Later, Clifford Odets penned The Big Knife and, like Minnelli, based his characters on recognizable Hollywood figures. The story of a legitimate actor who sells out to Hollywood, The Big Knife featured a ruthless, immoral, and short-sighted studio head, who was based on Harry Cohn.
More tragic than these two melodrama s was Nicholas Ray’s 1950 film noir In a Lonely Place. Humphrey Bogart plays screenwriter Dixon Steele, who is as hard and cynical as his name implies from years of prostituting his talent to the studio system. He uncovers one last chance at love, which revives his talent and work ethic. But, his good fortune with a worthy woman also means he has something lose, which brings out the worst in him. The fate awaiting Steele is likely that of the washed-up actor in the film who has been used up and then cast aside by the industry.