Directed by Nicholas Ray
Based on the novel In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes
Adapted and written by Andrew Solt, Edmund H. North
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy, Art Smith, Carl Benton Reid
This movie is another classic from the film-noir genre. It was directed by Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without A Cause), using the novel by Dorothy B. Hughes (Ride the Pink Horse). The adaptation was done by Edmund H. North (The Proud Ones), with Andrew Solt (Whirlpool) credited for the screenplay. The stars in this one include Humphrey Bogart (Casablanca), Gloria Grahame (The Greatest Show on Earth), and Frank Lovejoy (The Winning Team). Art Smith (Brute Force) and Carl Benton Reid (Carbine Williams) are also featured.
This story is a great example of how you should write in the film-noir genre. The characters are imperfect, as is the setting. The plot is dark, and the sexual tension is always present. Dorothy B. Hughes’ 1947 novel served as the framework for the screenplay which was adapted by Andrew Solt from the script by Edmund H. North. The film features a solid plot with a complex psychological component that amps up the suspense. Much of the success of the plot is that the twists come at just the right moments. This allows the movie to maintain a high level of suspense. This one also succeeds from the way the action plays into the psychological components of the story. The action is not excessive, but it’s always effective when used. The characters are written in the typical style of film-noir, but there are unique aspects that keep them interesting. The writing also provides great dialogue that adds to the gritty feel of the movie. Lines like “It was his story against mine, but of course, I told my story better.” are right at home throughout this one. This script did all the right things to help create another classic in the film-noir genre.
This movie features an incredible cast of stars and character actors who did excellent work with the script. Humphrey Bogart slides right into a role that seems like it was written for him. (It might have been since his company Santana Productions produced the film.) His connection with the material is evident, and this is one of the more emotionally driven performances of his career. His connection with Grahame is one of the highlights in the movie. Their moments together are a mix of sexual tension and pure drama that work wonderfully. On her own, Gloria Grahame is also great. Her performance is not typical of women in film-noir in many ways. There’s something more complex just under the surface that works nicely. Frank Lovejoy also does a good job with his role in the film. His performance is more straightforward, and helps to push the story along without feeling simplistic. Art Smith and Carl Benton Reid are just a couple more of the people who make this one work. The cast seemed to understand the subtle aspects of the script, and there isn’t a bad performance in the bunch.
This movie has all of the visual characteristics of classic film-noir. The use of light and shadow are one of the more obvious successes in this one. The camera work is solid, and the costuming and sets are perfect. Some of the visual effects definitely show the age of the film, but this doesn’t distract or take away from how good this movie really is. The movie also has a solid score that helps to match the tone of the story nicely.
If you’re a fan of films like The Maltese Falcon or Double Indemnity this is one you need to see. I would also suggest this to fans of any of the stars. This might be one of the top three performances in the career of Humphrey Bogart. Within the genre of film-noir this one definitely stands out for all the right reasons. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.