7.2/10
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78 user 39 critic

The Blue Dahlia (1946)

Not Rated | | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery | 1 June 1946 (UK)
An ex-bomber pilot is suspected of murdering his unfaithful wife.

Director:

George Marshall
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Alan Ladd ... Johnny Morrison
Veronica Lake ... Joyce Harwood
William Bendix ... Buzz Wanchek
Howard Da Silva ... Eddie Harwood
Doris Dowling ... Helen Morrison
Tom Powers ... Capt. Hendrickson
Hugh Beaumont ... George Copeland
Howard Freeman ... Corelli
Don Costello ... Leo
Will Wright ... 'Dad' Newell
Frank Faylen ... Man Recommending a Motel
Walter Sande ... Heath
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Double dame trouble! Double-barrelled action! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 June 1946 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

La dalia azul See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,700,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the reasons that Veronica Lake was selected to star opposite Alan Ladd was because of her height. Ladd was a notably short leading man (5' 6"), and Lake's similarly diminutive stature (4' 11") meant that the filmmakers did not have to make Ladd appear taller by comparison. At the same time, Ladd resented Doris Dowling, who played his wife in the film, because she was half a foot taller than him, and tried to have her replaced. The producers placated Ladd by having Dowling sitting or lying down during all her scenes with him. See more »

Goofs

During the scene in the Blue Dahlia manager's office between Leo and Eddie, the moving shadow of the boom mic is visible on the wall above Eddie whilst he is seated in the armchair. See more »

Quotes

Eddie Harwood: Drink?
'Dad' Newell: Don't mind if I do but easy on the water.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Electra Glide in Blue (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

It's Easy to Remember
(1935) (uncredited)
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Sung in part by an uncredited actress at the Blue Dahlia
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good noir, good performances
22 July 2007 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"The Blue Dahlia" is a flower and a nightclub, both of which figure in the plot of this 1946 film starring Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, William Bendix and Howard da Silva. There's plenty of the busy, somewhat chaotic post-war atmosphere in this movie as war pals Johnny Morrison (Ladd), Buzz Wanchek (Bendix) and George Copeland (Hugh Beaumont) return from service. While the brain-damaged Buzz and Copeland get an apartment together, Morrison returns to his beautiful wife (Doris Dowling) whom he finds has been living a wild, party-filled existence and cheating on him with club owner Eddie Harwood (da Silva). Hurt and angry, Morrison, trying to get a cab in the rain, is picked up by none other than a beautiful blond named Joyce, who he does not know is actually Mrs. Harwood. After parting company, they both stay at the same inn without realizing it. The next morning, Morrison hears on the radio that his wife is dead, and the police are looking for him. On the run, and with some help from Joyce, Morrison tries to find out who really killed his wife.

This is a pretty good noir with a solid, effective performance from Ladd and excellent work by both Bendix and da Silva. There are plenty of suspects, too - viewers will have their pick. Though "The Blue Dahlia" is a decent noir, it's the frenetic post-war energy that makes it watchable rather than the story, which as one reviewer here pointed out, has the strange coincidence of Johnny being picked up by Mrs. Harwood. The other odd thing to this viewer, anyway, is the fact that the Bendix character is so obviously brain-damaged from the war (he has a plate in his head), yet no one seems to really pick up on it, or at least acknowledge it, until later in the film. He's told to pull himself together and allowed to drink. Meanwhile, loud music drives him nearly insane, and he suggests getting on a bus, not remembering he just got off of it.

The Veronica Lake role is criticized - it's true she doesn't have much to do; it's also true that not many people liked working with her; and that she wasn't the world's greatest actress (Raymond Chandler called her Moronica), but she and Ladd made a great, if short, team, and she was always beautiful to look at and listen to.

All in all, worth watching for one of the great noir teamings and some good performances.


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