A screenwriter, suspected of murder, falls for his neighbor, a witness who clears him of the crime.
Now, with Bogie firmly entrenched as a screen legend, it is difficult to fully realize what a risky role this was for him at the time. The character Dixon Steele is remarkably dark with anger problems of which the film never exonerates him, and Bogie plays the part with courage and honesty. He's not just a venerable Hollywood personality; he's a really good actor.
The film itself is also quite risky. The "lonely place" referenced in the title not only refers to the place where the hatcheck girl is killed but also to the creative space in which a writer works. And in Hollywood the writer's ability to control how his work is presented in quite limited, and it is in this place that the emasculation of Steele begins. Hollywood is not presented as a glamorous, glitzy place; rather, art suffers under the pressures of money-men and ego.
However, I did think that the murder plot could have been better handled. By the end of the film we don't care who killed the girl, and if these plots could have been more seamlessly intertwined, then In a Lonely Place would be a true masterpiece.