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Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

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MissGoddess
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Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby MissGoddess » August 22nd, 2009, 7:51 pm

I just saw came back from a screening of this at the Film Forum.

This is, I think, my first time seeing Bogart on the big screen and all I can say is---I agree
with you, Laurel, it IS a nice face. I can say much more than that, in fact. I can say that
if I didn't know before why this man was not only a fine---no, a great---actor, I now do.
And I can appreciate more fully why he was also a MOVIE STAR. He makes what they
call movie stars today look oh, so limping and inadequate.

__________________________SPOILERS_________________________________

Dixon Steele! (he even autographs with an exclamation point! And he should!) What a role!
"He's dynamite." I'll say. What a character and what a reach for any actor then or now.

I know that there is much said about how they obliterated the original story but I can tell
you I don't think I could feel as much emotional impact---the bitterness and sadness for
BOTH of these people, if it were true that Steele murdered that silly hatcheck girl.

He's plenty fierce without going that far, and it makes the ending so much more of a sharply
painfully ironic one, because you can't help but feel the loss. Dixon Steele was not anyone's idea
of great husband material but the story is about love and trust, in my opinion, not about murder,
and he makes a fascinating character. Bogart seems to know him inside and out, he is so
truthfully ill at ease 9/10 of the time. Always you sense something gnawing at him. And his
frustration with his own behavior, his remorseful moments, are as true as his frightening explosions.

The story reminds me of a flip side to the story of On Dangerous Ground. What if love CANNOT
"save" a soul in torment?


I saw an earlier thread in 2007 about this movie, but it focused on Gloria Grahame and as
terrific as she is in this movie, and when is she not? I think this movie is Bogart's all the way.

I love how he looks on the screen! That's what I want to see when I pay my money for a movie ticket.

I felt like I saw a movie, not a disappointement.


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"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
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JackFavell
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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby JackFavell » August 22nd, 2009, 8:11 pm

I'm so happy for you, but I am a bit jealous. That was a beautiful write up.

The only Bogie movie I have seen on a big screen was Casablanca, and it was years ago. I didn't watch films the same way then, so it never occurred to me to watch for specifics of his performance. I think nowadays, I would prefer to see him in "Lonely Place" or maybe "Caine" instead.... there is so much more for him to do, and I have his mannerisms from Casablanca practically memorized at this point.

Thanks for posting that grand photo, it gives the feeling of watching on a "big screen" to me.

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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby MissGoddess » August 22nd, 2009, 8:28 pm

Hi Jackie!

I could go on and on about all hundred-and-one emotional directions Bogart takes you as
"Dix", and how the director brilliantly manages to keep up the reality of other players who
are not so much acting side-by-side with Bogart, but circulating in his vortex, propelled
and repelled by his manic energy and paranoia...and disarming charm. I think a "lesser"
actor would have left out the charm. It's dangerous to try to be charming and dangerously
off balance because one or the other can come off phony. It's as though Dix/Bogart
KNOWS this and does it anyway, effortlessly and it throws one's guard unexpectedly down.

One of my new favorite lines in the film, which I noticed for the first time tonight:
Image

Image

Dix Steele reminds me ALOT of Jim Wilson in On Dangerous Ground.

Taking these screencaps just now, I noticed something else. Bogie DOES look smaller
on the TV than in the theater. You just HAVE to see him up there where he belongs.
Television doesn't do him justice.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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JackFavell
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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby JackFavell » August 22nd, 2009, 8:37 pm

It seems to me, looking at that photo, that you need a big screen to show the real focus of that shot - BOGIE. Upstage center. There is no depth in the photo, but I suspect on a big screen there is, or at least the illusion of depth, making Bogie much bigger.

I have a bizarre theory that movie stars have big heads and hands..... I may have read it somewhere, or just made it up. But the stars I have seen in person have heads and hands much bigger than their bodies should have been able to carry. Goofy, huh? :)

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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby MissGoddess » August 22nd, 2009, 8:54 pm

It seems to me, looking at that photo, that you need a big screen to show the real focus of that shot - BOGIE. Upstage center. There is no depth in the photo, but I suspect on a big screen there is, or at least the illusion of depth, making Bogie much bigger.

