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>
Some sources erroneously include Harold J. Stone in an undetermined, uncredited minor role; Stone does not appear in this film in any capacity. At the time it was filmed (in Hollywood), he was in New York City appearing on the stage in a prominent role in "A Bell for Adano" (1944-45). See more »
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 »
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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