Dir. Nicholas Ray. Humphrey Bogart plays Dix Steele, not an overconfident pornographic actor as the name suggests, but a once successful Hollywood screenwriter looking for his next hit. Dix is cursed with possessing both a crime writers’ fascination with the mechanics of murder, and a cruel violent streak that poisons his relationships with his colleagues, friends, and romantic partners. Presented and scored as a gritty film noir, the predominantly domestic setting creates more of a tragic, mournful atmosphere, rather than the seductive dark glamor of other film noirs. Gloria Grahame is Laurel Gray, the sympathetic neighbour attracted to Dix’s “nice face” – her lightness and easy grace buoys the heavy and occasionally over serious Bogart performance. The night club scene is unforgettable, not only for the music, but in a film largely about writing and dialogue, the filmmakers’ confidence in dropping the sound of our star’s conversation, leaving us with the sublime voice of jazz singer Hadda Brooks.