With his weary romanticism, Humphrey Bogart was made for Nicholas Ray, and together they produced two taut thrillers (the other was Knock on Any Door). In this one (1950, 94 min.), Bogart is an artistically depleted Hollywood screenwriter whose charm is inextricable from his deep emotional distress. He falls for a golden girl across the way, Gloria Grahame, who in turn helps him face a murder charge. Grahame and Ray were married, but they separated during the shooting, and the screen breakup of the Bogart-Grahame romance consciously incorporates elements of Ray’s personality (he even used the site of his first Hollywood apartment as Bogart’s home in the film). The film’s subject is the attractiveness of instability, and Ray’s self-examination is both narcissistic and sharply critical, in fascinating combination. It’s a breathtaking work, and a key citation in the case for confession as suitable material for art.