In a Lonely Place (1950) Angry Bogie’s Fury And An Alternative Ending

In a Lonely Place (1950) Humphrey Bogart Nicholas Ray movie poster one sheet

Before doing this blog I was blissfully unaware of Humphrey Bogart being bad! I’d only seen a handful of his movies and what with his legendary status following you around since whenever I can remember. Call me naive, I’d always thought he played good guys.  Well rogues or strong willed tough guys with a heart of gold or a cast iron moral code. Well I couldn’t have been more wrong! He was somewhat naughty in The Desperate Hours but I have to say I didn’t expect him to beat his despicable me part in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. So you see I wasn’t ready for Dixon Steele to turn up in In a Lonely Place and not reading anything about it when going in I’d expected him to be another Samuel Spade style PI.

In a Lonely Place (1950) Humphrey Bogart Dixon Steele Nicholas Ray

Dixon isn’t all bad, it’s just he can’t hold down his uncontrollable rage. When he goes, Dixon flips into a vile violent temper that bursts out in pure fury on anyone who says the wrong thing. It’s all fight with no flight or fright. It’s incredible to see and still has the power to shock after all these years. Just the opening scene at the traffic lights gives you an insight at that ready to fly road rage.

Tagline – Look Deep Into These Eyes! Is It Love, Hate Or Murder? They’re The Eyes Of Humphrey Bogart In A Lonely Place.

In a Lonely Place (1950) Humphrey Bogart smoking Gloria Grahame

Deep in his core, Dixon Steele does have a loving side. He’s romantic with neighbour Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame) and kind to his washed up old actor friend with a insatiable thirst, Charlie Waterman (Robert Warwick). Dixon is a screenwriter, once the big thing but now riding a wave of mediocre reviews and hitting a writer’s block. His loyal agent Mel Lippman (Art Smith) has faith in his friend to turn a run-of-the-mill bestselling book into a smash hit at the box office. They all hope Dix can keep his inner demons under wrap.

In a Lonely Place (1950) Humphrey Bogart Gloria Grahame Frank Lovejoy Carl Benton Reid

With the discovery of a young girls body, a well liked, friendly and joyful girl called Mildred Atkinson (Martha Stewart). Dix is called into the precinct by an old friend, police detective Brub Nicolai (Frank Lovejoy) to have a chat with Captain Lochner (Carl Benton Reid). Thing is Dixon Steele has a good alibi but he shows such a lack of empathy and heart it raises suspicions on his character.

Dixon Steele – “I was born when she kissed me, I died when she left me, I lived a few weeks while she loved me”

  • In A Lonely Place was a novel by American crime writer Dorothy B Hughes. Her story was adapted by Andrew Solt and Edmund North with Nicholas Ray taking the directors chair.
  • That opening traffic lights scene brilliantly highlights the type of character we might be getting from Dixon Steele.
  • Nicholas Ray and Gloria Grahame where married at the time but going through a rough patch. Now if this is true I couldn’t stop laughing… Apparently producer Robert Lord had a contract set up for Gloria to sign. Looking out for his investment I assume. “My husband shall be entitled to direct, control, advise, instruct, and even command my actions during the hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., every day except Sunday. I acknowledge that in every conceivable situations his will and judgment shall be considered superior to mine, and shall prevail.” and also forbidden to “nag, cajole, tease, or in any other feminine fashion seek to distract or influence him.” Hahaha I bet she let rip on Sunday and opened a can of whoop ass on him.

In a Lonely Place (1950) Gloria Grahame Laurel Gray sexy beautiful

  • Book – Well a spoiler of sorts, this is what didn’t happen in the film. So maybe don’t read if you haven’t seen it but it’s not really a spoiler. Dixon’s character sounds like it is changed quite drastically from the Dorothy B Hughes novel. Sounds like he was devoid of any redeeming qualities as he pretends to be a writer whilst getting handouts from his uncle. With his uncontrollable internal rage resulting in multiple murders challenging a very different character study of this troubled man.
  • Alternative Ending The fascinating thing I read after the film was Nicholas Ray actually changed and reshot the end scenes. With them being a vastly different to the original harder hitting end. You know what, the alternative ending, in my eyes, would of been even better. That would of been some dark ass shit! You can read about it on the background section on Wikipedia. Does anyone know if that original ending still exists?

