Dix Steele (Humphrey Bogart) is a famous Hollywood screenwriter, known for his hot temper and frequent violent outbursts. He takes home the coat check girl that he meets in a restaurant. When she is found dead in a ditch the next morning, Dix is the prime suspect. He is taken in for questioning. He is provided an unexpected alibi, when the beautiful blonde from an apartment across the courtyard, Laurel (Gloria Grahame), admits she is obsessed with him and she has been watching him. She saw the girl leave, and is sure Dix did not leave again before she fell asleep.
After meeting at the police station, Dix and Laurel enter a rapid romance.She loves him but fears his violent temper. One night, after a minor traffic incident, Dix brutally beats the other driver. Laurel resolves to leave him. The next morning, Dix shows up at her apartment saying he wants to fly to Las Vegas and get married that night. Laurel is too frightened to tell him no. They have an engagement dinner with friends that evening. At the restaurant, Dix gets angry and punches his agent in the face. In the commotion, Laurel takes a cab home and prepares to flee.
Dix reaches her apartment before she has left. He becomes angry that she is not wearing the engagement ring. The phone rings, Dix answers, and it is the airline confirming her flight to New York. Dix realizes she is running from him, and becomes furious. He begins choking her. The phone rings again, and Dix answers. It is the police calling to let him know the real killer has confessed. Dix is no longer a suspect, but his relationshop with Laurel is over. As Dix leaves, Laurel repeats a line from Dix's screenplay, "I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me."
Thanks Joseph C.!