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In a Lonely Place is heartbreaking


misswonderly3
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This is, in my view, Nicholas Ray's best film. It certainly moves me more than any of his other works, almost all of which I like.

Bogart puts in a great performance as the complicated Dixon Steele. This is a man with serious " anger issues", as it would be called now. But what makes him interesting is, along with his strange flashes of deep and violent rage, he's intelligent, proud, witty, and can be, when he's not wielding a rock over someone's head, kind.

Gloria Grahame plays a very different kind of character from her usual good time girl noir roles. She's always good, I always like G.G., but in this she shows what she can do if given the right material.

 

I actually find In a Lonely Place hard to watch, because, in the truest sense of the word, it is a tragedy. Because of a serious - overwhelming, in fact- character flaw, rage (King Lear had the same problem), an otherwise good man, and his chance of happiness with a woman who's a match for him, is destroyed.

And it's all Dixon's own fault.

 

The saddest kind of movie for me is the kind in which potential happiness, almost within reach, is ruined, and by the main character's own doing.

 

Hey, speedracer, here's a great example of a character who's protagonist, antagonist, hero, and villain, all rolled into one.

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"I was born when she kissed me . . . I died when she left me . . . I lived a few weeks when she loved me."

 

Talk about a line that is both romantic and poignantly sad at the same time. Would those three sentences strung together, as written by Dixon Steele in In a Lonely Place, not qualify as a kind of fatalistic romantic poetry?

 

Bogart is mesmerizing as the screenwriter with violent rages, and I suspect that it was very close to the real man. Lauren Bacall had an incident on a yacht with Bogie in which she was frightened by a sudden inexplicable rage of his.

 

Gloria Grahame, though young when she made this film, had a lived in quality about her, so that you're not aware of the age difference between the two. She ranks, I feel, as one of the actor's greatest female co-stars based upon this one film they made together.

 

But I also suspect that Bogart's vivid characterization, brilliant as it is, must be very disturbing to those female viewers who have experienced a relationship with someone who has irrational rages that seemingly can't be controlled.

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"I was born when she kissed me . . . I died when she left me . . . I lived a few weeks when she loved me."

 

Talk about a line that is both romantic and poignantly sad at the same time. Would those three sentences strung together, as written by Dixon Steele in In a Lonely Place, not qualify as a kind of fatalistic romantic poetry?

 

Bogart is mesmerizing as the screenwriter with violent rages, and I suspect that it was very close to the real man. Lauren Bacall had an incident on a yacht with Bogie in which she was frightened by a sudden inexplicable rage of his.

 

Gloria Grahame, though young when she made this film, had a lived in quality about her, so that you're not aware of the age difference between the two. She ranks, I feel, as one of the actor's greatest female co-stars based upon this one film they made together.

 

But I also suspect that Bogart's vivid characterization, brilliant as it is, must be very disturbing to those female viewers who have experienced a relationship with someone who has irrational rages that seemingly can't be controlled.

I'll say. What an ending.

 

That thing Bogie does of holding the face of whomever he's kissing with both hands - phew, it's hot on that screen.

 

I didn't know that about Bogie having rage issues. Yes on your last sentence - I'm glad to see she didn't take him back. The shelters and cemeteries are filled with women (and children) who stupidly thought about the violent men they chose because of low self esteem: I can change him, you just watch, I can change him.

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...But I also suspect that Bogart's vivid characterization, brilliant as it is, must be very disturbing to those female viewers who have experienced a relationship with someone who has irrational rages that seemingly can't be controlled.

 

Agree with everything you said, Tom.

 

I was going to comment on how relevent this film is today, not only because it's an exceptionally good movie, which stands the test of time, but also because of the awareness we all have now of abusive relationships.

 

Although there are other pre-1960 films depicting aggressive, angry, men mistreating their wives or girlfriends, there are few that exhibit such realism, and the fear that a woman would experience in such a situation. In a Lonely Place was ahead of its time in this respect.

I should add, Laurel was not in an abusive relationship with Dixon...yet. It is her (likely justified) fear that the relationship would  become abusive at some point, were she to stay in it, that drives her decision to leave him.

And of course, we have that frightening, terrible scene at the end where Dix does indeed come very close to killing her.After that there is no question that she must leave him.

I read about the origins of this story, a novel by one Dorothy B. Hughes. It seems the novel ended differently, with Dixon actually killing Laurel, and the police arriving at his door a minute later to tell him he was cleared of the earlier murder, only to arrest him for Laurel's.

