In a Lonely Place – The Criterion Collection #810 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
May 1, 2016 by Dennis Amith
If you love film noir, the Criterion Collection’s release of “In a Lonely Place” is worth watching and owning. Showcasing the wonderful performance by both Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame and also fantastic direction by filmmaker Nicholas Ray, you’ll see why “In a Lonely Place” is considered a classic. Recommended!
Image courtesy of © 1950, renewed in 1977. Columbia Pictures Industries, LLC. 2016 The Criterion Collection. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: In a Lonely Place – The Criterion Collection #810
YEAR OF FILM: 1950
DURATION: 93 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:33:1 aspect ratio, Black and White, Monaural
COMPANY: Columbia Pictures/THE CRITERION COLLECTION
RELEASE DATE: May 10, 2016
Directed by Nicholas Ray
Written by Andrew Solt
Adaptation by Edmund H. North
Story by Dorothy B. Hughes
Produced by Robert Lord
Associate Producer: Henry S. Kesler
Music by George Antheil
Cinematography by Burnett Guffrey
Edited by Viola Lawrence
Art Direction by Robert Peterson
Set Decoration by William Kiernan
Costume Design by Jean Louis
Humphrey Bogart as Dixon Steel
Gloria Grahame as Laurel Gray
Frank Lovejoy as Det. Sgt. Brub Nicolai
Carl Benton Reid as Capt. Lochner
Art Smith as Agent Mel Lippman
Jeff Donnell as Sylvia Nicolai
Martha Stewart as Mildred Atkinson
Robert Warwick as Charlie Waterman
Morris Ankrum as Lloyd Barnes
William Ching as Ted Barton
Steven Geray as Paul
Hadda Brooks as Singer
When a gifted but washed-up screenwriter with a hair-trigger temper—Humphrey Bogart, in a revelatory, vulnerable performance—becomes the prime suspect in a brutal Tinseltown murder, the only person who can supply an alibi for him is a seductive neighbor (Gloria Grahame) with her own troubled past. The emotionally charged In a Lonely Place, freely adapted from a Dorothy B. Hughes thriller, is a brilliant, turbulent mix of suspenseful noir and devastating melodrama, fueled by powerhouse performances. An uncompromising tale of two people desperate to love yet struggling with their demons and each other, this is one of the greatest films of the 1950s, and a benchmark in the career of the classic Hollywood auteur Nicholas Ray.
From Nicholas Ray, the legendary filmmaker of “Rebel Without a Cause”, “Johnny Guitar”, “King of Kings” and “Bigger Than Life” is his 1950 film noir “In a Lonely Place”.
The film is an adaptation by Edmund North which is based on the novel of the same name by Dorothy B. Hughes.
The film would star Humphrey Bogart (“Casablanca”, “The Maltese Falcon”, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”, “The Big Sleep”), Gloria Grahame (“It’s a Wonderful Life”, “Oklahoma!”, “The Big Heat”), Frank Lovejoy (“The Adventures of McGraw”, “House of Wax”, “The Hitch-Hiker”), Carl Benton Reid (“The Little Foxes”, “The Great Caruso”, “Pork Chop Hill”), Art Smith (“Letter from an Unknown Woman”, “Quicksand”), Jeff Donnell (“Sweet Smell of Success”, “Tora! Tora! Tora”), Martha Stewart (“Daisy Kenyon”, “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now”, “Doll Face”) and Robert Warwick (“Sullivan’s Travels”, “The Adventures of Robin Hood”, “The Awful Truth”).
Considered as one of Humphrey Bogart’s finest performances in a film, the film has been included in top 100 lists and in 2007, was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
And now “In a Lonely Place” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of the Criterion Collection May 2016.
The film revolves around Dixon “Dix” Steele (portrayed by Humphrey Bogart), a Hollywood screenwriter who has a violent temper and has not had a hit screenplay since before the war.
While Dix is driving to meet with his agent, Mel Lippman (portrayed by Art Smith), he gets into a confrontation at the stoplight with another driver in which Dix threatens to fight the man.
As Dix and Mel meet, Mel tries to convince Dix to adapt a book for a film. Dix meets the hat-check girl, Mildred Atkinson (portrayed by Martha Stewart) and she reads his screenplay which she loves. Meanwhile, Dix has another violent outburst when a young director bad mouths Dix’s friend Charlie (portrayed by Robert Warwick), who has not had any success in a very long time and is considered a washed-up actor.
Too tired to read the novel, he invites Mildred to come home with him and read it. As the two walk towards his apartment, they pass by one of the new tenants, Laurel Gray (portrayed by Gloria Grahame). As Dix and Mildred enter his home, Dix tries to let her know that she is there to read and he’s not trying to seduce her. But as she describes the book, Dix loses interest and thinks the book is trash and tells Mildred to go home, giving her cab fare, as he is tired.
The following morning, his old army friend and currently a police detective, Brub Nicolai (portrayed by Frank Lovejoy) comes to visit and tells Dix that he needs to come downtown for questioning by Captain Lochner (portrayed by Carl Benton Reid).
They explain to Dix that Mildred, the hat-check girl was found murdered and that Dix is the subject. Meanwhile, Laurel Gray is brought in to confirm that Dix and Mildred came home together, which she confirms.