You have a much better eye than I do at how shots are composed, so I'm sure you're right. All I know
he is very potent, very magnetic.

I have a bizarre theory that movie stars have big heads and hands..... I may have read it somewhere, or just made it up. But the stars I have seen in person have heads and hands much bigger than their bodies should have been able to carry. Goofy, huh?

Ha! Not at all. I remember a similar theory being discussed either at TCM or another message board I
used to belong to and it periodically comes back to my mind. The odd part is that when or if you see
these folks in real life, their heads don't look so large at all. It may be a "trick of the eye" caused
by the camera, or by the fact that our attention is more intensely focused on the person's face
than it would be polite to be in their actual presence.

Here's an interesting shot. It has got me started thinking about what's in between these
two people. A telephone. Dix hates to answer the phone. Turns out he has good reason.
This little instrument will play a critical role in the final scene, serving to twist the knife
inboth their hearts.


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"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby JackFavell » August 22nd, 2009, 9:08 pm

Oh my god, that's good!

And look at the expression on his face there.....what is that? It's amazing. Look at how he is working something out in his head, the level of warmth and concentration....he is chewing on something mentally..... the enormous tightness of his facial muscles is fascinating.

And that is all balanced by the almost coldblooded look on Grahame's face, she looks disbelieving or maybe just distant, but she is intently listening to him even so. Which scene is this?

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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby MissGoddess » August 22nd, 2009, 9:32 pm

JackFavell wrote:And look at the expression on his face there.....what is that? It's amazing. Look at how he is working something out in his head, the level of warmth and concentration....he is chewing on something mentally..... the enormous tightness of his facial muscles is fascinating.


Right on it! He literally fills the screen with that face and how you can trace every thought and emotion churning
inside on it.

And that is all balanced by the almost coldblooded look on Grahame's face, she looks disbelieving or maybe just distant, but she is intently listening to him even so. Which scene is this?


It looks like a scene near the end, right? But no, this is right when they first get started, after Dix left
the sergeant and his wife and came knocking on Laurel's door to tell her she "annoyed" him. Yet this
shot, this moment, forecasts an almost identically composed scene at the very end. He's just getting
up his nerve to ask her if she's given a "second thought" to going out with him and he makes it look
like his life depends on it. In a way, it does---it will. And I will add that I didn't pick this up unti
I took the cap---I especially did not catch Laurel's momentary pensiveness. She's mostly relaxed
and rather cool in the scene.

I find Dix's virtually abject and hungry responsiveness to Laurel's interest in him to be very moving.
This is one lonely guy.


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"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby JackFavell » August 22nd, 2009, 10:11 pm

Wow. Another look, captured. You are on a roll! What magnificent pale, lonely eyes he has. And the hesitant upturned eyebrows, nervous. It looks like he believes she won't go out with him before she has even given her answer. That is one wistful, longing look.

I said this last week - Bogart can never be described with one word.... his emotions and expressions are so complex, he encompasses too many emotions all at once. Other actors go through a litany of emotion, first this, then that, then another emotion.... and so on, in a row. But Bogart is many things at the same time.... and sometimes they are contradictory .

I hate to stop, but I was up all last night with insomnia....and I am losing steam. Please post more about this here, and if you can stomach it, on the other site. I want to talk about it when I can make sense.

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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby MissGoddess » August 22nd, 2009, 10:44 pm

JackFavell wrote:Wow. Another look, captured. You are on a roll! What magnificent pale, lonely eyes he has. And the hesitant upturned eyebrows, nervous. It looks like he believes she won't go out with him before she has even given her answer. That is one wistful, longing look.


"Magnificent", that's the word alright.

I said this last week - Bogart can never be described with one word.... his emotions and expressions are so complex, he encompasses too many emotions all at once. Other actors go through a litany of emotion, first this, then that, then another emotion.... and so on, in a row. But Bogart is many things at the same time.... and sometimes they are contradictory .


