I keep a close look at what new Blu-ray releases come out both here in the UK and also the US. One that instantly stood out was the Humphrey Bogart film In A Lonely Place released by The Criterion Collection. Here’s my In A Lonely Place Blu-ray review.
To be honest I’d never seen it before but as it stars Bogart and is from the film noir genre it sounded intriguing, I just had to take a look.
If you happen to live in America then you will no doubt be familiar with Blu-ray releases from The Criterion Collection and it’s great that they have released this lesser known Bogart classic which has had a full 2K restoration.
Now as someone who resides in the UK I hope the rest of The Criterion Collection will receive a UK release soon.
- In A Lonely Place (1950)
- Genre: Film Noir
- Directed By Nicholas Ray
- Written By: Based On The Novel By Dorothy B Hughes / Screenplay By Edmund H. North & Andrew Solt
- Music By: George Antheil
- Blu-ray Region: Region B (UK)
- Released By: The Criterion Collection
- Starring Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy, Carl Benton Reid, Art Smith
The film is about Dixon Steele aka Dix (Humphrey Bogart) who is a Hollywood screenwriter. With his last film being considered a flop he is looking for inspiration for his next project.
His agent points him toward a novel and asks him to read it with view to writing the screenplay. The first thing to say is Dix is not the easiest person to deal with. For one thing he has a very short fuse as we discover in the opening titles when he has a run in with a fellow motorist.
So he is hanging out with other film writers at a bar but his agent wants him to read this book, Dix is not really interested. He is in luck however as the hat-check girl, Mildred Atkinson is reading it. He simply asks her to come back to his place and explain the plot to him.
They arrive back at his home and briefly meet one of Dix’s neighbours Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame).
With Dix now familiar with the book he asks Mildred Atkinson to leave giving her some money to go and find a cab.
Note he does not call her a cab he simply gives her some money and ushers her out of the door.
This is where the film really starts as the next thing we see is Dix being woken up by a 5am knock at the door by the police. Mildred Atkinson has been found murdered and Dixon Steele is the prime suspect.
He is however in luck as his neighbour Laurel Gray seems to back his story up about Mildred Atkinson leaving around 12.30am.
What follows is an intense fast paced love affair between Dixon Steele and Laurel Gray. They are seemingly made for each other. Their dialogue is witty and absolutely fabulous as is their witty interplay, Dix has finally found his perfect match or has he?
Maybe Laurel Gray is the one to help him keep a lid on that short temper of his, but let’s not forget he is still in the frame for the murder of Mildred Atkinson.
With Dix in love he begins to write he has found his passion, he is reinvigorated what could possibly go wrong?
Did he kill Mildred Atkinson? Will his new screenplay be well received? For the answers to these questions you will need to watch the film.
At the heart of this film we have two key players, Dixon Steele (Bogart) and Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame) and in order for it to really work they need to put in good performances.
Bogart originally wanted Lauren Bacall to play Laurel Gray but I believe she was under contract and unavailable so Gloria Grahame was cast instead. Who knows how it would of turned out if Bacall had of been free to take up the role and I guess we will never know.
But here’s the good thing I don’t need to know. The reason being, Gloria Grahame is simply amazing in the role and is Bogart’s perfect match. They bounce of each other better then you could ever imagine. I’m pretty sure director Nicholas Ray must have known he was on to something special with these two.
Gloria Grahame is both beautiful and captivating, she delivers witty dialogue in a role that is seemingly made for her. I was really blown away by both lead performances.
The film shows the different sides to Dixon Steele’s personality one minute his is about to punch someone’s head in and the next he is full of the joys of being in love, finally finding his perfect match. Those moments can’t last as we see Bogart’s acting put to the test as Dix becomes a paranoid and broken man. A truly outstanding performance.
Style / Direction
One odd feature with this film is the fact that none of the characters are really that concerned about the murdered woman Mildred Atkinson. You will understand why it is done the way it is when you see the film. This is Dixon Steele’s story!
It should be noted the novel the film is based on is just that, based on. It is in many ways very different, many things have been changed. The main emphasis and point of view have been changed as has the ending. I can’t say too much without spoiling the film.
Director Nicholas Ray should be given a huge amount of credit for directing a stylish looking film. The use of the light in Bogart’s face really helps convey his emotions. Pacing is just about perfect as we learn more about what makes Dixon Steele tick. The tension increases as he begins to lose it emotionally.
Most of the film takes place around a small square courtyard in which apartments surround. It has that Rear Window feel going on, where one person can look into another’s apartment.
It’s all really well done too.
Conclusion: In A Lonely Place (1950) Film Review
In A Lonely Place maybe one of the lesser known Bogart films, but really is an outstanding one. Bogart and Grahame simply sizzle with chemistry!
It’s the first time I have ever seen this film and I can think of nothing negative to write.
With its recent UK release on Blu-ray I think this is one film you should take a closer look at.
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Conclusion: In A Lonely Place Blu-ray Review
In A Lonely Place Blu-ray Review – How did the Blu-ray version turn out?
The film has had a 2K restoration and the picture quality is flawless as is the audio. It really is a joy watching these classic films when they have been restored to this level.
No speckles or flickers of dirt found.
Let’s hope more classics come to the UK from The Criterion Collection and with same level of restoration.
The only downside The Criterion Collection Blu-rays are more expensive but for any film fan / buff it’s well worth it as long as restorations are of this level.
Blu-ray extras include a few documentaries. The Gloria Grahame and In A Lonely Place Revisited being the ones of particularly interest.
Now to my movie rating for In A Lonely Place Blu-ray (1950)
- Movie Rating: RECOMMENDED / MUST SEE
- Blu-ray: OUTSTANDING
- Extras: EXCELLENT
In A Lonely Place (1950) is available now on Blu-ray from Amazon.co.uk
For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster with trailer…
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In A Lonely Place Blu-ray Review
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Summary: In A Lonely Place (1950) Blu-ray Review
Movie title: In A Lonely Place (1950)
Duration: 93 mins
Director(s): Nicholas Ray
Actor(s): Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy, Carl Benton Reid
Genre: Film Noir
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Rating
In A Lonely Place sees Bogart play a violent, vulnerable and paranoid Hollywood screenwriter accused of murder. A must see & must own film on Blu-ray for Bogart fans.