New York-based cinephiles, take note: In a Lonely Place, starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame, opens Friday at the Film Forum for a nine-day run. Nicholas Ray’s 1950 study of an angry screenwriter suspected of murder is widely ranked next to Jacques Tourneur’s Out of the Past as the quintessential film noir, a judgment in which I wholeheartedly concur.
David Thomson, among countless other critics, is a great admirer of In a Lonely Place:
Like any American director, [Ray] had to accept some routine assignments, but in the next few years he added these marvels to his list: In a Lonely Place (with Humphrey Bogart playing an embittered and potentially violent Hollywood screenwriter); On Dangerous Ground (which has Robert Ryan as a brutal cop); and The Lusty Men (where Robert Mitchum is a rodeo veteran who agrees to train the young Arthur Kennedy, but falls in love with his wife Susan Hayward).
None of those films did especially well. They were all black and white. But they are filled with anguish and ecstasy and a kind of framing and lighting and camera movement that steadily deepens the routine script material. In a Lonely Place is less showy than Sunset Boulevard, but it is the truer portrait of Hollywood compromise and hypocrisy….
Certainly it’s the greatest performance that Bogart ever gave in front of a camera, and if you’ve never seen it in a theater, I strongly recommend that you make every effort to do so now. Book your tickets now–I’ll be very surprised if this one doesn’t sell out.
For more information, go here.
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The theatrical trailer for In a Lonely Place. The singer performing “I Hadn’t Anyone Till You” is Hadda Brooks: