In a Lonely Place (1950)

In a Lonely Place (1950), directed by Nicholas Ray.

The story doesn't go where we expect. Bitter, dangerous screenwriter Humphrey Bogart is suspected of murder, but finding the real killer doesn't interest him, or us. When mysterious, self-contained neighbor Gloria Grahame gives him an unexpected alibi, we know they will become an item, but can't foresee that she will come to regret it.

This is sometimes described as another tale of Hollywood alienation, like Sunset Blvd. (1950), but I don't see it that way. A romance embedded in the thriller is still a romance, even if a tragic one.

Bogart -- as in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) and The Desperate Hours (1955) -- again shows that he is unafraid of playing unlikable characters. Here he is resentful and jealous and has murderous rages. Sometimes he tries to repair the damage. Women like him for some reason.

This an excellent role for Grahame: strong-minded failed actress who becomes afraid of her lover. She sleeps naked: when did that start in film? Marilyn Monroe was doing it in Niagara (1953) a few years later.

She's also regularly worked over by a muscular woman, which must mean she is both sensual and sophisticated.

I remember thinking the score was syrupy and intrusive, but wasn't bothered by it in the most recent viewing.

Nicholas Ray and Gloria Grahame were married at this time but breaking up, which he kept secret so as not to alarm the studio. One never knows the causes of marital difficulty but it is said that Ray caught her in bed with his 13-year-old son, which must have caused some stress. She later married the boy.

Criterion Blu-ray. The commentary track does rapid-fire academic speak where everything is a declaration, no questions or uncertainty.