Bogart as screenwriter, Dixon "Dix" Steele
In 1950, Hollywood produced three amazing films revealing a dark side to show business: Sunset Boulevard, All About Eve, and In a Lonely Place. In my opinion, Sunset Boulevard and All About Eve are the much stronger films overall, but In a Lonely Place is certainly no slouch. Humphrey Bogart's electrifying performance as down-on-his-luck screenwriter, Dixon Steele, really makes In A Lonely Place a gem to watch. Add in Nicholas Ray's melodramatic directing touches and noir starlet Gloria Graham and you got the ingredients for a delicious cinematic treat. Like Sunset Boulevard, In a Lonely Place features a few Los Angeles area locations and I decided to track some of those locations down.
The film opens with Bogart driving. Bogart comes to a stop at an intersection and turns to a pretty girl who is sitting with her husband in the next lane over. On a hunch, I figured that this intersection would be in Beverly Hills, so using Google Street View, I picked a commercial street and started comparing the buildings to the screenshot below. I couldn't have been more lucky. I found the intersection after scrolling just three blocks from my starting point. The intersection is North Beverly Drive at South Santa Monica Boulevard. The way I spotted this was from the unique detailing on the building which I've circled with the red oval.
N. Beverly Drive at S. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills
N. Beverly Drive at S. Santa Monica, Beverly Hills
The only building still standing at this intersection that can be seen in the film is the one that I've circled. The rest have been torn down and replaced. The next two comparisons give a different view of the intersection.
Bogart at the intersection of Beverly & Santa Monica
Looking south down Beverly Boulevard. The store in the background is now replaced by a modern glass building.
Looking south down Beverly Boulevard.
Looking north up Beverly Boulevard.
Looking north up Beverly Boulevard.
One interesting note about In a Lonely Place, is that Nicholas Ray modeled the set of Bogart's apartment building after the Villa Primavera apartments in West Hollywood, the same apartment building Ray lived at when he first came to Hollywood. Although the apartment courtyard and interiors were recreated on a soundstage, in one scene we do get a glimpse of what is across the street from the actual apartment location. In the screenshot below, Bogart is walking up to the entrance of the Villa Primavera apartments located at 1300 North Harper Avenue. The view in the background is the intersection of Harper and Fountain Avenue.
Bogart at the Villa Primavera apartments.
Fountain Ave at Harper, West Hollywood
Bogart in the apartment courtyard.
The apartment is gated, but below is the entrance to the Villa Primavera apartments. You can see a fountain in the center by looking through the gate, similar to the one Ray recreated on a soundstage.
1300 N. Harper Ave, West Hollywood
Later in the film Bogart is seen leaving the Beverly Hills post office which is located directly across from the Beverly Hills City Hall building. Below is a screenshot of Bogart and the City Hall building. As of present, the area between City Hall and the Post Office is fenced off and under construction, so I couldn't get a good photo of the City Hall building. Instead, I have a Google Street View screenshot for comparison.
Bogart in front of Beverly Hills City Hall
Beverly Hills City Hall (c) Google 2011
In another scene, Bogart is taken into the Beverly Hills Police Station for questioning in a murder case. Below, Bogart is seen leaving the police station, which is a side entrance to the City Hall building. Today the bushes have been cut away and now palm trees have been planted in front of the entrance.
Bogart leaves the Beverly Hills police station.
Side entrance to Beverly Hills City Hall.
Below is a scene of Bogart driving off with Gloria Graham after a beach picnic. In the background we see the Canyon Market, located at the intersection of Chautauqua Blvd, Channel Road and the Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica. Just below the screenshot is a historic photograph of the Canyon Market that gives us a better view of how this intersection once looked. Following that image is a photo I took showing how the intersection looks today. I believe the building that is standing there today is the same building, only greatly modified.
Photo Credit: Santa Monica Public Library Image Archives
Former site of Canyon Market, Santa Monica
As Bogart drives off in a rage, another building we see him pass is the Casino Lunch building. This is located across the street from the Canyon Market building. Below is the screenshot of the Casino Lunch building as seen in the film. Below that is a historic photo providing a better view of the Casino Lunch building, followed by a photo I took showing the intersection as it appears today.
Bogart drives by the Casino Lunch building in Santa Monica.
Photo (c) California Historical Society
Former site of Casino Lunch, Santa Monica
Of the three show biz related 1950 films, Sunset Boulevard, All About Eve, and In a Lonely Place, what's your favorite? (I say "show biz" because I know All About Eve is more about Broadway than Hollywood.)