Now that is very sharp---you're right, there is a density to his emotions. He's never just "angry" or "worried", he's
ten other things too.

I hate to stop, but I was up all last night with insomnia....and I am losing steam. Please post more about this here, and if you can stomach it, on the other site. I want to talk about it when I can make sense.


No worries. Get your sleep---I'm ready to ramble on this here for sure, and if I can get my stomach pump to
work, I can bring it with me to TCM. :P
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

jdb1

Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby jdb1 » August 23rd, 2009, 9:35 am

I finally got to explore the "On Demand for Free" listings in my new Verizon cable TV service, and what do you think they have this month on TCM on Demand? In a Lonely Place, which I watched again last night.

What struck me this time was the depth and intensity of Bogart's performance. It made me think of all the years he was a contract player, and how, although he was always good, and star-like, he never really got a chance to cut loose, as he does here. I like all his work, but I think Dixon Steele and Capt. Queeg, wherein he probably veers the most from the established "Bogie" persona, are his best work.

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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby MissGoddess » August 23rd, 2009, 11:20 am

jdb1 wrote:What struck me this time was the depth and intensity of Bogart's performance. It made me think of all the years he was a contract player, and how, although he was always good, and star-like, he never really got a chance to cut loose, as he does here. I like all his work, but I think Dixon Steele and Capt. Queeg, wherein he probably veers the most from the established "Bogie" persona, are his best work.


Hi Judith! I too think those two performances are career rockers and they enrich the whole canon of
his work. Amazing to think how YOUNG he was when he died, too---just imagine the magnificent
character work that lay ahead of him had he lived. I feel I know another Oscar was waiting.

If I were to rank my favorite Bogarts, they might tally up this way, in order of preference:

Favorite Bogart movies:

1. To Have and Have Not
2. High Sierra
3. In a Lonely Place
4. Dark Passage
5. Casablanca
6. The Maltese Falcon
7. Key Largo
8. The Big Sleep
9. Dead Reconing
10. The Left Hand of God
11. The Harder They Fall
12. Beat the Devil

Best Bogart Perfomrances:

1. In a Lonely Place
2. The African Queen
3. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
4. The Caine Mutiny
5. High Sierra
6. Casablanca
7. The Maltese Falcon
8. The Harder they Fall
9. Beat the Devil
10. Key Largo


Favorite Bogart Characters:

1. Roy "Mad Dog" Earle in High Sierra
2. Rick in Casablanca
3. Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon
4. Dix Steele in In a Lonely Place
5. Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep
6. Harry Morgan in To Have and Have Not
7. Eddie Willis in The Harder They Fall
8. Rip Murdock in Dead Reckoning
9. Michael O'Leary in Dark Victory :D
10. Ed Hutcheson in Deadline U.S.A.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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JackFavell
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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby JackFavell » August 23rd, 2009, 2:18 pm

I can't stay on too long right now, but I am so glad to see someone else who likes High Sierra and Bogart's Roy Earle as much as I do. I think it's my favorite role.

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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby MissGoddess » August 23rd, 2009, 5:19 pm

JackFavell wrote:I can't stay on too long right now, but I am so glad to see someone else who likes High Sierra and Bogart's Roy Earle as much as I do. I think it's my favorite role.


Oh my goodness! Really??? I'm "mad" for Mad Dog. :P :lol:

I feel just like "Pard" at the end of the movie....

It's the first role where I really felt Bogar's sex appeal.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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JackFavell
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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby JackFavell » August 23rd, 2009, 7:06 pm

Yes, I totally agree! I could fall in a big way for Roy. Gosh, I really need to see it again! I haven't seen it for years. Raoul Walsh, isn't it? He's great at bringing out the vulnerable, sweet side in tough guys. They don't show it to anyone in the movie, just to us, the audience.

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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby JackFavell » August 23rd, 2009, 7:11 pm

Oh my gosh, as I was posting that,I realized that Nicholas Ray did much the same thing for a different generation. I never really compared the two directors before. They are very similar.


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