Once Humphrey Bogart’s contract with Warner Bros. was up, he did not decide to sign a deal with MGM, Fox, or one of the other studios. Instead, he started his own production company called Santana Productions. This gave Bogart a freedom to make the projects he wanted to without the pressure from a studio. However, having a production company doesn’t get your films distributed, and instead of making a deal with Warner Bros. for that — where he had spent his career since the early 1930s and became the king of film noir – he went to Columbia Pictures. According to the book “Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart,” studio head Jack Warner was none too pleased about what he saw as throwing loyalty in the garbage.

Though Bogart was finished with his Warner contract, Lauren Bacall was not. She had the power of script approval, but that was only for movies within the WB system. If she was going to do something else, she needed Jack Warner’s approval. Bogart may have wanted Bacall to play the role of Laurel Gray in Nicholas Ray’s “In a Lonely Place,” but Warner was never going to let that happen due to the studio-jumping betrayal.

In the end, Gloria Grahame took on the role as the aspiring actress who starts a relationship with Bogart’s alcoholic screenwriter Dix Steele. Dramatically, I think this was actually the smarter move, because we have no history between Bogart and Grahame, making the combustions of that relationship over the course of the film far more unpredictable. We know Bogart and Bacall belong together, and a movie literally called “In a Lonely Place” can’t have that kind of safety net.