director George Marshall
Hm. The Blue Dahlia. Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, original screenplay by Raymond Chandler. Sounds like noir gold, right?
Oddly, though, the convoluted plot, which apparently went through some changes through production, winds up being the kind of thing that modern noir satirists seeming send up.
Three navy buddies show back up at home in LA eager to get back to life as they knew it before the War. Ladd’s Johnny Morrison though has a beautiful but straying wife (Doris Dowling) who is hooked up with the owner of a bar called The Blue Dahlia (Howard Da Silva). And after a contentious interaction, the dame gets knocked off, see? And it looks like Johnny done it. Or maybe it was bar owner Eddie? Or maybe Johnny’s PTSD-throttled pal Buzz (William Bendix)? Or Veronica Lake, wife of bar owner Eddie?
You know, this is one of those noirs that I’ve intended to see for ages, recommended by a friend, I think, because of Ladd and Lake. Lake is quite the babe. But I’ve liked her a lot better in Sullivan’s Travels (1941) and I Married a Witch (1942). I’ve got to wonder if This Gun for Hire (1942) or The Glass Key (1942), both of which she was also paired with Alan Ladd are better noirs.
Frankly, this one was kind of disappointing.