In a Lonely Place

Dixon "Dix" Steele is a down-on-his-luck Hollywood screenwriter who has not had a successful movie since before World War II. While driving to meet his agent, Mel Lippman, Dix's explosive temper is revealed when, at a stoplight, he engages with another motorist in a confrontation that almost becomes violent. Meeting with Mel at a nightclub, Dix is cajoled into adapting a book for a movie. The hat-check girl, Mildred Atkinson, is engrossed in reading the copy meant for Dix; since she only has a few pages left to go, she asks to be allowed to finish it. Dix claims to be too tired to read the novel, so he asks Mildred to go home with him to explain the plot. As they enter the courtyard of his apartment, they pass a new tenant, Laurel Gray. Mildred describes the story, confirming what Dix had suspected—the book is no good. Rather than drive her home as promised, he gives her cab fare instead.