7.2/10
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79 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:

Tamed by a brunette - framed by a blonde - blamed by the cops! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 June 1946 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Blue Dahlia 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

Elizabeth Short got the nickname "The Black Dahlia" from a bartender at a Long Beach bar she frequented. This film was playing at a theater down the street, and the bartender got the name wrong. Elizabeth picked up on that and kept the nickname, adding a flower to her hair to complete the transformation. She was murdered the next year (1947). The local newspapers dubbed the case the "Black Dahlia" as a morbid twist on this film's title. Unlike the movie, the Short murder case is still unsolved. See more »

Goofs

George tells the detective that he is a lawyer. If so, this means that he has an extended or advanced degree and would have been an officer. As he was not the pilot of the plane the trio flew (presumably a Grumman TBF Avenger), this would have made George an enlisted man. Either George was lying about being a lawyer (which appears unlikely) or he intentionally joined the Navy as an enlisted man. See more »

Quotes

Johnny Morrison: [to the partygoers] Seems I've lost my manners or would anyone here know the difference?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive
(1944) (uncredited)
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Sung by party guests
See more »

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User Reviews

The black Dahlia
3 July 2004 | by cyril1974See all my reviews

Johnny Morrison (Alan Ladd) and his two friends (including a good and funny William Bendix) are coming back in town after serving in the navy during WWII. While his two friends find a place for themselves, Johnny returns to his home to see his wife and his son he hasn't seen for years. There, his wife is having a party with a dozen of friends in which her lover, Eddie Harwood, is also invited. After an argument, during which Johnny threatens his wife with his gun (after learning that she is unfaithful, alcoholic and that their son is dead by her fault), he leaves the place and his gun, judging that she is not worth a killing, to find a hotel for the night. That same rainy night, she is killed with Johnny's gun. For the Police, he becomes the first suspect of this crime.

I've heard a lot about this movie (a classic of film noir with the legendary couple Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake) without being able to see it for years. I just saw this movie tonight at the Oak Street Cinema in Minneapolis. Overall the movie is good thanks to a good plot (the scenario is signed Raymond Chandler, not quiet a coincidence). At first, I found the acting very poor and dated. Especially during the argument between Alan Ladd and his wife (played Doris Dowling). This was quiet a surprise for me because I met this actress in Othello (in which she has a small part) directed by Orson Welles, a director who generally hires only good actors. But as soon as you get into the story, the acting and the dialogues get better and you really want to know the name of the murderer (really I could not guess it!). After the plot, the scenes between Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake are what make the movie worth to remember. Frustrating enough for the most romantic of us, you won't see them kiss each other during this movie, even at the end (this was probably not allowed on screen at the time when the movie was made). It is also hard to tell if the Dahlias in the movie were actually blue since it was filmed in black and white. Finally, yes, Veronica Lake is very beautiful.

This is good entertainment, I recommend it with a 7/10.


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