In a Lonely Place (1950)

Directed by Nicholas Ray, written by Andrew Solt (screenplay), Edmund H. North (adaptation), and Dorothy B. Hughes (story)

“I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me.”

A Hollywood screenwriter, bordering on washed-up, brings a check girl from a restaurant home with him to give him cliff notes on a book he doesn’t want to read. Afterward he sends her away. By 5 am the next morning, the police are at his door questioning him for the girl’s murder. The eccentric writer has a tenuous alibi from a neighbor who saw the girl leave the night before, and the two quickly form a romantic relationship while the murder investigation deepens.

This is a well-paced tragic mystery with compelling leads, including a weathered, slightly unhinged, violence-prone and hyper-intelligent Bogart and a cool, world-wise and insightful Gloria Grahame, who pulls off an amalgamation of honey and steel. In a Lonely Place is exemplary not only for noir storytelling but for the medium in general–it’s a beautiful, romantic, dark and dangerous film. Respect must be paid.

5 stars

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