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The Blue Dahlia (1946)

Passed | | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery | 1 June 1946 (UK)
An ex-bomber pilot is suspected of murdering his unfaithful wife.


George Marshall


Raymond Chandler (original screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »




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


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


LADD'S HOT TEMPTED BY TWO WOMEN...TO KISS ONE!... AND KILL THE OTHER ONE!! (print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Tower Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - August 31, 1946 - all caps) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. Because of legal complications, it was not cleared for telecast in the USA until February 1962. It was released on DVD 10 June 2013 by Turner Classic Movies as part of the Universal Collection, and again 10 November 2014 as part of Universal's Film Noir Movie Spotlight Collection, and, since that time, has also enjoyed occasional cable TV presentations on Turner Classic Movies. 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 »


Eddie Harwood: I know I've got lots of faults, but being in love with you isn't one of them, is it?
See more »


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


The Blue Dahlia
Music by Bernie Wayne
Used instrumentally
See more »

User Reviews

Lovely noir from original Chandler script
4 June 2006 | by faraaj-1See all my reviews

This is a superb film noir which although not as famous as some of Bogart's is just as good.

It's the story of a ex-pilot who comes back from the war to find his wife has become a party girl and their son died because of her drunkenness. The same night that he leaves her, she is killed and he becomes the prime suspect.

The plot is quite good with plenty of twists and turns. All the characters are quite believable and the supporting cast does an excellent job - in particular William Bendix. There is also a lot of subtle humor.

This is one of seven outings for Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. I had seen him in Shane before and he's quite good here. Veronica Lake, who I had heard a lot about, has a small role and she does not play a femme fatale. I'd like to see some more of the Ladd-Lake outings given my impression from this one.

By the way, anyone who says this is a murder-mystery and not a noir doesn't know what they're talking about! The camera-work and lighting are excellent. You have the seedy hotel rooms, most of the filming is night-time and indoors L.A. and Ladd plays the lead who finds himself set-up for the fall. One note of criticism: the confession scene where the killer is confronted didn't really ring true and was overacted.

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Release Date:

1 June 1946 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Blue Dahlia See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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