Sog.. dal romanzo omonimo di Dorothy B. Hughes. Scen.: Andrew Solt. F.: Burnett Guffey. M.: Viola Lawrence. Scgf.: Robert Peterson. Mus.: George Antheil. Int.: Humphrey Bogart (Dixon Steele), Gloria Grahame (Laurel Gray), Frank Lovejoy (Brub Nicolai), Carl Benton Reid (capitano Lochner), Jeff Donnell (Sylvia Nicolai), Martha Stewart (Mildred Atkinson), Robert Warwick (Charlie Waterman), Morris Ankrum (Lloyd Barnes), William Ching (Ted Barton), Steven Geray (Paul). Prod.: Robert Lord per Santana Pictures, Inc.. DCP. D.: 94’. Bn.
I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me.
Dixon Steele in In a Lonely Place, also quoted by The Smithereens in their song of the same name
Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame are still within easy reach of film noir in In a Lonely Place. “He was much more than an actor: he was the very image of our condition. His face was a living reproach”, said Nicholas Ray about Bogart. In a Lonely Place is a reflection of post-war fractures. The war veteran Dix Steele has returned home and failed to revive his career as a screenwriter. The mythology of love is being rewritten – and it is full of sounds of paranoia. In female Gothic, an innocent woman enters the haunted palace of a man, but it soon turns out that they are perfect strangers. For men marriage is a continuation of war by other means. In a Lonely Place was produced by Humphrey Bogart’s Santana company, and it was Bogart who selected Nicholas Ray to direct. Never has Bogart’s body language been this compelling. His star myth is debunked – and a dangerous character is revealed. The film is a diluted version of Dorothy Hughes’s novel, yet faithful to its ambivalence; it has been changed to the benefit of a more profound unrest. Although we never visit the studios, In a Lonely Place is one of the greatest tales about Hollywood. HUAC and the black list are never mentioned, but In a Lonely Place is also about them.
Edited from Peter von Bagh’s posthumous papers (2014) by Antti Alanen
Nicholas Raymond Kienzle is an auteur in the best sense of the word. All his films tell the same story: the violent man who wants to renounce violence and his relationship with a morally stronger woman. Ray’s constant hero, the bully, is a weak man-child, when he is not simply a child. He is wrapped in moral solitude, always hunted, sometimes lynched.. […]
Insofar as we can divide filmmakers into two groups, the cerebral and the instinctual, I would certainly classify Ray in the second, the school of sincerity and sensitivity. […]
Ray is a kind of Hollywood Rossellini. […] Nicholas Ray lovingly fashions pretty little objects out of Hollywood. Down with the amateur! There are no Ray films that do not have a scene at the close of day; he is the poet of nightfall, and of course everything is permitted in Hollywood except poetry. […]
One can argue against Hawks and for Ray – or the other way around; one can condemn Big Sky in the name of Johnny Guitar or accept them both. But anyone who rejects either should never go to the movies again, never see any more films. Such people will never recognize inspiration, poetic intuition, or a framed picture, a shot, an idea, a good film, or even cinema itself.
François Truffaut, The Films in My Life, Touchstone, 1985