One of the greatest of all American films, Nicholas Ray’s brooding and unbearably tender love story turns Hollywood into the loneliest place on earth. Bogart was never better than as Dixon Steele, a bitter, burned-out screenwriter accused of murdering a hatcheck girl. Gloria Grahame exudes tough vulnerability as Laurel Grey, the girl next door who gives Steele a false alibi, has her faith in his innocence shaken when she witnesses his homicidal rage, and begins to fear she could be his next victim. Bogart seethes with such pent-up malevolence and self-hatred that his helplessness in the face of Grahame’s growing distrust takes on a haunting ambiguity; Ray builds this bleak tale of suspicion around an enclosed setting, an L.A. apartment complex that is part sanctuary for lost souls, part courtyard of the damned. “One of Ray’s smartest and most devastating masterpieces” (Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine).
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