewing. TO SEE ABSOLUTELY!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 July 2017
Mr Chapman has stolen my idea for the Headline! It's a beautiful couple of lines in a dark film. It's not the usual "film noir", in that it's more melodrama than thriller, though it does have it's moments. No, this is a character piece and Bogart gives possibly his best (or perhaps one of them) performence as a very unlikeable character, prone to violence against both men and women and generally nasty to everyone. Quite what Gloria Grahame's character sees in him I don't know, but boy does she hold her own - subtle smiles and smokey looks - sex on 2 lovely legs. The support cast don't really get a look in when these 2 are smouldering away. Nicholas Ray diercts with his usual skill and the B/W photography is first rate. Extras are Subtitles and featurettes and a trailer. Fantastic value for money but "Big Sleep" it isn't.
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on 5 January 2018
My wife and I went to see "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool", which is the sad story of Gloria Grahame's final months. I highly recommend you go see it. Having enjoyed this film so much, I was inspired to see one of Grahame's films, and the combination of Bogart and her together with a high rating for "In A Lonely Place" on Amazon prompted my purchase. We spent a happy time watching this film. I loved comparing how a film of 1950 was put together with today, and frankly, in a good film the production really stands up well. It was also good to see how the actors worked too, how they portrayed their character and moved from light to the darkness which pervades the end of the film. I could become a convert - a geek/buff even! - and start watching many more old films. So good.
In A Lonely Place [DVD] [2003]
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on 30 June 2017
Enjoyed this from start to finish, even though it is not perfect. I thought the dialogue superb and Guffey's cinematography subtly beautiful, despite this being a stagy affair, mainly taking place indoors. I was fascinated by the way the film gradually crept from a murder mystery into an investigation of how a relationship that starts well changes when it becomes clear one of the partners is psychologically unstable. A lot of people will identify with that, I suspect. Steele's mental issues are not precisely diagnosed--I assume he has been damaged by his experiences in battle. I am seeing signs of bipolarity, maybe, or manic depression--because we find Steele despondent at the beginning before he plunges into a frenzy of inspired screenwriting. Despite the fact that Bogart's personality switches seem a little overdone at time, I remind myself that people in real life sometimes do switch in jaw-dropping fashion--including the most charming of people.

The standout performance here for me is that of Gloria Grahame as Laurel Grey. I thought she was going to be a femme fatale, but she isn't: Grahame, with astonishing beauty and sincerity, is playing a woman who steps unknowingly into a relationship that will test her to her limits. She lights up the screen every moment she is on it and is a match for Bogart all the way. I did not so much enjoy the hammy character acting of some of the minor characters, such as the "Thespian", the agent, and the girl who told Steele the story at the beginning--but the Bogey-Grahame partnership is enough to make this an unmissable film for me.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 October 2013
This DVD of Nicholas Ray's classic 1950 noir In a Lonely Place is outstanding in every way. Released in the correct aspect ratio of 4:3, the transfer is truly superb, Burnett Guffey's contrasty cinematography really coming across accurately. It matches Columbia's superb transfer of Fritz Lang's The Big Heat in almost every respect. There's also an interesting extra with Curtis Hanson (director of LA Confidential) giving an introduction to the film which goes more in-depth than usual. The film itself is one of three superb noir takes on Hollywood celebrity to come out that year (the others were Mankiewicz's All About Eve and Wilder's Sunset Boulevard) which superbly dissects the situation of those who 'almost' make it. Humphrey Bogart plays Dix Steele, a down at heel writer with a booze problem and a proclivity to sudden violence. Framed for a murder, he is saved by an alibi rendered by neighbor Laurel Grey (Gloria Grahame in fine form). The only problem is she didn't actually witness anything and Dix may have done the killing. There follows a gritty love affair and a series of wonderfully scathing scenes about love, loyalty, trust and respect. Bogart and Grahame make a terrific screen partnership, but it's the very real chemistry here between the director and Bogart that really takes the eye. Bogart was really playing himself here and it's arguably his very greatest performance as a consequence. Those who think Bogart was just a bundle of mannerisms should take a look at this searingly honest portrayal of a boozy and violent man who softens for romance, but gets kicked in the teeth for his troubles. There's also the undercurrent of Ray's marriage to Grahame which was cooling off at the time. The bleak ending (improvised on set that very day) was controversial at the time, but it was one Ray, Bogart and Grahame all agreed was the most fitting. I don't need to say any more about the film. It truly deserves its place in Time magazine's top 100 and should be bought and cherished by every film lover, not just noir aficionados.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 May 2013
