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Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby charliechaplinfan » August 25th, 2009, 2:17 pm

Lauren Bacall said that Bogie was born in the last century and it was part of the man he was, that and the fact he was born quite comfortably off. Unlike Katharine Hepburn who was from a similar background and from her role choices and demeanour, you could tell she was well off, with Bogie I was surprised to find it out. Bogie's roles often had intelligence to them, whether it be the wisdom of a life lived in the fast lane or the suggestion of an education, he's often a man you can trust if you are on the level. With In A Lonely Place the trust is there and then it dissappears and you're left unsure as to what kind of man he is. No happy endings here.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Mr. Arkadin
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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby Mr. Arkadin » August 25th, 2009, 6:15 pm

MissGoddess wrote:Hola, Mr A!

Mr. Arkadin wrote:What's fascinating about In a Lonely Place is how much of the film mirrors the real lives of the actors involved. Dix can be looked at as a combination of Bogart and Ray, who both had dark sides and stormy relationships.


Wow, I had never read that before. How about "Dix Steele" in the original story? How was he described there? Has anyone read it? Was it a novel or magazine story? Are these enough questions? :D


It was a novel written by Dorthy B.Hughes who also wrote The Fallen Sparrow and Ride the Pink Horse.

In the original story, Dix turns out to be the killer. Here we have another parallel to the film, as Dix's screenplay is similar to Ray's in the fact that "it's not like the book". Bogart also stands in for Ray when he "directs" his police buddy and wife through a reenactment of the murder. Another point of interest is Althea Bruce the actual novel, which Bogart has Mildred summarize for him. Pay attention to the story, how it relates to the film's story, and the question Bogart asks.

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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby MissGoddess » August 25th, 2009, 6:51 pm

Mr. Arkadin wrote:It was a novel written by Dorthy B.Hughes who also wrote The Fallen Sparrow and Ride the Pink Horse.

In the original story, Dix turns out to be the killer. Here we have another parallel to the film, as Dix's screenplay is similar to Ray's in the fact that "it's not like the book". Bogart also stands in for Ray when he "directs" his police buddy and wife through a reenactment of the murder. Another point of interest is Althea Bruce the actual novel, which Bogart has Mildred summarize for him. Pay attention to the story, how it relates to the film's story, and the question Bogart asks.


Fantastic!! I will definitely look for these paralells and paradoxes when I watch it again!

It's wonderful when a film yields up so much, even after you think you've seen it all.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
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ChiO
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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby ChiO » August 26th, 2009, 10:33 am

Much to my chagrin, MissG wrote:
I titled my thread deliberately. I chose to call it "Nicholas Ray's In a Lonely Place" for a reason. I welcome eagerly any insights into the directorial side of this film, because I am not good at picking up those things until long after repeated viewings and painful (for my blonde head) analysis.


An impressionistic view of Ray, rather than a shot-by-shot analysis of IN A LONELY PLACE (like you, the latter requires repeated viewings, reading, and thinking that my blonde – not gray or silver, I tell you – head isn’t up for at the moment).

A person (or persons) who:

1. Is an outsider and a loner,
2. Has a personal problem that often echoes a larger social problem,
3. Has lost something and is searching for it, and
4. Gets under the skin of the viewer, making the viewer uncomfortable.

That, to me, is a Nicholas Ray protagonist. The first three points are not uncommon to many protagonists, but in the fourth lies Ray’s art. Whether one likes or dislikes any particular one of his films, he simply will not allow one to be a passive viewer.

Similar to (at least in my mind) Samuel Fuller and later-Douglas Sirk, he takes story elements that, if merely read, would on their face be trashy. Ray uses them to create a visceral whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Color is bright to the point of being lurid and is often coded. The screen is not static. And – especially in the case of IN A LONELY PLACE – any possible romantic view is stripped away. In contrast to SUNSET BOULEVARD (which I do like), another movie about a Hollywood writer and released the same year, beneath all of Wilder’s acid, I still detect some romantic (albeit sad or tragic) notions about Hollywood. I don’t see that with Ray.

One of the best known statements about Ray was made by provocateur Jean-Luc Godard: The cinema is Nicholas Ray. That always struck me as standard Cahiers crowd overstatement that is at once fun and frustrating and, quite frankly, put me off for a while in taking Ray seriously. But recently, I read that quote in context:

There was theatre (Griffith), poetry (Murnau), painting (Rossellini), dance (Eisenstein), music (Renoir). Henceforth there is cinema. And the cinema is Nicholas Ray. (Review of BITTER VICTORY, January 1958)

I think what Godard is trying to convey is not that Nicholas Ray constitutes the entirety of cinema (the implication of the familiar quote taken out of context), but that Ray’s approach to film and his vision is purely cinematic, without reference to other art forms, and profoundly modern. Yeah, a stretch perhaps, but fun to consider. And, having recently seen YOU CAN”T GO HOME AGAIN, his last film, Godard may be right.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles

jdb1

Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby jdb1 » August 26th, 2009, 10:47 am

Very interesting Chi. Which personal problem echoing larger social problems do you think Steele embodies? Post-war malaise and disillusionment? Maybe Hollywood as an allegorical microcosm of the rampant crass materialism and consumerism of the post-war years? Or something else?

