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Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

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MissGoddess
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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby MissGoddess » August 23rd, 2009, 7:21 pm

JackFavell wrote: 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.


That is quite a deep observation---I'm going to start looking out for that quality in Walsh's movies. I never
would have come to notice that on my own. Wow.
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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby mrsl » August 23rd, 2009, 8:44 pm

Judith, I'm glad you mentioned the free On Demand because this afternoon I sat and enjoyed again In a Lonely Place. It looks like Miss Goddess and Jack Favell have discovered just why Bogey is still a highly placed movie star and why so many of his movies are of cult status. I think it was in Miss G's very first paragraph that she said he makes today's movie actors look small and insipid. Oddly, that is why I have such a hard time accepting today's cinema. The writing is definitely not equal 90% of the time, nor is the direction or acting talents. We may have better looking, and better built young fellows today, but set up their movies against nearly any of the Golden Age actors, and today fails miserably.

Bogey was and is a film icon and the sorry part is that so few people know of him.
.
Anne


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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby MissGoddess » August 24th, 2009, 8:45 am

Hi Anne!

You know it really WAS like I had just discovered---or rediscovered---Bogie's greatness as a screen actor by
seeing him in a theater. He's been a favorite of mine since I first got into classics yet I admit I was NOT
prepared for how much he swelled in stature (physically and via his personality) and filled up that entire
screen. Television viewing, I feel, just doesn't do him justice (unless, I guess, you're fortunate to have
one of those giant sized TVs, lol).

Let me tell you, it is very exciting to feel this way, like you've just fallen in love with these old classics
all over again. I am very grateful for the opportunities I get to see them theatrically.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

kingrat
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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby kingrat » August 24th, 2009, 12:22 pm

MissGoddess, did you notice that your list of Bogart's top 10 performances doesn't include his performances for Hawks in THE BIG SLEEP and TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT? I agree. As much as I like both films, I think other directors pushed Bogart more and got deeper emotions out of him. Nicholas Ray certainly did in IN A LONELY PLACE. Love your discussion of this film.

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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby charliechaplinfan » August 24th, 2009, 2:26 pm

Here's another big fan of Roy Earle. High Sierra is one of my favorite Bogart movies, I like the Raoul Walsh films I've seen.

I read this thread with interest last night and decided I just had to see In A Lonely Place again. There's so much pleasure to be had just watching Bogart perform, when he snaps it almost comes from nowhere although there has been a faint undercurrent of suggestion in Bogart's performance. That's what I like about actors of Bogart's stature, every meaning doesn't have to be spoken but is told by the face or mannerisms. I'd love to see this on the big screen.

I'd read years ago that Dix Steele was the closest Bogart ever came to playing himself, I wonder if anyone else has ever read that. The similarity must have in his drinking days when he wasn't above a brawl or two.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby MissGoddess » August 24th, 2009, 2:36 pm

kingrat wrote:MissGoddess, did you notice that your list of Bogart's top 10 performances doesn't include his performances for Hawks in THE BIG SLEEP and TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT? I agree. As much as I like both films, I think other directors pushed Bogart more and got deeper emotions out of him. Nicholas Ray certainly did in IN A LONELY PLACE. Love your discussion of this film.


Hi, kingrat!

Yes, I couldn't in all honesty say those two performances measured up to the others on my list. I tried
to be as objective as I could when selecting those I thought "best". Several of them are from movies
that do not make my upper echelons of favorites. Not because they aren't good, but the subject matter
or the tone may not be genial to me.

I can't help but repeat myself that it's a pity he passed on so young. I'd like to have seen him play
a father. He never did, did he?
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby MissGoddess » August 24th, 2009, 2:48 pm

charliechaplinfan wrote:I'd read years ago that Dix Steele was the closest Bogart ever came to playing himself, I wonder if anyone else has ever read that. The similarity must have in his drinking days when he wasn't above a brawl or two.


