Henry and Kristl were In a lonely place (1950)

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“Dixon Steele is a violent man,” Kristl said..

 

“Dixon Steele is a violent man,” Kristl said while she took a sip from her Rooibos tea.

“Yeah,” Henry nodded slowly. He was drinking hot coffee in a cup filled to the brim . He had made Kristl a tea as at the moment she had sworn off coffee. Just like she had sworn off sugar a few months ago. But Henry knew that this might change tomorrow. It had before.

“That is the key to the story. It is what causes Laurel to doubt him, until it is too late.”

“It isn’t a great leap to think that he might have killed that girl.”

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Happy times in times smoking was an accepted vice.

“And this suspicion breaks the love affair. “ Kristl nodded.

“He is pretty violent considering that he almost bashes a man’s skull in with a rock. If Laurel hadn’t stopped him, he might have. He gives me the creeps.”

“That is the thing and the sad thing is that he gets more violent when more frustrated and he gets more frustrated because Laurel grows distant and cold because she starts to doubt him.. And of course the police increase the pressure, believing him to be the most likely perpetrator.”

“Like a circle. The suspicion causes the violence and the violence increases the suspicion. And so on. And so on.”

“A sad story and a great one. It is an interesting take on a murder story. Not a regular whodunit because is not really important who committed the murder. What is is important is what it causes. It is a thriller, mixed with a drama and a crime story all wrapped into one movie.”

“So you liked it?”

“Did you? I mean, there isn’t much action. So it might be boring.”

“Well, it was interesting. But I asked first…”

“Alright… I found the story interesting and the acting of Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame is good, but the movie loses big on cinematography. It is just so lackluster and by the book filming that it really brings down the whole movie. There are so many moments that could have been handled better. I would have been interested what a Robert Krasker, the director of photography of the third man, would have done. The only moment something remarkable is done is when Steele enacts with two other people what might have happened. The eager fascination and detailed description of him describing the murder coupled with his expression is unsettling and brought out by having his face light up from the darkness around him. It could have been done much better though. And there are a few moments throughout the movie that seem to mood enhanced, like the moment she talks through bars to a person.. which would have been greater later in the movie signifying her being captured in this love affair but I got the feeling this was just an accident. ”

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Humphrey Bogart as Dixon Steele caught up in enacting the killing.

“Ah yes…Gloria Grahame is pretty isn’t she,” Henry smiled, “even though she has this sad expression for most of the movie.”

“Sure.. There is this one thing at the end that made me wonder about her character. “

“Which is?”

“I find it strange that she finds it more important whether Steele is the murderer or not, than the fact that she is about to marry a violent man.”

“Uhmm.”

“I mean.. he gets creepy under pressure, so he will get violent and one day she might be the target of his violence..Brr. A man to avoid at all cost,” Kristl shivered.

“Well…. I don’t know what to say. Most of the people he was violent against seem to ask for it.. Not that is makes it any less of a nono.. but somehow I am somewhat more lenient when he hits a guy who taps ash off his cigar into Steeles friends glass of brandy. Or this guy who shouts at you not to talk to his wife, while his wife started the conversation.”

“Still violence is violence.”

“Yeah, it is..”

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Laurel Gray behind bars… a missed opportunity?

“Despite that last criticism I think it is a good movie. In fact I wonder why there has never been a remake. Maybe one with say George Clooney and… well…. “

“..Angelina Jolie?”

“Angelina Jolie?!” Kristl grinned.

“Hmm.. maybe not a good idea, she probably hits back..”

“Maybe Cate Blanchett would be better.”

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Gloria Grahame as Laurel Gray.

“Yeah. She has that kind of frailty that Gloria Grahame has.”

“Well, maybe someone will make that remake.”

“You never know.” Henry said and rose to get him another serving of coffee. Halfway down the hall he turned and raised his empty cup indicating if she wanted any. Kristl nodded a yes.   ‘Addict’, he thought. he  had known she would change her mind.

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