Certainly the saturnine, wry, and patently aggressive Steele is not your typical early 1950s protagonist. Although Bogart played many a sardonic wise cracking guy (his private eyes, for example), Steele goes far beyond the comfort zone of the day. The movie is quite forward-looking in that regard.

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ChiO
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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby ChiO » August 26th, 2009, 11:34 am

Which personal problem echoing larger social problems do you think Steele embodies?


Certainly alcoholism and violent fits of anger are the overt problems Steele has. As to the larger social problems, beyond the issues of alcoholism and violence in society generally, I think you made an excellent list with post-war malaise, disillusionment (both of which alcoholism could be seen as a symptom and both a cause for rage), rampant crass materialism and consumerism of the post-war years (Steele seems to see these as the cause for his drinking and brawling; others may see them as his excuse for drinking and brawling).
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles

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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby MissGoddess » August 28th, 2009, 10:04 am

ChiO wrote:Much to my chagrin, MissG wrote:


I know, I know...it's alway much to many people's chagrin that I write, so you and your chagrin have company. :)


An impressionistic view of Ray, rather than a shot-by-shot analysis of IN A LONELY PLACE (like you, the latter requires repeated viewings, reading, and thinking that my blonde – not gray or silver, I tell you – head isn’t up for at the moment).


ChiO you're a BLONDE????? Oh, this has ruined my whole picture image of you. In my mind's eye I had you looking like a rakish Timothy Carey (who was mostly non-blonde, non?) Another bubble burst.


A person (or persons) who:

1. Is an outsider and a loner,
2. Has a personal problem that often echoes a larger social problem,
3. Has lost something and is searching for it, and
4. Gets under the skin of the viewer, making the viewer uncomfortable.[/qutoe]

What are you doing putting my personal biography out there for the whole world to see?!!!

That, to me, is a Nicholas Ray protagonist. The first three points are not uncommon to many protagonists, but in the fourth lies Ray’s art. Whether one likes or dislikes any particular one of his films, he simply will not allow one to be a passive viewer.


OH, I see. I like that quality, by the way.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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MissGoddess
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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby MissGoddess » August 28th, 2009, 10:24 am

ChiO wrote:
Which personal problem echoing larger social problems do you think Steele embodies?


Certainly alcoholism and violent fits of anger are the overt problems Steele has. As to the larger social problems, beyond the issues of alcoholism and violence in society generally, I think you made an excellent list with post-war malaise, disillusionment (both of which alcoholism could be seen as a symptom and both a cause for rage), rampant crass materialism and consumerism of the post-war years (Steele seems to see these as the cause for his drinking and brawling; others may see them as his excuse for drinking and brawling).


I get the implication that the war was a major factor in changing Bogart's "Dix Steele". Two comments lead
me to consider this: 1) Art Smith tells Gloria Grahame that her influence has wrought a miracle, "Dix hasn't
worked like this since before the war!" 2) Frank Lovejoy tells his police Captain that during the war Dix
was "a good C.O. and the men liked him." The inference I've gotten from movies of this period is that liking
one's C.O. was not a common occurrance.

So was it how the world looked to Dix upon his return from battle that messed with him or was it the after-effects
of combat---being programmed to fight all those years he comes back to a world where suddenly you are punished
for doing what you were trained to do. With no "grace period" allowed in between, he was a man who perhaps
couldn't switch off the soldier that quickly.

I wonder. I like to speculate about character's backgrounds, even if it never occurred to the writers or
the director to flesh them out this much.

Still, the movie is of interest in how it treats love and trust. Can you love
someone who is often unlovable? Is trust absolute? Did Laurel provoke Dix's rages
by her lack of commitment?

Because running out seems to be a pattern with Laurel.

Image

Foreshadowing...
Image

Image

If only Dix had remembered this.
Image

It's also interesting how the weaknesses or faults of each flared up and aggravated the other's. Laurel
was liable to bolt at signs of trouble and Dix's insecurities or anger were roused by uncertainty and
lack of reassurance. He'd sense hesitation on her part and would flare up which would only cause
Laurel to want to flee even more. Loneliness or desperation made these two people have such
huge needs yet also seemed to render them incapable of answering that need in one another.
"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 28th, 2009, 10:52 am

It's also interesting how the weaknesses or faults of each flared up and aggravated the other's. Laurel
was liable to bolt at signs of trouble and Dix's insecurities or anger were roused by uncertainty and
lack of reassurance. He'd sense hesitation on her part and would flare up which would only cause
Laurel to want to flee even more. Loneliness or desperation made these two people have such
huge needs yet also seemed to render them incapable of answering that need in one another.


That was beautiful.


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