A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
When Johnny comes home from the navy he finds his wife Helen kissing her substitute boyfriend Eddie, the owner of the Blue Dahlia nightclub. Helen admits her drunkenness caused their son's death. He pulls a gun on her but decides she's not worth it. Later, Helen is found dead and Johnny is the prime suspect. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Many of the cars in the film have a "B" sticker on the windshields. This is a reflection of the wartime rationing of gasoline. Gas was rationed primarily to save rubber, because Japan had occupied Indochina, Malaysia, and Indonesia. (There was a shortage of gas on the East Coast until a pipeline from Texas was constructed to replace the transport of crude oil by sea.) The B sticker was the second lowest category, entitling the holder to only 8 gallons of gas a week. See more »
After arriving home, Morrison is asked what he flew, and he says a Liberator. While the Navy did fly two variations of the B-24 Liberator, they were used mainly for anti-sub/anti-ship and reconnaissance work. The later PB4Y-2 version, such as he would have flown towards the end of the war, was called a Privateer, not a Liberator. It also had a crew of eleven, whereas Morrison's crew was only three. The Grumman Avenger was a widely-used Navy bomber that had a crew of three, so it was likely that is what his character had flown. See more »
[sitting with Johnny in a convertible in the hills overlooking Los Angeles]
It takes a lot of lights to make a city, doesn't it?
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Third Ladd/Lake pairing not all it's cracked up to be
The Blue Dahlia is among the dozen or so titles that movie buffs would identify instantly as film noir. Certainly, it boasts all the proper credentials: Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake reunited for their third outing together (after This Gun For Hire and The Glass Key); a sinister supporting cast including William Bendix, Howard Da Silva and Hugh Beaumont; and an original screenplay by none other than Raymond Chandler.
It almost lives up to its reputation. Returning Navy hero Ladd finds that the wife he left behind has turned into (or always was) a faithless party girl, who killed their young son in a drunken accident. He walks out on her, later to learn she's been murdered. Hunted by the police, he's befriended by Lake, who turns out to be rather intimately involved in much of what happened....
Many noirs suffered from studio-imposed "happy" endings but generally kept their integrity until the closing few frames. The changes wrought on The Blue Dahlia, however, severely compromise it. Chandler's original killer was to be Ladd's war-buddy Bendix, the loose cannon with a steel plate in his head, erupting in pounding headaches and blackout rages whenever he hears "jungle music" -- the sexually liberating beat of postwar prosperity. Rejecting this ending as an insult to the gallant men who had won the war, Paramount, pressured by the Navy, forced Chandler to resort to a lame "the-butler-did-it" conclusion. Unfortunately, that compromise splashes back through the length of the movie, making little sense of Bendix' performance -- even of his presence, except as the rankest of red herrings -- and turning what might have been a topical and disturbing film noir into just another glossy '40s murder mystery.
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