Nicholas Ray felt this ending was too tidy, too self-consciously ironic, and altered it to the ending we know in the film. I think he made a good decision, it's somehow even sadder this way. (I'm not saying it wouldn't be horribly sad if Laurel was killed...)

 

Food for thought: the woman in this story makes the best decision for herself, for her safety. She still loves Dixon, but she knows it would not be safe for her to remain with him. So many women in real life, who are with violent men who continually hurt them, remain with them, saying that despite the abuse, they still love each other.  Laurel is not one of those women.

 

We also do not know if Dixon would have continued his violent behaviour with Laurel, had she stayed with him. He's an exceptionally intelligent man who knows he has a problem, and perhaps his genuine love for Laurel may have led him to change. But Laurel cannot take that chance.

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Although there are other pre-1960 films depicting aggressive, angry, men mistreating their wives or girlfriends, there are few that exhibit such realism, and the fear that a woman would experience in such a situation. In a Lonely Place was ahead of its time in this respect.

In a Lonely Place was a 1950 release. I'm having a problem thinking of an earlier film that dealt with abusive relationships (or, at least, made that abusiveness a major part of the story line).

 

Perhaps there was some little "B" featuring Barbara Payton and Tom Neal that I don't know about.

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This is, in my view, Nicholas Ray's best film. It certainly moves me more than any of his other works, almost all of which I like.

Bogart puts in a great performance as the complicated Dixon Steele. This is a man with serious " anger issues", as it would be called now. But what makes him interesting is, along with his strange flashes of deep and violent rage, he's intelligent, proud, witty, and can be, when he's not wielding a rock over someone's head, kind.

Gloria Grahame plays a very different kind of character from her usual good time girl noir roles. She's always good, I always like G.G., but in this she shows what she can do if given the right material.

 

I actually find In a Lonely Place hard to watch, because, in the truest sense of the word, it is a tragedy. Because of a serious - overwhelming, in fact- character flaw, rage (King Lear had the same problem), an otherwise good man, and his chance of happiness with a woman who's a match for him, is destroyed.

And it's all Dixon's own fault.

 

The saddest kind of movie for me is the kind in which potential happiness, almost within reach, is ruined, and by the main character's own doing.

 

Hey, speedracer, here's a great example of a character who's protagonist, antagonist, hero, and villain, all rolled into one.

 

I really wanted to see this film.  Unfortunately, due to Dish's dispute with Turner (or vice versa), I have lost my access to TCM.  I'm hoping that the two sides can get this resolved soon.  Fortunately, most of the films scheduled during the end of this month weren't ones that I was dying to see; but I really wanted to see this one.  It's one of the few Bogart films I haven't seen.  It unfortunately, isn't available on Netflix.  Hopefully the next time this film airs, I'll have TCM again.

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speedracer, baby, I just sent you a pm. I'm sorry, I didn't realize you'd posted here.

 

FYI:  What you have said today about one of my favorite films In a Lonely Place, (and what I find to be Bogie's best performance),  is on-target and very well said.

 

Too bad speedracer had to miss the movie.

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Thanks, james.

Yes, it's a very good movie, arguably Nicholas Ray's best. It's a film that stays in your mind long after you've watched it.

 

It would be interesting to progam this along with, say The Bad and the Beautiful and maybe The Big Knife, for some kind of "Hollywood Cynicism " theme.

 

Although, really, In a Lonely Place would work almost as well in an entirely different setting, the Hollywood screenwriter aspect just adds to the atmosphere. But it's really about Dix and Laurel, and Dix's tragic character flaw.

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FYI:  What you have said today about one of my favorite films In a Lonely Place, (and what I find to be Bogie's best performance),  is on-target and very well said.

 

Too bad speedracer had to miss the movie.

 

I'm hoping that I'll be able to see it soon.  It appears that my library has access to it.  If worse comes to worse, I could request the film and have my library have it transfered from another library in my area.

 

When I was reading my Now Playing guide and saw that this film was scheduled, I circled it and was ready to DVR it... then Turner and Dish had to have their dispute... I was really looking forward to watching this film as I am a big fan of Humphrey Bogart and I had read that this was considered one of his best performances. It sounds like I missed a really good movie; so that just makes it even more disappointing.

