AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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In a Lonely Place
Director: Nicholas Ray (Dir)
Release Date:   Aug 1950
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 17 May 1950
Production Date:   25 Oct--1 Dec 1949
Duration (in mins):   92 or 95
Duration (in feet):   8,385
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Cast:   Humphrey Bogart (Dixon Steele)  
    Gloria Grahame (Laurel Gray)  
    Frank Lovejoy (Brub Nicolai)  
    Carl Benton Reid (Captain 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 (Singer)  
    Alice Talton (Frances Randolph)  
    Jack Reynolds (Henry Kesler)  
    Ruth Warren (Effie)  
    Ruth Gillette (Martha)  
    Guy Beach (Swan)  
    Lewis Howard (Junior)  
    Arno Frey (Joe)  
    Pat Barton (Hat check girl)  
    Cosmo Sardo (Bartender)  
    Don Hamin (Young driver)  
    George Davis (Waiter)  
    Frank Marlowe (Attendant)  
    Billy Gray (Young boy)  
    Melinda Erickson (Tough girl)  
    Jack Jahries (Officer)  
    David Bond (Dr. Richards)  
    Myron Healey (Post office clerk)  
    Robert Lowell (Airline clerk)  
    Robert Davis (Flower shop custodian)  
    Jack Santoro    
    Tony Layng    
    Laura Kasley Brooks    
    Evelyn Underwood    
    Hazel Boyne    
    Mike Lally    
    John Mitchum    
    Joy Hallward    
    Allen Pinson    
    Oliver Cross    
    June Vincent    
    Charles Cane    

Summary: Screenwriter Dixon Steele is known for his belligerent temper, especially when drinking. This, coupled with his refusal to work on material he dislikes, has kept Dix unemployed for a long time. After meeting his agent, Mel Lippman, at Paul's Restaurant to discuss a possible project, Dix invites Mildred Atkinson, the hat check girl, to his apartment to tell him the plot of the novel he may be assigned to adapt. Mildred dutifully relates the story, and Dix pays her and sends her off to a taxi stand. Early the next morning, Brub Nicolai, a policeman and Dix's former army buddy, takes Dix to the police station, where he learns that Mildred has been brutally murdered. When asked if anyone saw Mildred leaving his apartment, Dix mentions his new neighbor, aspiring actress Laurel Gray. Laurel confirms Dix's story, but the police are not convinced of his innocence, partly because he does not seem upset by the murder and partly because of his violent past. At Captain Lochner's instigation, Brub invites Dix to dinner. After the meal, Dix enacts his theory of how the murder was committed so realistically that he frightens Brub's wife Sylvia. Laurel and Dix later fall in love, and the contented Dix stops drinking and starts writing again. The police have not dropped their investigation of Dix, however, and summon Laurel to the station for more questioning. Laurel is convinced of Dix's innocence, even though Martha, her masseuse, tells her that Dix severely beat his former girl friend. One night, after a beach picnic with Brub and Sylvia, Dix learns that Laurel did not tell him about her second meeting with the police. Sensing Laurel's distrust, a furious Dix drives home so recklessly that he causes an accident and then beats up the other driver. Only Laurel's intervention stops Dix from hitting the driver with a rock. Gradually, Laurel begins to fear Dix's jealousy and his temper. When Dix proposes marriage, Laurel only accepts to avoid an argument with him. Determined to leave Dix, Laurel gives Mel his finished script, without his consent, hoping that if it is well received, Dix will not be as upset by her departure. During a small engagement party at Paul's, Dix angrily slaps Mel when he learns that he gave the script to the producer. Although the producer loved the script, the party is ruined. Later, Brub telephones the restaurant to tell Dix that Henry Kessler, Mildred's boyfriend, has confessed to the murder, but Dix has already left. When Dix learns that Laurel is secretly planning to leave on the day of their wedding, he starts to choke her, but is interrupted by the phone. Brub tells Laurel about Kessler's confession, but it is too late to save her relationship with Dix. 

Production Company: Santana Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Director: Nicholas Ray (Dir)
  Earl Bellamy (Asst dir)
Producer: Robert Lord (Prod)
  Henry S. Kesler (Assoc prod)
Writer: Andrew Solt (Scr)
  Edmund H. North (Adpt)
Photography: Burnett Guffey (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Robert Peterson (Art dir)
Film Editor: Viola Lawrence (Film ed)
Set Decoration: William Kiernan (Set dec)
Costumes: Jean Louis (Gowns)
Music: George Antheil (Mus score)
  Morris Stoloff (Mus dir)
Sound: Howard Fogetti (Sd eng)
Make Up: Clay Campbell (Makeup)
  Helen Hunt (Hair styles)
Production Misc: Rodney Amateau (Tech adv)
Country: United States

Songs: "I Hadn't Anyone Till You," words and music by Ray Noble.
Composer: Ray Noble
Source Text: Based on the novel In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes (New York, 1947).
Authors: Dorothy B. Hughes

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Santana Pictures, Inc. 1/8/1950 dd/mm/yyyy LP290

PCA NO: 14256
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

 
Genre: Film noir
 
Subjects (Major): Loyalty
  Motion picture actors and actresses
  Motion picture screenwriters
  Murder
  Police
  Romance
  Temper
 
Subjects (Minor): Alcoholism
  Confession (Law)
  Engagements
  Fights
  Hat check girls
  Jealousy
  Los Angeles (CA)
  Masseurs
  Regeneration
  Restaurants
  Talent agents

Note: According to a 4 Oct 1949 LAT news item, many scenes in this film were shot in Romanoff's cafĂ©, a well-known Hollywood restaurant. Modern sources, however, report that the film was largely shot on a studio sound stage, and "Paul's Restaurant" was merely "inspired" by Romanoff's. According to modern sources, Ginger Rogers was considered for the role of "Laurel Gray." During filming Nicholas Ray separated from his wife, Gloria Grahame. Ray has been quoted in modern sources as stating that if the studio had known about their separation, he would have been fired, so they kept it secret. The film depicts a realistic romance between two disillusioned people. "Dix" tells "Laurel" that his idea of two people in love is a guy cutting grapefruit and a girl, "sitting over there," half-asleep. At the end of the film "Laurel" quotes a line from his script that reveals "Dix" as a romantic: "I was born when you kissed me. I died when you left me. I lived a few weeks while you loved me." 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   20 May 1950.   
Daily Variety   17 May 50   p. 3.
Film Daily   15 May 50   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Nov 49   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   17 May 50   p. 3, 6
Los Angeles Times   4 Oct 1949.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   20 May 50   pp. 301-02.
New York Times   18 May 50   p. 37.
Variety   17 May 50   p. 6.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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