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The Blue Dahlia

The Blue Dahlia (1946)


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Release Date: Apr 19, 1946 Wide



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Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 982

My Rating

Movie Info

This neat, fast-paced perfectly cast film noir reflects the hard-boiled, grim wit of the author of its screenplay, Raymond Chandler. Johnny Morrison (Alan Ladd) returns from the war to find his wife Helen (Doris Dowling) having a party and in the arms of another man. Johnny and Helen have a terrible fight, and later Helen is found dead. Johnny must prove his innocence and he enlists the aid of Joyce Haywood (Veronica Lake), the ex-wife of Helen's lover. Pursued by the cops, and never sure if he


Mystery & Suspense

Raymond Chandler

Mar 26, 1996

Paramount Pictures

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All Critics (13) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (0) | DVD (1)

Exciting thriller.

October 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

One of the better examples of film noir.

September 9, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for The Blue Dahlia

Returning home after WWII, a GI (Alan Ladd) and his two buddies (William Bendix, Hugh Beaumont) get mixed up in some nefarious business. Alan Ladd plays Johnny Morrison, who's come home to an alcholic, two-timing wife that shows interest only in drinking, partying and her nightclub owner boyfriend Eddie. When she reveals to Johnny that it was her drunk driving that was responsible for their son's death, he leaves her to never come back. The next morning, she's found dead, and a manhunt for Johnny ensues. But who murdered his wife? Was it Eddie, the man with the dark past back east, or perhaps it was even his army buddy Buzz (Bendix), whose war wound causes him to lose his mind everytime he hears loud music? And where does Eddie's wife (Veronica Lake) fit into all this? Is she a co-conspirator or is her meeting with Johnny just a coincidence?

With it's tough guy lead, bizarre affectations and lurid situations, The Blue Dahlia is just about as pulpy as it gets. The William Bendix character is quite memorable, but I feel like the Eddie Harwood character is the most understated of the lot. He's clearly meant to be the bad guy of the film, but he's one of the least violent characters of the lot. He also seems to have gotten in over his head with the events surrounding him, and he's clearly trying to wrestle loose of them. In fact, this might be one of the only noire films where the true villain of the picture was the victim herself. The wife (Doris Dowling) is a truly unrepentant figure, even going so far as to laugh in her husband's face as she decribes the death of their son. The conclusion of the film and the actual reveal of the killer are a little unsatisfying for my taste, but let's not quibble over the destination when the journey was so much fun.
March 29, 2012
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

A navy flier returns from the South Pacific with two army buddies, but when his wife is found murdered he finds himself on the run and in search of the real killer. I had high hopes for The Blue Dahlia, penned as it was by Raymond Chandler but I was left a little disappointed. The partnership of Ladd and Lake worked well but I didn't think they spent enough time on screen together and Lake's character was a little irrelevant to the rather workmanlike plot. All the scenes that involved Ladd playing the tough guy were great though and the villains of the piece had a lot of character. The supporting cast were a little guilty of hamminess (especially the admittedly attractively sultry Doris Dowling) but as a whole it hung together thanks to a strong central performance by the star. I just felt it lacked the edginess of the best Noirs.
August 2, 2011
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

The story of a man who must prove his innocence in a murder case. It's a story you've seen before, but this movie is enjoyable anyway.
October 23, 2010

Super Reviewer

As it usually happens, yet again another Black & White flick that I was avoiding for so long turns out to be quite good. William Bendix is quite entertaining as Buzz Wanchek. He truly steals the show. His dialogues are incredibly penned & his dialogue delivery is equally incredible. The best one is the sequence of his conversation (accompanied by his friend Captain Hendrickson, played by Tom Powers) with the house keeper. I lol'd (& I mean it literally here) when they refer to him as house-peeper.

The story is quite engaging & well done till the disappointing climax. The revelation of who-dun-it turned out to be quite disappointing for me. But I read that the writer had to change it owing to certain pressures (if I reveal what it is, it'd be a major spoiler; which I'd not prefer), so now it's understandable. Then again, with the original ending, it'd have made it all quite predictable.

While I wouldn't consider it as a must watch, it's surely quite enjoyable.
July 31, 2010

Super Reviewer

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