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I'm hoping that I'll be able to see it soon.  It appears that my library has access to it.  If worse comes to worse, I could request the film and have my library have it transfered from another library in my area.

 

When I was reading my Now Playing guide and saw that this film was scheduled, I circled it and was ready to DVR it... then Turner and Dish had to have their dispute... I was really looking forward to watching this film as I am a big fan of Humphrey Bogart and I had read that this was considered one of his best performances. It sounds like I missed a really good movie; so that just makes it even more disappointing.

 

Well watch one of your Flynn DVDs.  That will cheer you up.   :)

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Well watch one of your Flynn DVDs.  That will cheer you up.   :)

Lol.  I have many too. Haha.  Right now, I'm watching 7 hours of continuous, commercial free football on NFL RedZone, so it's all good for now. 

 

I didn't know much about In a Lonely Place, except that it starred Bogart and was well acclaimed.  Now that I've just read the synopsis of it, I want to see it more.  I didn't realize that it was a) a film noir (one of my favorite genres) and B] that it dealt with the pitfalls of celebrity in the same vein as Sunset Boulevard and All About Eve. I just read that Lauren Bacall and Ginger Rogers were considered for the Gloria Grahame role.  I don't know much about Grahame, only that she married her stepson; but I think Bacall would have been a natural choice to star with Bogart and she's excellent in noir roles.  I'm not a fan of Rogers, so I'm meh about her as a subsitute. 

 

The storyline sounds very interesting.  I love noir and I find the films dealing with the effects of celebrity and Hollywood to be fascinating.  I just may need to request this film from the library.

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This is, in my view, Nicholas Ray's best film. It certainly moves me more than any of his other works, almost all of which I like.

I actually find In a Lonely Place hard to watch, because, in the truest sense of the word, it is a tragedy. Because of a serious - overwhelming, in fact- character flaw, rage, an otherwise good man, and his chance of happiness with a woman who's a match for him, is destroyed.

 

The saddest kind of movie for me is the kind in which potential happiness, almost within reach, is ruined, and by the main character's own doing.

here's a great example of a character who's protagonist, antagonist, hero, and villain, all rolled into one.

 

I love Nicolas Ray, and yet- I honestly find In a Lonely Place to be one of his most mediocre films from a technical standpoint. It's flat, the dialogue is too pat and exposition-l a d e n  in the scenes with the agents and police (none of which seem genuine);

 

it lacks the balletic form of Johnny Guitar; the dazzling camera work and pacing of They Live by Night; and the all of the above of Rebel Without a Cause- all of which (like In a Lonely Place)- have deeper meanings, a depth to their tragedy and triumph, but unlike In a Lonely Place are crafted with at least some directorial flourish. Ditto The Lusty Men and Bigger than Life.

 

In a Lonely Place - every time I see it- seems sterile; I don't buy the whole first fifteen minutes, the sets are dull, it could've used some more exterior scenes, the camera doesn't move, the cinematography isn't interesting, the supporting cast rings phony, and then there's this weird moment where Gloria Grahame's character starts to think out loud in voiceover which is then abandoned and not used again- it's just not a well put-together film in my opinion.

 

and I want to like it, I really do.

 

I will, however, say that i think Bogart is excellent in it- Oscar caliber work. Gloria Grahame is also terrific. and I like the score, and the bit about "i was born when she met me..." (or whatever) is one of THE great lines EVER.

 

But everything else? Meh.

 

forgiveness is begged, Frau Winderbar, I get that this is an important film to you (and many others.) I just don't get it.

 

ps- apparently the word "l a d e n" is banned by the Autocensor. That guy has a dirty, filthy mind.

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I love Nicolas Ray, and yet- I honestly find In a Lonely Place to be one of his most mediocre films from a technical standpoint. It's flat, the dialogue is too pat and exposition-l a d e n  in the scenes with the agents and police (none of which seem genuine);

 

it lacks the balletic form of Johnny Guitar; the dazzling camera work and pacing of They Live by Night; and the all of the above of Rebel Without a Cause- all of which (like In a Lonely Place)- have deeper meanings, a depth to their tragedy and triumph, but unlike In a Lonely Place are crafted with at least some directorial flourish. Ditto The Lusty Men and Bigger than Life.

 

In a Lonely Place - every time I see it- seems sterile; I don't buy the whole first fifteen minutes, the sets are dull, it could've used some more exterior scenes, the camera doesn't move, the cinematography isn't interesting, the supporting cast rings phony, and then there's this weird moment where Gloria Grahame's character starts to think out loud in voiceover which is then abandoned and not used again- it's just not a well put-together film in my opinion.

 

and I want to like it, I really do.

 

I will, however, say that i think Bogart is excellent in it- Oscar caliber work. Gloria Grahame is also terrific. and I like the score, and the bit about "i was born when she met me..." (or whatever) is one of THE great lines EVER.

 

But everything else? Meh.

 

forgiveness is begged, Frau Winderbar, I get that this is an important film to you (and many others.) I just don't get it.

 

ps- apparently the word "l a d e n" is banned by the Autocensor. That guy has a dirty, filthy mind.

As in, "She was l a d e n the kitchen?"

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"I was born when she kissed me . . . I died when she left me . . . I lived a few weeks when she loved me."

 

Talk about a line that is both romantic and poignantly sad at the same time. Would those three sentences strung together, as written by Dixon Steele in In a Lonely Place, not qualify as a kind of fatalistic romantic poetry?

 

Bogart is mesmerizing as the screenwriter with violent rages, and I suspect that it was very close to the real man. Lauren Bacall had an incident on a yacht with Bogie in which she was frightened by a sudden inexplicable rage of his.

 

Gloria Grahame, though young when she made this film, had a lived in quality about her, so that you're not aware of the age difference between the two. She ranks, I feel, as one of the actor's greatest female co-stars based upon this one film they made together.

 

But I also suspect that Bogart's vivid characterization, brilliant as it is, must be very disturbing to those female viewers who have experienced a relationship with someone who has irrational rages that seemingly can't be controlled.

Louise Brooks wrote that of all the characters played by Bogart, Dixon Steele was the most like him in real life.

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Wowie kazowie, Lorna, you really don't like In a Lonely Place !

 

I don't have a problem with any of your criticisms of it - that is, the aspects of the film that you criticize don't bother me at atll.

In some ways it's more like a filmed play than a more "cinematic" work (it isn't, it's based on a novel.) Most of the things about it you don't like appear to be about the visual elements of the film.

I didn't really notice those things...didn't think it was "sterile", that's for sure!

 

But I appreciate your contributing your opinion of the film, and I know we agree on other Nicholas Ray movies,,,we like them!

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Wowie kazowie, Lorna, you really don't like In a Lonely Place !

 

I don't have a problem with any of your criticisms of it - that is, the aspects of the film that you criticize don't bother me at atll.

In some ways it's more like a filmed play than a more "cinematic" work (it isn't, it's based on a novel.) Most of the things about it you don't like appear to be about the visual elements of the film.

I didn't really notice those things...didn't think it was "sterile", that's for sure!

 

But I appreciate your contributing your opinion of the film, and I know we agree on other Nicholas Ray movies,,,we like them!

 

I like how in the scene with Martha Steward (the girl that was murdered),  they film her from Bogie's POV.   The only part that was somewhat sterile were those where the captain (Reid) dominated and Gloria wasn't around.

 

Ok, it was lacking some of the standard visual noir elements but as others have pointed out the story is about inside Hollywood.  The characters are actors, screenwriters, agents,  producers, etc...   not hoods,  bartenters,  mob gals,  etc... 

 

I'm also a fan of Jeff Donnell;  a gal I wish was featured in more movies.   

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Wowie kazowie, Lorna, you really don't like In a Lonely Place !

 

I don't have a problem with any of your criticisms of it - that is, the aspects of the film that you criticize don't bother me at all.

In some ways it's more like a filmed play than a more "cinematic" work (it isn't, it's based on a novel.)

 

Oh dear. Believe it or not, I did not mean to leave that impression. There are things about the film that I don't like, and it's a film that disappoints me, one that I think could be better in a lot of ways, but I don't dislike or hate it...it's hard to categorize exactly how I feel about the film.

 

I've read the book. It was a long time ago but I did not like it. They kept the title and maybe the character names and that is about all for the film. It is not about Hollywood and may not even be set in LA. It is a grim first-person study of a serial killer- odd for its time and- some might say- its author, who was a woman. If I recall there's not much plot, it's very bleak and not very cinematic at all. 

 

I kind of wonder if the first fifteen minutes of Lonely Place wherein Bogie is assigned the hack novel to adapt and has the coat check girl fill him in on the details is a sly dismissal of the source novel.

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