This is a stagey film, not always convincing but certainly watchable and interesting in that it appears to deal in a rudimentary way with what is probably post-traumatic stress disorder. Dixon Steele, played on the whole convincingly by Humphrey Bogart, is a talented screenwriter who has lost his way somewhat but is faced with a new script which may enable him to break back into the big time. A girl he meets is murdered and it is thought he may be responsible. He meets Laurel Grey (Gloria Grahame, who is very good in this film, with her sexy half-smile and her expressive eybrows) and they fall in love. But he has dark and frightening changes of mood and can clearly be dangerous when he becomes violent, as he does. The murder is almost incidental in this film. It is his relationship with Gray which is central, as, infatuated as she is by him, she becomes increasingly anxious about his dark side. We know that Steele has been a respected officer in the War, but this, we infer, has taken its toll, so that he can turn even on close friends - hard-bitten as he is, later he feels remorse and does what he can to put things right. I don't want to reveal the ending, but it is one of the film's strengths. On the other hand, some of the dialogue is clunky, there is some poor editing and a good part of the film is very obviously made on-set, which helps to account for its staginess. Bogart is always very watchable - he has terrific screen presence - but this is not his best role. There's a pretty strong supporting cast and, as I said, Gloria Grahame, whose husband, Nicholas Ray, directed the film, is very good.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 28 April 2013
Nicholas Ray didnt make happy or optimistic films, but - as the emerging French film makers of the fifties and sixties recognised - he was one of Hollywood`s most fascinating and least predictable directors. Some of his films are classics, however little known one or two still are to a mass public: The Lusty Men, Bigger Than Life, They Live By Night, On Dangerous Ground, Johnny Guitar...and of course Rebel Without a Cause.
Often they involve one person against an uncomprehending world. In a Lonely Place is one of his best, most artistically successful films, as well as one of his saddest and bleakest, though it`s not without a certain laconic humour.
Bogart (how lucky Ray was to secure the fifty-year-old actor) plays misanthropic screenwriter Dixon Steele, a tortured man as brittle as his name. The wonderful Gloria Grahame is the woman who falls for him, bringing him a certain erratic peace of mind and sense of purpose - not to mention the other less cerebral things we assume she brings with her across the small courtyard that separates them. The two strike the brightest sparks off each other since Bacall asked Bogie if he knew how to whistle. They look like they had a genuine rapport too (unlike the total lack of that commodity between him and Audrey Hepburn three years later). At the time, the director was in the last stages of his affair with Grahame, and Bogie & Bacall were friends with them, so it must have been an interesting shoot.
A murder is committed soon after the film starts, and Steele is prime suspect. He could have done it, though it seems unlikely. Trouble is, he has a violent streak, set off by the slightest thing. Gloria doesn`t know this when she meets him, but soon finds out.
Bogart was never better. He might have been perfect as Rick in Casablanca, and a fine Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, as well as finally winning an overdue Oscar for his touching Captain Queeg a year later, but this is the film that, despite playing a tense, prickly man, living on his nerves, brings out his most relaxed performance of all. As Curtis Hanson points out in the excellent extra short feature included on this DVD, he hardly appears to be acting at all.
The supporting cast are unusually good too, while Ray`s moody direction is just right, with great photography by Burnett Guffey.
It`s not quite a film noir, coming at the end of the `noir decade` but it fits into that mould, while looking forward to the more naturalistic films to come in the fifties.
Gloria Grahame was never lovelier or more credible in a part, less of the femme fatale this time, after playing so many, and Bogart finds himself, in more ways than one, in a very lonely place indeed.
An essential classic, and a great little film.
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on 6 November 2016
Bogey a murder suspect, how is this possible > well you might well believe it in this movie, Bogey plays a writer with quite sever personality issues, a sociopath in fact with an uncontrollable temper and need to control others. mainly women. some fairly contemporary issues in this movie.. A role in which Bogey doesn't look entirely comfortable. Gloria Graham is great as his alibi to the murder and his subsequent beau, Why do women fall for Bogey ? it's not like he's good looking or anything,
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on 29 April 2017
Love film noir, and Bogart one of the most fascinating actors. Particularly wanted the DVD because there is a lovely song performed by Hadda Brooks performing 'Til You'.
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