In a Lonely Place (1950)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Drama, Film Noir, Crime Drama, Romantic Drama, Showbiz Drama  |   Release Date - May 17, 1950 (USA)  |   Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Lucia Bozzola

Produced by Humphrey Bogart's Santana Productions, Nicholas Ray's In a Lonely Place (1950) uses a murder mystery to delve into the questionable side of Hollywood violence and the potentially dangerous turmoil beneath Bogart's tough surface. Bogart's troubling performance as a man who seems to enjoy imagining murders of women a bit too much lends an eerie edge to his relationship with Gloria Grahame's starlet Laurel Gray, rendering Dix an all-too-believable suspect in another woman's murder. Even as Andrew Solt's screenplay suggests possible reasons for Dix's isolation and distress, it eschews pat conclusions about Dix's "artistic temperament" as a screenwriter. Ray's jittery, ominous, film noir style instead suggests that Dix's potential violence comes from within, with Hollywood as both an outlet and an excuse for lethal male fantasies. Whether seen as a reflection of Ray's then-disintegrating marriage to the put-upon Grahame or as an interrogation of Bogart's cool Philip Marlowe/Sam Spade persona, In a Lonely Place presents one of the darkest portraits of Hollywood in a period haunted by the Communist blacklist and the studios' financial uncertainty.