Nicholas Ray

T. it.: Il diritto di uccidere o Paura senza perché <Sc.: Andrew Solt, dal romanzo omonimo (1947) di Dorothy B. Hughes, adattamento di Edmund H. North. F.: Burnett Guffey. Mu.: George Antheil. M.: Viola Lawrence. Scgf.: Robert Peterson. Cost.: Jean Louis. Op.: Gert Anderson. Ass.R.: Earl Bellamy. Cast: Humphrey Bogart (Dixon Steele), Gloria Grahame (Laurel Gray), Frank Lovejoy (Brub Nicolai), Carl Benton Reid (capitano Lochner), Art Smith (Mel Lippman), Jeff Donnell (Sylvia Nicolai), Martha Stewart (Mildred Atkinson), Robert Warwick (Charlie Waterman), Morris Ankrum (Lloyd Barnes), William Ching (Ted Barton), Steven Geray (Paul), Hadda Brooks (cantante), Alice Talton (Frances Randolph), Jack Reynolds (henry Kesler), Ruth Warren (Effie), Ruth Gillette (Martha), Guy L. Beach (Mr Swan), Lewis Howard (Junior), Robert A. Davis (spazzino). Prod.: Robert Lord per Santana; 35mm. D.: 94’ a 24 f/s. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

In August of 1950, the third Santana film, In a Lonely Place, was distributed, a film which would be counted among Bogart’s masterpieces. This too was directed by Nicholas Ray, but with a much greater commitment and sensitivity, giving the right sort of depth to this investigation on the violence contained in the plot. In truth, In a Lonely Place is Bogart’s only film that succeeds in getting close enough to the heart of the issue, which for the first time manages to break out of the restrictive conventions of the gangster genre. Bogart plays the role of Dixon Steele, a Hollywood screenwriter, once successful but currently unemployed and having a very hard time, due to both the contempt he holds for the values of the celluloid world, and the bad reputation he has gained with his sudden and dangerous fits of anger. […] This is the dark side, the negative equivalent of the emotional reticence of Sam Spade or of the obstinate neutrality of Rick. There is no latent heroism here, ready to triumph as soon as a nice girl or a difficult situation comes into play. This is authentic depravation, violence at its purest. It makes you wonder how much it holds true for Bogart the man, since the actor is too good at playing Steele, and since, as Raymond Chandler once said, «Bogart is always good at playing Bogart». […] «I took the gun out of Bogart’s hands», Nick Ray commented in regard to In a Lonely Place, thus lengthening the list of writers and directors who claim to have revolutionized his career. However, it may just be true that only he took the gun out of Bogart’s hands, and he let him make a good film. In any case, Warner Brothers didn’t waste a second to put the gun back in his hands, casting him in The Enforcer.

Jonathan Coe

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Restored in 2001 by Sony Columbia