While Brub doesn’t think Dix is guilty, Captain Lochner is not put off by the fact that Dix is not showing any sadness, sympathy or emotion towards the death of Mildred. But the Captain is not aware that after the questioning, Dix anonymously sends two dozen white roses to Mildred.
When Dix goes home, he connects with Laurel and finds out that she is an aspiring actress. They eventually start to fall in love and Dix gets the passion to write the screenplay adaptation. But Laurel starts to notice Dix’s violent outbursts and starts to question her relationship with him but also wondering if he may be responsible in the murder of Mildred Atkinson.
“In a Lonely Place – The Criterion Collection #810” is presented in 1:33:1 aspect ratio in 1080p High Definition. Picture quality is fantastic, the film features great clarity, wonderful detail and sharpness.
According to the Criterion Collection, “This 2K digital transfer was created on a Spirit datacine from a new 35 mm fine grain master positive made him from the original camera negative.”
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for the lossless audio, “In a Lonely Place – The Criterion Collection #810” in LPCM 1.0 Monaural audio. The lossless soundtrack is crystal clear with no signs of major hissing, crackle or audio pops.
According to the Criterion Collection, “the original monaural soundtrack was remastered at 24 bit from the original 35 mm soundtrack negative at Chace Audio by Deluxe in Burbank, California, under the direction of Grover Crisp and Bob Simmons. Additional restoration was undertaken by the Criterion Collection using Pro Tools HD and iZotope RX 4.”
Subtitles are in English SDH.
“In a Lonely Place – The Criterion Collection #810” comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary – Featuring the audio commentary by film scholar Dana Polan.
- I’m a Stranger Here Myself: A Portrait of Nicholas Ray – (40:33) A 1975 documentary about director Nicholas Ray, presented in a slightly condensed form. Featuring interviews with Ray, filmmakers Francois Truffaut and actors Natalie Wood and John Houseman, among others.
- Gloria Grahame – (16:39) Author Vincent Curcio (“Suicide Blonde: The Life of Gloria Grahame” discusses her talents, her marriage to Nicholas Ray and her unforgettable life.
- “In a Lonely Place”: Revisited – (20:23) Filmmaker Curtis Hanson discussing “In a Lonely Place” and why its an enduring cinema classic.
- Suspense Episode 287 – (59:56) (audio) A radio adaptation of Dorothy B. Hughes novel which differs from Nicholas Ray’s film. Priginally broadcast on March 6, 1948 as part of the CBS radio series “Suspense”. Stars Robert Montgomery and Lurene Tuttle.
- Trailer – The original theatrical trailer for “In a Lonely Place”.
“In a Lonely Place – The Criterion Collection #810” comes with a six-page foldout which comes with the essay “An Epitaph For Live” by Imogen Sara Smith (author of “In Lonely Places: Film Noir Beyond the City” and “Buster Keaton: The Persistence of Comedy”).
Years after “In a Lonely Place” debuted in theaters, the film has become a film noir classic.
Beloved by classic film fans for the performances by legendary actor Humphrey Bogart and actress Gloria Grahame.
But for cineaste, many found it to be as captivating because of the director Nicholas Ray and how the two characters in the film, were inspired by the real life relationship and failed marriage between Ray and his wife, the film’s lead actress, Gloria Grahame.
A film that would make one wonder, is the character Dix innocent or is he actually guilty for murder? Known for his violent temper, the way Nicholas Ray would manage to find balance in trying to portray the character as possibly innocent and possibly worked to the film’s efficacy.
But for actress Gloria Grahame, this is probably the film that would showcase the actress in a whole new light, allowing her to be the leading lady of a screen legend but showing that she is fully capable to take on a lead role in which the character goes through many emotional highs and lows.
The film benefits from the cinematography of Burnett Guffey, for example, one scene in which Bogart describes how Mildred may have been murdered, he is able to shine a light on Bogart, making the character visually frightening as the character of Dix starts to beam during his discussion of something quite macabre.
I also have to say the film also incorporates great writing and the quotes are memorable, especially:
“I was born when you kissed me. I died when you left me. I lived a few weeks while you loved me.”
As for the Criterion Collection Blu-ray release, the film does a great job of honoring both Nicholas Ray and his return to filmmaking after leaving the industry while he was one of the most wanted directors in Hollywood but also the good times and also the troubled life of actress Gloria Grahame (and how her fourth marriage would be to her ex-husband, Nicholas Ray’s son). You also get a the radio episode from 1948 of “In a Lonely Place” included as well!
As expected from the Criterion Collection, the picture quality of the film features wonderful clarity and sharpness and a clear soundtrack. No damage and the film looks and sounds great in HD.
Overall, if you love film noir, the Criterion Collection’s release of “In a Lonely Place” is worth watching and owning. Showcasing the wonderful performance by both Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame and also fantastic direction by filmmaker Nicholas Ray, you’ll see why “In a Lonely Place” is considered a classic. Recommended!
J!-ENT has not received any compensation from the company for this post. J!-ENT has no material connection to the brands, products, or services that are mentioned in this post.
For Product Reviews:
For product reviews, J!-ENT has purchased the above product for review purposes or may have received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free by the company which in no way affects our reviews, may it be positive or negative. We only recommend products or services we have tested/reviewed and believe will be good for our readers.
Some of the links in our posts are "affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, J!-ENT will receive an affiliate commission.
J!-ENT is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”