In a Lonely Place

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One of those movies that both the IMDB and Tomatometer viewers agree that I'll love, and I failed miserably at loving it. Even though it has the immortal Humphrey Bogart and the great Gloria Grahame. Even though it's directed by the legendary Nicholas Ray.

Bogie plays Dixon Steele, a Hollywood screenwriter teetering on the edge of has-been. He's offered a job writing a screenplay based on a popular novel he views as dreadful. Fortunately, Mildred, the coat-check girl at his local watering hole, has read the book and loves it. So he manages to take her home, where she deliriously summarizes the plot for him. No hanky-panky involved: Steele (apparently) sends her off with cab fare.

Unfortunately, the next day Mildred turns up as a murder victim. Steele's only alibi is provided by Laurel, his neighbor (the previously mentioned Ms. Grahame). And then Dixon and Laurel fall in love. But the cops are unconvinced of Dixon's innocence.

Which relates to why I didn't like the movie much: Dixon is a major jerk. His personality is abrasive, he seems to get off by imagining how Mildred was killed, he's got a bad temper and a paranoid streak, and he's prone to violence. It's not hard to imagine that he might have killed Mildred—but did he? No spoilers here.

It's not impossible for me to like a movie with such a totally unsympathetic protagonist, but this one didn't make it.

Last Modified 2012-09-29 6:47 AM EST