Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

IN A LONELY PLACE


IN A LONELY PLACE (1950). Director: Nicholas Ray.

"I said I liked it. I didn't say I wanted to kiss it." -- Laurel referring to Steel's face when he tries to kiss her.

Screenwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart) is the primary suspect when a pretty hat check girl, Mildred (Martha Stewart) ,who tells him the plot of a novel at his home, is brutally murdered. Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame) is a neighbor who becomes involved with Steele and is troubled by his temper and all the rumors. Did he do it or didn't he? Frank Lovejoy is the detective on the case. There's a nice score by George Antheil, and the film is well photographed by Burnett Guffey. The acting is good -- Martha Stewart is especially effective -- but the problem with the movie is that the lead character is so repellent. Very good, uncompromising ending, however. An uncredited Alix Talton of Deadly Mantis plays Fran, a friend of Dixon's, and Morris Ankrum of The Giant Claw and Steven Geray are also in the cast. Martha Stewart was attractive and talented but her career petered out by 1964 with only a short list of credits.

Verdict: Holds the attention, has interesting aspects, but one suspects there's less here than meets the eye. **1/2.

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