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In a Lonely Place

(1950 b 93')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Based on a novel by Dorothy B. Hughes, a screenwriter with a violent temper falls in love with his neighbor while he is under suspicion for a murder.

         Screenwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart) has a tendency to get angry and start fights. He asks the hat-check girl Mildred Atkinson (Martha Stewart) to come to his apartment and tell him the story of a novel he is to adapt. Dixon does not like the story and gives her taxi fare.

         Beverly Hills police detective Brub Nicolai (Frank Lovejoy) calls on Dixon at 5 a.m. to take him in for questioning. Captain Lochner (Carl Benton Reid) tells Dixon that Mildred was murdered. Laura Gray (Gloria Grahame) is brought in and says she saw Dixon next door. Dixon sends flowers for Mildred.

         Mel Lippman (Art Smith) asks Dixon what happened and says Laura is an actress. Captain Lochner reads reports of Dixon’s fights. Laura asks Dixon to keep her name out of the papers. He flirts with her, but she declines dinner.

         Brub and his wife Sylvia (Jeff Donnell) have Dixon over for dinner. He offers to help solve the murder and has them act it out. Sylvia tells Brub that Dixon is sick, but he defends his friend. Dixon calls on Laura and kisses her.

         Laura finds Mel spying on Dixon and her. Dixon has been writing. The alcoholic actor Charlie Waterman (Robert Warwick) comes in. Dixon goes to bed, and Laura gives Charlie money.

         Captain Lochner questions Laura, who admits she is in love with Dixon. He tells her that Dixon is violent. Dixon and Laura leave a nightclub when a detective comes in. Martha gives Laura a massage and warns her about Dixon.

         At the beach with the Nicolais, Dixon learns that Laura saw Captain Lochner. Dixon gets angry and drives off with Laura. He hits another car and fights with the driver, knocking him out. Laura calms him down, and he lets her drive. Dixon sends $300 to the victim. Dixon sees Brub and meets Mildred’s boyfriend Henry Kesler. Laura goes to see Sylvia, who suggests she go away for awhile.

         Laura has trouble sleeping, and the cleaning lady Effie tells Dixon that Laura takes sleeping pills. Dixon asks her about them and proposes marriage. She says yes, and he goes out. Mel gets the news; but Laura cries and says she won’t marry Dixon because she is afraid of him. Mel takes his script so that Dixon will have success. Laura calls for a plane reservation to New York.

         Dixon comes back and takes Laura to buy a ring. At a restaurant Dixon learns that Mel took the script to the producer. Mel says Dixon did not follow the book. Martha calls, and Dixon slaps Mel. Lloyd Barnes tells Dixon the producer likes the script. Dixon is reconciled with his agent Mel.

         Brub tries to call Dixon to tell him that Kesler confessed. Laura refuses to let Dixon in at first. He apologizes and asks where her ring is. She hides a note. He answers the phone and learns she is flying to New York. Brub calls and tells Dixon of the confession. Captain Lochner apologizes to Laura, who says it is too late.

         This drama portrays a high-strung writer who lets his “artistic temperament” express as violent anger. His failure to control his rage gets him into trouble and costs him what could have been a fine relationship.

Copyright © 2007 by Sanderson Beck

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