In a Lonely Place

I went to the bank and took care of two deposits, and I prepared for a lecture.  Before I returned home, I went out to a carnitas quesadilla.  I watched the Criterion Collection DVD edition of “In a Lonely Place,” the Nicholas Ray film with Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame.  I found it difficult to accept Bogart as a screenwriter, especially since he didn’t appear to spend any time writing.  Bogart didn’t seem like wonder to ponder words and dialogue, although in one scene he states that a good love scene should be about something besides love.  It was disturbing to think that Dixon Steele could be anything like either Bogart or Ray.  Dix is unpredictable, with his anger flashing at any time, flaring up in the presence of others in the most awkward situations.  Bogart’s character was unlike just about any other in his career, except perhaps his Queeg in “The Caine Mutiny.”  Reportedly, he wanted Lauren Bacall to play his love interest, Laurel Gray.  She could have been interesting, but it’s hard to look at her as someone with insecurities and weaknesses.  Gloria’s stiff upper lip was more noticeable in later movies.  I thought what she should have paid attention to in this film was her hairstyle, which was not the greatest.  Another woman who could have played Laurel was Ginger Rogers, although that didn’t seem like the best fit.  It is rather chilling to hear Laurel say that she loves Dix and yet she is afraid of him.  “In a Lonely Place” was in the middle of the best eight years of Gloria Grahame’s career.  She would go on to other great films like “The Big Heat” and “The Bad and the Beautiful.”  Her career inevitably went into a decline, reminding me of how Joan Crawford’s last film was “Trog.”  She was in “Melvin and Howard” at the end, though.  “In a Lonely Place” is partly about the movie business, which hasn’t treated Dix or Laurel too well.  I didn’t see Dix as a genius and couldn’t believe that there was such a thing as a genius screenwriter.  When you compare him to William Holden in “Sunset Boulevard,” you don’t see any hope.  I see how this picture failed at the box office.  The principals seemed doomed, and Bogart hits people.  He had a memorable road rage scene.  You can’t imagine anyone 66 years later being able to just drive away from such an incident.  “In a Lonely Place” was one of the best of Nicholas Ray’s films.  It feels like a very personal movie for Ray and Grahame.  I haven’t seen “Rebel Without a Cause” in a long time.  “Johnny Guitar” is fun to watch.  The special features on the disc include a 1975 documentary about Ray, called “I’m a Stranger Here Myself.”  The work that Ray was doing that was captured in the film seemed to lack direction.  Also, there was an interview with Vincent Curcio about Gloria Grahame that was very informative.  I heard that in the baseball playoffs, the Toronto Blue won their game against the Indians, giving them slight hope as they’re still behind in the series, three games to one.  The Cubs have suddenly found it difficult to score runs, as the Dodgers shut them out for the second consecutive game.  Former A’s pitcher Rich Hill did a good job.  Some of the people who died on October 19 include Jonathan Swift (1745), John Reed (1920), Jacqueline du Pré (1987), Martha Raye (1994), Joseph Wiseman (2009), and Tom Bosley (2010).  Today is a birthday for Evander Holyfield (54) and John Lithgow (71).

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