Here we are with a new release of the 1946 noir, The Blue Dahlia, starring Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake and William Bendix.
Alan Ladd plays Johnny Morrison, a returning WWII vet, who comes to find his wife with her boyfriend, Eddie Harwood. Furious, he leaves her, briefly considering shooting her, but decides against it and leaves the gun behind. The next day, she is discovered murdered, and he goes on the run, since the police suspect him. While he tries to look into what happened, he is helped by Joyce Harwood (Veronica Lake), who, unknown to him, is the wife of Eddie Harwood.
Apparently, this movie was put together in fairly short order. Star Alan Ladd was one of the more popular stars at Paramount, and he had been called back to active service in the military at that time. Raymond Chandler, best known as the author of various mysteries, including The Big Sleep and Farewell My Lovely (both of which had recent movie versions at this time), wrote the screenplay. Apparently, for a while it wasn’t coming quick enough, so he was able to wrangle the opportunity to work from home and drink heavily to do it, since he said he did his best writing that way (and apparently, it worked, as he finished the script in time for them to finish filming before Alan Ladd had to go).
I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what the movie would be like, going in. I have had little experience with either of the two main stars, and mainly know William Bendix from other comedic roles. The movie surprised me, and I ended up enjoying it. I didn’t quite expect the ending, which isn’t really a bad thing! Of course, from what I have read, they were forced to change the original, planned ending (which caused some delay in filming), but, considering the fact that, from what I have read, that would have been the ending I saw coming, I’ll take it, as it still makes enough sense to me! So I very heartily recommend this movie to fans of film noir!
The movie is available on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory and on DVD from Universal, and is about one hour, forty minutes in length.
My Rating: 10/10 (note: my rating here is strictly for the movie itself. The transfer for the Blu-ray itself would lower the points a little, since it is not as good as it could be, mostly with different specks and whatnot here and there, but that is the fault of Universal, who licensed the movie out to Shout. That being said, it was not so bad as to distract from the movie itself, which, as you can tell from my rating, I thoroughly enjoyed.)