That is very interesting, because something similar went through my mind as I was watching Bogie up on the screen. But for some additional and different reasons.

I was smiling to myself in the theater because I thought this character, this "Dixon Steele", was so perfect for the actor. For here was a cultivated, articulate, elegant man, with enough rough edges to make him the ideal Bogart part. Bogie, the real Humphrey Bogart, was a gent, and an old world style one at that. The way he spoke as Dix Steele---I definitely picked up his almost rarified manner (not a trace of that mobster speak from his old Warner days); it was still New York but his innate polish was gleaming through the characteristic raspiness. His innate gentlemanliness was on display, and it is yet another reason Dix Steele is such a fascinatingly complex character. He's erudite, witty, elegant as can be (you have to see his clothes on the big screen---they simply screamed luxury and fine tailoring) yet he'll launch into a waterfront brawl in a nanosecond. Fascinating.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby ChiO » August 24th, 2009, 3:05 pm

I'd read years ago that Dix Steele was the closest Bogart ever came to playing himself, I wonder if anyone else has ever read that. The similarity must have in his drinking days when he wasn't above a brawl or two.


In More Than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts, James Naremore notes than Dix Steele is a criticism of Bogart's up-to-then tough guy persona and that, at the time IN A LONELY PLACE was filmed, Bogart was under pressure from the Right (Bogart had protested the HUAC hearings; Steele, of course, was blacklisted writer, though for his brawling rather than political beliefs). Ray claimed that he was "graylisted" after IN A LONELY PLACE. Art Smith (the actor portraying Steele's agent) was blacklisted. I've read elsewhere that he gravitated toward writers and that, while at Warner Bros., Bogart was one of the the few actors that the writers would allow to sit with them in the commissary. Finally, though released through Columbia, the production company for IN A LONELY PLACE was Santana, Bogart's company.
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 24th, 2009, 3:13 pm

ChiO wrote:
In More Than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts, James Naremore notes than Dix Steele is a criticism of Bogart's up-to-then tough guy persona


Hi, ChiO!

I'm curious how "Dix Steele" is a criticism of the persona? Do you agree? I'm not sure I understand what is meant by that and what your take is.
"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 ChiO » August 24th, 2009, 3:58 pm

I take it as: (1) Bogart was popularly thought of at the time largely for his gangster roles, and (2) portraying anti-intellectual characters.

Naremore may be making a stretch in saying it is "criticizing his tough-guy persona", but the inner-violence and loneliness of Steele does strike me as emotionally different than most of previous the characters I most associate with Bogart. But what do I know -- I pay so little attention to actors' roles over the course of their careers (OK -- other than Robert Ryan, Sterling Hayden and Timothy Carey). IN A LONELY PLACE is a Nicholas Ray movie for me, not a Bogart movie (and I really like Bogart as an actor), which in part explains why I didn't jump in earlier (and why I probably should have stayed out).

Here he is extremely literate -- too good for and above the dross around him. That's not the Bogart character (persona) I typically think of. Nicholas Ray said about Steele that we do not know whether he's: going to get drunk, have an accident in his car, or whether he is going to a psychiatrist for help. Two of those options aren't ones I associate with his prior roles.

(Now I'm going back, speaking of Ray, to thinking about the parallels between JOHNNY GUITAR and THE WIZARD OF OZ.)
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 Mr. Arkadin » August 24th, 2009, 5:30 pm

charliechaplinfan wrote:I'd read years ago that Dix Steele was the closest Bogart ever came to playing himself, I wonder if anyone else has ever read that. The similarity must have in his drinking days when he wasn't above a brawl or two.


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.

When Ray picked up Gloria from RKO, she had to sign a contract that stipulated she would "obey her husband" (her words) during working hours and he would have total control over her. It was also at this time that she had an affair with Ray's son from a previous marriage and their relationship was on the rocks shortly after.

