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The Blue Dahlia [DVD]
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Classic crime drama directed by George Marshall. When demobbed serviceman Johnny Morrison (Alan Ladd) comes home to Hollywood from the war, he discovers his wife Helen (Doris Dowling) has been having an affair with local nightclub owner Eddie Harwood (Howard Da Silva). After also learning his young son has been killed in a car accident caused by Helen's drink driving, Johnny pulls a gun on his wife before storming out. The next morning, upon hearing that Helen has been murdered and that he is the prime suspect, Johnny recruits Eddie's wife Joyce (Veronica Lake) and two old army buddies to help him find the real killer and clear his name.
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
BRILLIANT b&w crime drama not seen it for many a year but now can watch when ever I fancy so classic movie story linePublished 2 months ago by David Mee
A great film, Ladd and Lake had a magic chemistry but well acted throughout. Good story that Raymond Chandler had a hand in.Published 9 months ago by Rodney Mitchell
The Blue Dahlia is a classic example of Film Noir with a script Raymond Chandler is supposed to have written while on an extended drinking binge ... Read morePublished 15 months ago by James Kevin Wilkins
This film is from the fortees so only people from my generation will remember the stars as they are long dead, Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd they teamed these two up together for a... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Shirley Steadman
This little known Film Noir classic is a little gem of a movie. Not having seen it for many years, I was pleased I purchased this because I just love the golden oldies. Read morePublished 16 months ago by E. A. Redfearn
This is one of my favourite Alan & Veronica pairings, brilliant film noire, could watch these film over & over..Published 19 months ago by Emilie Fearn