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>
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 »
After arriving home, Morrison is asked what he flew, and he says a Liberator. Whilst 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 »
[discovering his wife in close proximity to Harwood]
You've got the wrong lipstick on, Mister.
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The trailer for The Blue Dahlia advertised the film as Ladd, Lake, and Bendix. Not a mention about Raymond Chandler, maybe he wanted it that way.
The Blue Dahlia has mystery writer Raymond Chandler writing an original screenplay and Chandler delivers a good movie for the most part. Nice suspenseful noir film, but it could have been better.
The main weakness in the plot is Veronica Lake. Chandler couldn't stand her and called her Moronica Lake as a reflection of her acting ability. In fairness it's a poorly defined role and her meeting with Alan Ladd in this film is too too coincidental. I guess you had to give the star a love interest, but the idea that Ladd is hunting for the killer of his wife and just happens to come upon the wife of his number one suspect is way too unreal.
The number one suspect of the killing is Howard DaSilva. If I had to name the best performance in this film it would have to be DaSilva. He's the dapper, elegant owner of a Hollywood nightclub, but he exudes a menace that chills you. His best scene in the film is paying off blackmailer Will Wright. He pays him, THIS TIME. Wright gets the message he'd better not come back for more.
I believe it was Raymond Chandler who also said that Alan Ladd was a small boy's idea of a tough guy. That is unfair to Ladd who delivers a more than competent performance here as the returning war veteran who's on the hunt for his wife's killer while being suspected of the crime itself.
Check out Alan Ladd's scene at the farm with DaSilva's thugs. Very similar in the way they end up to how Bogart handled the baddies in The Big Sleep.
Bill Bendix gets in the top billing with stars Ladd and Lake because he's also a radio star because of the Life of Riley Show. Bendix and Hugh Beaumont are Ladd's wartime buddies and Bendix never was bad in any film he did. He shows signs of post traumatic stress at a time when that diagnosis had not been invented.
A bit too contrived, but a nice film noir.
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