This film is based on a noir novel by Dorothy Hughes. Dixon Steele is a screenwriter but he hasn’t written anything in a long time. He has been given the task of writing a script on a new bestseller novel. He is not looking forward to even reading the novel. He meets a hatcheck girl at his usual bar and he persuades her to come to his apartment to tell him about the book. Mildred Atkinson doesn’t drink, she cancels a date to do this favor and she does a good job. Dixon gives her $20 for cab fare and he finds out the next day from the police that she was murdered after she left. He is a suspect but his neighbor Laurel Gray says she saw Mildred leave and Dixon didn’t leave his apartment later. They begin a friendship and she inspires him to begin writing again. They fall in love but Laurel witnesses Dixon beat up a young man because of road rage. This leads her to believe Dixon is capable of murdering someone.
Filmed in black and white, Steele is a constantly angry man, he’s an alcoholic who can explode at any moment and he has low self-esteem. He also has a rap sheet listing a lot of assaults and fights. Gray thinks she can handle him and she can even change him. As the film proceeds they are happy but slowly the film and the people become more confined. Steele starts setting a lot of boundaries for Gray and she goes along with it because she’s in love. I liked the style of this film, also the cars, clothing and hairstyles of the period. This is like a picture album of life in LA of 1950. 3 ½* (I liked this movie)
94 min, Drama directed by Nicholas Ray with Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy, Carl Benton Reid, Art Smith, Jeff Donnell, Martha Stewart, Robert Warwick, Morris Ankrum, William Chang.
Note: Imdb 8.0 out of 10, 97% critic 89% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*, Amazon 4.2* out of 5* with 153 reviews.
Special Note: Filmed in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, West Hollywood and Los Angeles, California. Both Lauren Bacall and Ginger Rogers were considered for the part of Laurel Gray. Bogart wanted his wife Bacall to play opposite him but Warner Brothers would not release her from her contract. The director, Nicolas Ray convinced them that his wife Gloria Grahame would be right for the role.