and a State of Mind
Are the loneliest places of our own creation? In a Lonely Place explores this question with classic noir style. Dixon Steele, played by Humphrey Bogart, is a Hollywood screenwriter who hasn’t written a hit in a while. This artistic slump can be viewed as the result of choices Dix has made, choices that have not only prevented Dix from writing but have also created both a mental and physical world of loneliness.
As the movie opens we meet Dixon Steele and find a man on edge, a man ready to fight, and a man who lives a lonely sort of life. As the movie progresses we get to know Dix and learn he is man who drinks too much, a man who chooses not to address his anger issues, and a man who is more concerned with his pursuit of fame than developing a healthy relationship. This last point is foreshadowed early in the movie when Dix says, “There is no sacrifice too great for a chance at immortality.” Under the direction of Nicholas Ray, Bogart’s Dixon Steele is a classic noir protagonist. He is man who is flawed from the first frame to the last. Dixon Steele is a man whose choices (both knowingly and unknowingly) create a world of loneliness and fatalism that he cannot escape.
Nicholas Ray’s direction creates an atmosphere of loneliness, not only for the protagonist but for those who enter his life as well. Bogart’s portrayal of Dixon Steele, the lonely writer, is incredible. The story is a study of loneliness and its impact on those it touches. Whether you are a fan of noir movies, Humphrey Bogart, the psychology of loneliness, or any combination of the three In a Lonely Place is worth a watch.
In a Lonely Place (1950) starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame. Directed by Nicholas Ray.