As for Bogart, this was the year of the famous Panda Incident, where he knocked a woman to the floor after she refused to leave his stuffed panda alone in a bar (case was dismissed). Also according to Bacall, the "put a woman in your pocket" line from Dead Reckoning (1947) was a line that Bogart actually used in real life.
Last edited by Mr. Arkadin on August 24th, 2009, 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby mrsl » August 24th, 2009, 6:40 pm

"charliechaplinfan wrote:I'd read years ago that Dix Steele was the closest Bogart ever came to playing himself, I wonder if anyone else has ever read that. The similarity must have in his drinking days when he wasn't above a brawl or two."


We all know how agents and studios together were able to keep secret, all kinds of arrests, trials, and subsequent reactions from the press, and the general public, so when I hear stories like the 'panda incident' and others, I believe with only a tiny speck of salt. The story was let out either for publicity for a new movie, or a boost to an actors image, and probably often a lot less than it grew into after a few re-tellings.

Regarding this role or any past role of Bogeys relating a similarity to his personal image, again I doubt if there is any real likening. Bogart came from a very wealthy family who were not happy when he broke out as a gangster actor. His face and mannerisms apparently made him perfect for such roles, but they were absorbed, not lifelong habits.

I think the closest this movie came to the real Bogey was the very beginning where even though he hasn't had a good script in a long time, and there are not a lot of requests for his skills coming in, he still has that air of nonchalance about it all, and continues his joking, picking up the tab, and all outward appearances that all is well, because as a kid growing up, that was how he lived, thanks to his family.
.
Anne


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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby Mr. Arkadin » August 24th, 2009, 7:02 pm

mrsl wrote:We all know how agents and studios together were able to keep secret, all kinds of arrests, trials, and subsequent reactions from the press, and the general public, so when I hear stories like the 'panda incident' and others, I believe with only a tiny speck of salt. The story was let out either for publicity for a new movie, or a boost to an actors image, and probably often a lot less than it grew into after a few re-tellings.


It was a real story. He went to court where the women admitted to touching his property and the magistrate ruled in his favor (partially because he suspected that Bogie was set up by the club owner to generate publicity for his establishment). Bogart's carousing and drinking were well known. After all, it was his wife who dubbed his drinking buddies The Rat Pack.

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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby MissGoddess » August 25th, 2009, 9:08 am

Hola, ChiO,

ChiO wrote:I pay so little attention to actors' roles over the course of their careers (OK -- other than Robert Ryan, Sterling Hayden and Timothy Carey). IN A LONELY PLACE is a Nicholas Ray movie for me, not a Bogart movie (and I really like Bogart as an actor), which in part explains why I didn't jump in earlier (and why I probably should have stayed out).


Yes, ChiO, you should be more careful next time. They might revoke your membership card in the noirista society for posting here. :D

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.

In A Lonely Place strikes me as very much like a filmed stage play. I can see this story translating very well to the theater, in fact. It's hard for me to readily spot visual style in it, other than that moment with the phone which I screencapped.


Nicholas Ray said about Steele that we do not know whether he's: going to get drunk, have an accident in his car, or whether he is going to a psychiatrist for help. Two of those options aren't ones I associate with his prior roles.


I might add "going to deck someone". Those are good points. Bogie was definitely often characterized as a tough guy but, like James Stewart, there was always that nervousness underneath that was seldom exploited until later in their careers. Dix doesn't strike me as the type to go to a shrink, though. Didn't Art Smith tell Laurel he tried to get him to go once, and he almost killed him for it? But if Ray was pointing to that nervous neuroticism which Bogart brilliantly brings out, I can see that, definitely.

(Now I'm going back, speaking of Ray, to thinking about the parallels between JOHNNY GUITAR and THE WIZARD OF OZ.)


Both are equally weird movies to me.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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Re: Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE

Postby MissGoddess » August 25th, 2009, 9:14 am

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
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers


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