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The Blue Dahlia [DVD]

4.1 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, William Bendix, Howard Da Silva, Doris Dowling
  • Directors: George Marshall
  • Writers: Raymond Chandler
  • Producers: George Marshall, John Houseman
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Universal
  • DVD Release Date: 12 Feb. 2007
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000M06GQA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,167 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Classic Raymond Chandler noir about a demobbed serviceman whose wife has loosened her morals during the war years. Johnny Morrison (Alan Ladd) comes home from the war and discovers his wife, Helen (Doris Dowling), has been doing her bit on the home front, sure enough. Eddie Harwood (Howard Da Silva), owner of the local nightclub, for one, seems to have had an easier war under her ministrations. He goes off like a cheap Chinese pistol on her one night and storms out of their house. Helen gets wacked the same night and Johnny's in the frame. His only chance of avoiding doing bird is to find the real killer himself. The amoral Eddie's wife Joyce (Veronica Lake) and two old army buddies volunteer to help him. The film suffers not a bit for the fact that Raymond Chandler apparently wrote the script (his first written exclusively for the screen) roaring drunk from start to finish!

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The Blue Dahlia is directed by George Marshall and written by Raymond Chandler. It stars Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, William Bendix & Howard Da Silva. Plot sees Ladd playing a navy officer who returns home to his unfaithful wife after fighting in the South Pacific. When she is found murdered he is the number one suspect, he must find who is responsible before it's too late.

Legend has it that Paramount Pictures were so pleased about the success of Double Indemnity, and in particular Raymond Chandler's writing on it, they handed the writer a contract, where, he produced this tightly wound film noir piece. Nominated for an Academy Award, Chandler had in fact had to give up his teetotaller way of life (he was a recovering alcoholic) so as to gain inspiration for the story. Also of note is that his original ending was shelved after objections by the U.S. Military Department, shame, because I believe that an already good film could have been a better one with Chandler's original denouement. Oh well, what's left is still rather rewarding to the genre faithful.

After This Gun for Hire and The Glass Key, this was the third pairing of Alan Ladd & Veronica Lake. Their working chemistry set in stone, it's nice that the film doesn't solely rely on the pair to make Chandler's material work. True enough their scenes have a tenderness to them, acting as a sort of warm place to go to when the harsher aspects in the plot hit home hard, but the film is far more than just the Ladd & Lake show. What marks it out as a worthy point of reference in the film noir cycle, is that it delves into the psyche of the servicemen returning home from the war. Observing how they were being received and showing that some of them also carried emotional scars as well as those ones gained in battle.
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Format: DVD
"Bourbon, straight, with a bourbon chaser." That's Johnny Morrison's drink. Johnny's just been discharged from the Navy, along with two of his pals who were under his command. There's George Copeland (Hugh Beaumont), easy going and loyal, and Buzz Wancheck (William Bendix), big and burly, just as loyal to Johnny as George is, with a metal plate in his head, a variable memory and who sometimes goes into rages.

Johnny leaves his two pals in a Los Angeles hotel and goes to The Cavendish Court in the evening to meet his wife, Helen (Doris Dowling). The Cavendish is a high priced hotel with private bungalows, a careless attitude about parties and an aging security man who doesn't mind taking a few under-the-table dollars for various services. Johnny finds his wife, alright. He learns quickly what her philosophy is. "I take all the drinks I like, any time, any place," Helen Morrison says at one point. "I go where I want to with anybody I want. I just happen to be that kind of a girl." She's giving a drunken party at her bungalow. Before long Johnny sees her being too friendly with Eddie Harwood (Howard De Silva), a well-dressed hood and owner of The Blue Dahlia nightclub. Johnny punches Harwood and leaves in a cold rage. He's picked up by a blonde in a convertible. "You oughta have more sense than to take chances with strangers like this," he tells her. "It's funny," she says, "but practically all the people I know were strangers when I met them." The next morning he hears on the radio that his wife has been murdered with his gun, and he's being hunted by the cops.

What's he going to do? In this first-rate murder mystery, Johnny decides to find the killer himself. His wife might have been a tramp, but she was his wife. Trouble is, there are a lot of possible murderers.
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Alan Ladd is terrific as always with great supporting cast. Makes you forget they are acting, so just enjoy.
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Black Dahlia or Blue Dahlia?

Well this film the Blue Dahlia preceded the real 'Black Dahlia' killing by a year, food for thought? Although there was no connection except for the 'Dahlia' name part, I guess many people who have seen 'Dahlia' style films such as L.A. Confidential and the De Palma Black Dahlia film, will no doubt be curious as to what this film has to offer.

I find these old 40's and 50's noir genre films very useful tools for research, as I like to write in this style. So I guess I look at them more analytically than just watching them as films for films sake.

Some reviewers have given less than flattering reviews to this film, but it has many good points I feel and as good as many other films of the era, it does take a whilet to get going but when it gets on rails, it goes.

There are some good scenarios and charachter back stories, the Buzz charachter for instance has a medical condition from a war injury which is treated in a kind of Christie-esque 'ABC murders' way, I won't give the plot away, but suffice to say that 'Buzz' becomes a candidiate for murder - so acquaint yourself with the Agatha Christie ABC Murdes case, which will help you understand that part of the film.

The Blue Dahlia story is pacy, remember this is 1946, not 2006, much less was permissable on screen then so the writing had to be clever. This film really has the 'Cluedo' feel about it, you know the main charachter didn't do it, so you have to work out who did.
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