Tuesday, December 19, 2006

In a Lonely Place

After recently watching In a Lonely Place I have made the decision to watch as many Nicholas Ray films as I can find. At only 90 minutes In a Lonely Place is a quick view, and seems even quicker that that. You have brilliant, snappy dialogue. You have great performances from Bogart and a sensational turn by Gloria Grahame. Good lord, where are Hollywood women like Gloria Grahame these days?

There is so much to love and appreciate in this movie. It starts out with Bogart almost getting in a fight at a traffic light and shortly thereafter punching out another gentleman at the bar. This is supposed to be our hero in the film, Dixon Steele. But when he is questioned as a suspect in a murder the scipt is written just well enough that we aren't entirely sure if he has done it. As a love affair grows between him and Laura (Grahame) we are seeing Steele's violent side at the same time she does. Of course, somehow you wind up rooting for Dixon and Laura to be together, but there is that overwhelming sense of doubt in the back of the mind too, or at least mine that made me wonder if that really is a good idea.

This is often classified as a film noir, but maybe not in the classic sense of a noir. For one, Grahame for as sexy, witty, and wonderful as she is, she just isn't the femme fatale in the classic sense. The film is all about Dixon attempting to beat his own ghosts. If anything she brings out the best in him. She doesn't lead him to his own darker side, he gets there well enough on his own. She's there to save him, not to destroy him. Beyond that, at moments this os just a terribly sad film. The kind that leaves you staring at the screen speechless and wishing for a different set of circumstances.

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