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ACF Critic Series #8: Teachout, In a Lonely Place
Back to noir: Terry Teachout and I talk about In A Lonely Place, Bogart’s most amazing performance, Nicholas Ray’s most elegant film, and a rare romance between adults who know their minds and speak them–the lovely Gloria Grahame is at her best playing opposite Bogie. The film feels as modern as it gets because of that, but also because it’s tragic–it suggests your choices aren’t the most important things in your life and, if the movie grabs you, it’s because you know that to be partly true.
We didn’t get to it in our conversation, but here’s Sonnet 29–the Shakespearian quotes from it just before the movie turns too grim:
When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
Also, here is the lovely song named for the film and which takes its chorus from the most beautiful line in the movie, by The Smithereens.
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Terry Teachout, on Ricochet! Damn, does that class up the joint! One of the distinguishing features of In a Lonely Place is Bogart’s willingness to play a not-particularly-likable man. Lots of actors will cheerfully play outright villains; few would be eager to play a tightly wound sourpuss. If you want a more positive look at a screenwriter, try William Holden in Sunset Boulevard, and look how he ends up.
A very minor note: if an out of shape, aging shrimp like Bogie actually got into a tangle with a UCLA student, ‘ol Marlowe would be looking for his teeth.
And no, I’m not talking Christopher Marlowe.
Not another favorite! Do you read my mind? I haven’t listened to the podcast yet but Gloria Grahame…film noir queen. And Nicholas Ray? And Bogie? Don’t mind me while I swoon.
Sorry for the late feedback. I went and watched this after listening to the podcast. Very good recommendation. Had not heard of it.
I thought it was interesting that Dix’s character was not an alcoholic. Just problematic as the kids would say.
I did think one character was odd. The chunky female masseuse. I guess whatever it takes to get the plot moving. Was that the problem with this movie? The tortured Bogie was good, but was the plot not all that swell?
The darkness doomed it.
The masseuse would have been instantly recognizable then as both practical & conniving, sort of helpful to a kept woman & even looking out for women easily gulled by glamour…
Really needed to put myself in a 1950 mentality apparently. The high living aspect of the movie was interesting. Dix’s apartment complex was pretty plush what with the maid. Also the nice restaurant and classy night club. Even the murdered girl’s boyfriend looked upscale to my modern eye.
The masseuse seemed odd to me because I was chuckling that if this would have been made today, she would have been the prime suspect because of some weird love triangle.
So he’s part of America’s aristocracy, but a washed-up part of it.