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Directed by Nicholas Ray

United States 1950 94 mins.

In this second of two collaborations with Humphrey Bogart, Ray portrays the murderous side of the movie business, Bogart starring as Dixon “Dix” Steele, a down-on-his-luck, drunkard screenwriter with a proclivity to extreme fits of rage. When Dix is accused of murdering a young woman hired to help him with a script, Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame)—a neighbor who can’t quite see what Dix is made of—comes to his rescue by providing an alibi. With Dix cleared, the two enter into a torrid love affair, and Laurel falls victim to Dix’s considerable charm while helping him get on the wagon and renew his career. But in true noir fashion, all that seems well can’t last, and Laurel comes to realize that Dix isn’t quite who she thought he was. “A superb example of the mature Hollywood studio system at the top of its form.”—Roger Ebert.