The Book & the Movie: In a Lonely Place / Dorothy B. Hughes, 1947 | Nicholas Ray, 1950

In a Lonely Place Dorothy B. Hughes 1947

Dorothy B. Hughes, In a Lonely Place, 1947 / Nicholas Ray, In a Lonely Place, 1950

“It’s harder to come back than it is to arrive.”

“He finished his drink. ‘I don’t like mornings either,’ he said. “That’s why I’m a writer.”

“Dixon Steele: You know, when you first walked into the police station, I said to myself, “There she is — the one that’s different. She’s not coy or cute or corny. She’s a good guy — I’m glad she’s on my side. She speaks her mind and she knows what she wants.”

Laurel Gray: Thank you, sir. But let me add: I also know what I don’t want — and I don’t want to be rushed.”

Dorothy B. Hughes, In a Lonely Place, 1947

In a Lonely Place 1950 1

Nicholas Ray, In a Lonely Place, 1950

“He wanted to know about her. But he couldn’t ask questions, not open questions. She was like him; she’d lie.”

“He saw her as he would always see her, a slender girl in a simple beige dress, curled in a large wing chair by the white fireplace. The chair was a gaudy piece patterned in greens and purples, like tropical flowers, with a scrawl of cerise breaking the pattern. Her hair was the color of palest gold, a silvery gold, and she wore it pulled away from her face into a curl at the back of her neck. She had a fine face, nothing pretty-pretty about it, a strong face with high cheek bones and a straight nose. Her eyes were beautiful, sea blue, slanted like wings; and her mouth was a beautiful curve. Yet she wasn’t beautiful; you wouldn’t look at her in a room of pretty women, in a bar or night spot. You wouldn’t notice her; she’d be too quiet; she was a lady and she wouldn’t want to be noticed.”

Dorothy B. Hughes, In a Lonely Place, 1947

In a Lonely Place 1950 7

Nicholas Ray, In a Lonely Place, 1950

“She knew he was watching her and she didn’t care. She expected it.”

“I was born when you kissed me. I died when you left me. I lived a few weeks while you loved me.”

“Once he’d had happiness but for so brief a time; happiness was made of quicksilver, it ran out of your hand like quicksilver. There was the heat of tears suddenly in his eyes and he shook his head angrily. He would not think about it, he would never think of that again. It was long ago in an ancient past. To hell with happiness. More important was excitement and power and the hot stir of lust. Those made you forget. They made happiness a pink marshmallow.”

Dorothy B. Hughes, In a Lonely Place, 1947

In a Lonely Place 1950 6

Nicholas Ray, In a Lonely Place, 1950

“There were always eyes. A little tailor on his way home from a movie. A waitress in a drive-in. A butcher-boy on a bicycle. A room clerk with a wet pointed nose. A detective’s wife who was alert, too alert. Whose eyes saw too much. There were always eyes but they didn’t see. He had proved it.”

“He drove until emotional exhaustion left him empty as a gourd. Until no tears, no rage, no pity had meaning for him.”

“Known he couldn’t hurt her and she couldn’t hurt him. Because neither of them gave a damn about anyone or anything except their own skins.”

Dorothy B. Hughes, In a Lonely Place, 1947

In a Lonely Place 1950 8

Humphrey Bogart, In a Lonely Place, 1950

In a Lonely Place 1950 3

Gloria Grahame, In a Lonely Place, 1950

“They were one unto the other, a circle whirling evenly, effortlessly, endlessly. He knew beauty and the intensity of a dream and he was meshed in a womb he called happiness. He did not think: This must come to an end in time. A circle had no beginning or end; it existed. He did not allow thought to enter the hours that he waited for her, laved in memory of her presence. He seldom left the apartment in those days. In the outside world there was time; in time, there was impatience. Better to remain within the dream.”

“It was good standing there on the promontory overlooking the evening sea, the fog lifting itself like gauzy veils to touch his face. There was something in it akin to flying; the sense of being lifted high above crawling earth, of being a part of the wildness of air.”

“He scraped through the dark sand to the center house, two stories, both pouring bands of light into the fog. There was warmth and gaiety within, through the downstairs window he could see young people gathered around a piano, their singing mocking the forces abroad on this cruel night. She was there, proptected by happiness and song and the good. He was separated from her only by a sand yard and a dark fence, by a lighted window and by her protectors.
He stood there until he was trembling with pity and rage. Then he fled, but his flight was slow as the flight in a dream, impeded by the deep sand and the blurring hands of the fog. He fled from the goodness of that home, and his hatred for Laurel throttled his brain. If she had come back to him, he would not be shut out, an outcast in a strange, cold world. ”

Dorothy B. Hughes, In a Lonely Place, 1947

In a Lonely Place 1950 9

Nicholas Ray, In a Lonely Place, 1950

“Fear wasn’t a jagged split of light cleaving you; fear wasn’t a cold fist in your entrails; fear wasn’t something you could face and demolish with your arrogance. Fear was the fog, creeping about you, winding its tendrils about you, seeping into your pores and flesh and bone. Fear was a girl whispering a word over and again, a small word you refused to hear although the whisper was a scream in your ears, a dreadful scream you could never forget.”

“For him there were the hours of day to pass, but they would trickle through his hands as quietly, as simply as sand. The sun and the day would pass; there would come night. And the night would flame with a radiance surpassing the sun.”

Dorothy B. Hughes, In a Lonely Place, 1947

In a Lonely Place

In a Lonely Place, 1950
Director: Nicholas Ray
Writers: Andrew Solt, Edmund H. North, Dorothy B. Hughes
Cinematography: Burnett Guffey
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy

Nicholas Ray directing Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame in IN A LONELY PLACE 1950

Nicholas Ray directing Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame in In a Lonely Place (1950)

The film differs from the novel in several substantial ways. Mostly notably, in the film, despite being a violent man with a hot temper, Steele is innocent of the murders he’s suspected of committing, and is sincere in his desire to be a successful screenwriter; in the novel, he is a misogynistic, sociopathic killer who claims to be a crime novel writer in order to sponge off of a wealthy uncle.

In her essay “Humphrey and Bogey”, Louise Brooks wrote that more than any other role that Humphrey Bogart played, it was the role of Dixon Steele in this movie that came closest to the real Bogart she knew.

Producer Robert Lord was worried about having Nicholas Ray and Gloria Grahame, then husband and wife whose marriage was on the rocks, working together. He made Grahame sign a contract stipulating that “my husband shall be entitled to direct, control, advise, instruct, and even command my actions during the hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., every day except Sunday. I acknowledge that in every conceivable situations his will and judgment shall be considered superior to mine, and shall prevail.” Grahame was also forbidden to “nag, cajole, tease, or in any other feminine fashion seek to distract or influence him.”
Gloria Grahame and husband and Director Nicholas Ray quietly separated during filming, keeping it a secret for fear that one of them would be replaced.

On directing > | Nicholas Ray, 1911-79
Flick Review < Dead Reckoning | John Cromwell (1947)

1 thought on “The Book & the Movie: In a Lonely Place / Dorothy B. Hughes, 1947 | Nicholas Ray, 1950

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *