The Blue Dahlia
is an American film noir
directed by George Marshall
and written by Raymond Chandler
. The film marks the third pairing of stars Alan Ladd
and Veronica Lake
Johnny (Alan Ladd
) returns home from the military with buddies Buzz (William Bendix
) and George (Hugh Beaumont
) to find his wife Helen (Doris Dowling
) kissing her new boyfriend, Eddie Harwood (Howard Da Silva
), the owner of the Blue Dahlia nightclub.
Helen admits her alcoholism caused their son's death. George pulls a gun on her but decides she's not worth it. Later, Helen is found dead and Johnny is the prime suspect. Johnny teams up with Joyce (Veronica Lake), the estranged wife of Eddie Harwood, to help clear his name.
The staff at Variety
magazine gave the film a positive review and wrote, "Playing a discharged naval flier returning home from the Pacific first to find his wife unfaithful, then to find her murdered and himself in hiding as the suspect, Alan Ladd does a bangup job. Performance has a warm appeal, while in his relentless track down of the real criminal, Ladd has a cold, steel-like quality that is potent. Fight scenes are stark and brutal, and tremendously effective.
Critic Dennis Schwartz called the film, "A fresh smelling film noir directed with great skill by George Marshall from the screenplay of Raymond Chandler (the only one he ever wrote for the screen, his other films were adapted from his novels). It eschews moral judgment in favor of a hard-boiled tale that flaunts its flowery style as its way of swimming madly along in LA's postwar boom and decadence.
- Academy Awards: Oscar, Best Writing, Original Screenplay, Raymond Chandler; 1947.
The Black Dahlia
Real life aspiring actress and 1947 murder victim Elizabeth Short
may have been given the name the "Black Dahlia
" as a play on this film's title. Universal Studios
, the current rights-holder to this film, released The Black Dahlia
based on Short's murder.