In a Lonely Place (1950)

++Tonight Wonders in the Dark has posted #30 in its Romantic Countdown, a doubtless jejune piece by me on one of my favorite films noirs: Nick Ray’s In a Lonely Place (1950). This is my last contribution to WitD’s very distinguished compilation, although obviously I’ll be posting weekly sets of links to the new essays as the Countdown keeps on, well, counting down.

Thank you for having me, guys’n’gals.

Wonders in the Dark


by John Grant

US / 93 minutes / bw / Santana, Columbia Dir: Nicholas Ray Pr: Robert Lord Scr: Edmund H. North, Andrew Solt Story:In a Lonely Place (1947) by Dorothy B. Hughes Cine: Burnett Guffey Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy, Carl Benton Reid, Art Smith, Jeff Donnell, Martha Stewart, Robert Warwick, Morris Ankrum, William Ching, Steven Geray, Hadda Brooks, Jack Reynolds, Ruth Gillette, Alix Talton, Lewis Howard, Don Hamin.

Dorothy B. Hughes’s psychological thriller In a Lonely Place (1947) is one of those marvelous novels that make the hardboiled pulp literature of the 1940s and 1950s such a rich trove for lovers of what one might call vernacular literature. Its central character is a serial strangler called Dixon “Dix” Steele. He has murdered the tenant of the apartment in which he now dwells—and he’s living off the dead man’s allowance—but most of his murders are sex…

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4 thoughts on “In a Lonely Place (1950)

  1. Actually, screenwriter Dix Steele is not the strangler (at least in the film). He’s not altogether well-balanced, but he’s brilliant, and that combination causes the cops (led by Frank Lovejoy) to suspect him. His being a suspect, and his having a short temper, causes the budding romance between him and Gloria Grahame some problems. But the surprise ending is that Dix is NOT the stangler, but by this time, the budding romance has been trashed.

    • Actually, screenwriter Dix Steele is not the strangler (at least in the film)

      He is in the novel, though, which is what I’m describing in the opening para. You might want to read the whole essay.

  2. Pingback: down, down, down where the iguanas play . . . | Noirish

  3. Pingback: Black Widow (1954) | Noirish

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