In Lonely Places

In a Lonely Place, is a dark thriller about a romance between two people who aren’t plain Joe and Jane.  Each comes from his and her own lonely place.  The find love together, but fate does them in.  He is suspected of murdering a young hat check girl, and his volatile temper and slightly paranoid personality make his new lover suspicious that perhaps, maybe, he did  do it.  She wants to marry him, but he scares her, and we really can’t blame her for feeling that way, but he’s innocent, of the murder at least.

At one point in the film, he, a screen writer, tells her that a good love scene isn’t filled with people telling one another how much they love – you should learn that by watching them.  That’s this film:  it’s a remarkably sensitive and well characterized love story… and there’s that murder and suspicion that turn it towards noir.  Some movies that are considered noir, e.g. Gilda, have a happy ending.  This film borders on noir, and finishes in a very lonely place, where only desolation and murder happen.

Bogart and Grahame are fabulous together.  I’m so used to seeing her play molls, it was a pleasure to see what else she could do.  Here they are at their happiest, before the inevitable fall.

Dixon is done in by fate, the Law, and his own weaknesses.   Earlier, he muses on where in his script to place a wonderful line he’s thought up:

I was born when she kissed me, I died when she left me, I lived a few weeks while she loved me.

The film has great lines, and isn’t afraid of poetry:  Shakespeare’s 29th sonnet figures in the action as well.  Poetry won’t save them:  Here Dixon gets ready to step out into the night, and back to that lonely place.

That redeeming phone call came a day too late…

Sing it, sister!


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