Within the few years of doing this movie blog I’ve made sure I manage to watch a bogie film at least every few months. Slowly but surely working my way through his filmography. I have a long way to go but there’s no rush. Saying that, I watched They Drive by Night last night and that will be my next post, pop back to see what I thought of that.

Thanks for visiting my humble little movie blog. Have a great weekend… Mikey Wolf

13 thoughts on “In a Lonely Place (1950) Angry Bogie’s Fury And An Alternative Ending

  1. Love it Mikey. Well done. Fantastic Flick. But seriously, what would you expect from Nick Ray, Bogart and Gloria Grahame? This is one of my favorite Bogart movies and, I’m even a bigger fan of Gloria Grahame. She was an extremely versatile actor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If I’m honest Gloria has only appeared on my radar in the last year or so. It’s so nice to spot an actor in a standout performance and then start spotting them popping up on your movie journeys. One of the big joys of this hobby. I’ve still many of her films to see and I can’t wait.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Another Bogie titled checked off! Congrads. Good one too. Love that Gloria Graham trivia bit. I’ll be reading that one to wifey just to get her goat. I just watched another Ray film again, On Dangerous Ground for an article I’m handing in this weekend for Noir mag. Highly recommended with Robert Ryan. But then maybe you’ve seen it already as I know you went on a Ryan run. Also recently taped a movie about Gloria’s life I need to get too. Starred Annette Bening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha yes I’m tempted to print one of those contracts too. Get some ear muffs for Sundays lol…. Yes you remembered right I did hit On Dangerous Ground when I went Ryan crazy. Superb film. Actually I didn’t put two and two together but Ryan and Dixon Steele both have that crazed anger. I didn’t get round to a post in the end but remember loving the beginning tough deranged cop bit and that brilliant chase/hunt with the Dad as they ran across fields. It did mellow some at the end but then there was sweet Ida.
      “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool” sounds great. I just read a quick bio on her, oh man the scandal with Ray! I never knew. Kinda refreshing to see the stars were just as crazy back then as they are today!


  3. Great review! I definitely have to track this film down!

    And boy oh boy, I know things were different back then, but Gloria should have torn that contract to shreds! What a load of controlling nonsense – I sure hope she DID open up a can of whoop ass on him on Sundays, it sounds like he deserved it for that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds like they were all bonkers tbh, rumours has it that Gloria was sleeping with his 13 year son! It’s either more depressing or a little comforting to realise that the stars back then were all just as messed up and crazy as they are now. Just in the last few days I read crazy things about her, Gig Young and Lana Turner. Always very entertaining 🙂 .


        • She did go on to married his son in the end.
          I always read the trivia after I watch a film or read up on an actor I didn’t know. Was shocked to read Gig was super depressed and shot and killed his 5th wife who was more than half his age. Though the “murder-suicide” remains unclear!
          And Lana Turner married 8 times plus started a turbulent affair with a gangster called Johnny Stompanato. (He is said to have pulled a gun on Sean Connery on set but tough Sean still managed to sort him out)… Later on the gangster was threatening Lana and her 14 year daughter stepped in and stabbed him to death. Sometimes the trivia is just as exciting as the films!!! Crazy stuff.


  4. Great review Mike 🙂 Although Humphrey Bogart had showed an even darker-than-dark side before in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, his character in In a Lonely Place makes Fred C. Dobbs look like Sam Spade by comparison. I mean this guy is vulnerable in the way that he lets his short temper take over. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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