Ray and Humphrey Bogart again team up to work wonders (a year prior, Bogart starred in Ray’s Knock on Any Door), in a film considered by many to be Bogie’s best role ever. Meanwhile, Ray once again plays with genre cinema, this time blending noir with psychodrama about creative block while adding a few insights about Hollywood rapaciousness (much like Billy Wilder in Sunset Boulevard the very same year). Dixon Steel (Bogart) is a screenwriter mixed up in a girl’s murder, a classic Rayan outsider, a rejected loner, who hides frustrations and issues under a tough skin. In a Lonely Place has aged wonderfully well; it still works by keeping audiences at the edge of their seats and engrossed in existential fatalism.
Nicholas Ray is a Hollywood legend and outsider beloved by French New Wave filmmakers, who saw in him one of the most important auteurs of American cinema. He shone with Rebel Without a Cause starring James Dean, and his oeuvre brims with existential and fatalistic noir films (In a Lonely Place, They Live by Night), Western variations (Johnny Guitar, The True Story of Jesse James), bold social commentary (Knock at Any Door, Bigger than Life), war movies (the great Bitter Victory), and even high budget biblical cinema (King of Kings). He stopped directing regularly in the 1960s, but would return with unusual films such as his avant-garde take on America in We Can’t Go Home Again or the mockumentary Lightning over Water made (on his deathbed) with Wim Wenders.
1948 Żyją nocą / They Live by Night
1949 Pukać do każdych drzwi / Knock on Any Door
1950 Pustka / In a Lonely Place
1952 Nieokiełznani / The Lusty Men
1954 Johnny Guitar
1955 Buntownik bez powodu / Rebel without a Cause
1956 Ponad życie / Bigger than Life
1957 Prawdziwa historia Jesse Jamesa / The True Story of Jesse James
1957 Gorzkie zwycięstwo / Bitter Victory
1961 Król królów / King of Kings
1976 We Can’t Go Home Again
1980 Film Nicka / Lightning over Water