The Blue Dahlia

Watch The Blue Dahlia

"Double dame trouble! Double-barrelled action!"
  • NR
  • 1946
  • 1 hr 40 min
  • 7.1  (9,403)

Set in post-World War II Hollywood, The Blue Dahlia is a classic film noir that follows returning war hero Johnny Morrison (Alan Ladd) as he searches for the truth behind his wife’s murder. His wife, Helen (Doris Dowling), is found dead in their home with a mysterious blue dahlia beside her body. The suspicion falls on Johnny as the prime suspect in the case, and he must clear his name and find the real killer. Alongside him, three loyal friends assist his quest: Buzz Wanchek (William Bendix), Eddie Harwood (Howard Da Silva), and George Copeland (Hugh Beaumont).

The film, directed by George Marshall, showcases the chemistry between Ladd and Lake as they come together to solve the case. Veronica Lake plays Johnny’s old flame and nightclub performer, Joyce Harwood, who may hold key information to uncovering the truth behind the murder. However, this rekindled romance is weighed down by the constant threat of danger that looms over the characters.

As Johnny delves deeper into the case, he discovers a web of lies, deceit and betrayal that stretches beyond what he ever expected. The film is a classic example of film noir, with its themes of love, greed, and murder that blur the lines between right and wrong. This story captures the mood of the post-war era in America, where soldiers struggled to adjust to life after returning from battle, and the allure of Hollywood promised a glitz and glamour that often masked deeper troubles below the surface.

The cinematography by Lionel Lindon offers beautifully crafted black-and-white visuals, highlighting the stark contrasts between light and dark. The film’s use of shadows and low-key lighting create an ominous and moody atmosphere, making every scene feel like it could erupt into violence at any moment. The atmosphere in The Blue Dahlia can be suffocating at times, as the tension builds and heightens the stakes.

The Blue Dahlia brings a sense of realism to its storyline, as the characters are believably flawed with their own motives and secrets that are slowly revealed throughout the film. Each character has a backstory that complicates their relationships with one another, adding depth to the story. The portrayal of women in the film is nuanced, highlighting the limited options available to them in post-war America.

The Blue Dahlia was highly acclaimed for its score by Victor Young, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture. The film’s alternate ending, which was shot and attached to prints after the initial release, could not save it from criticism over the film’s portrayal of alcoholism, and its predictable plot twists. However, it remains a classic example of film noir, with its timeless themes and expertly crafted cinematography.

In conclusion, The Blue Dahlia is a must-see for any film noir enthusiast. The combination of top-notch cinematography, storytelling, and acting from a talented cast make it an unforgettable cinematic experience. Its themes resonate even today, making it a timeless classic.

The Blue Dahlia is a 1946 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1.

The Blue Dahlia
Where to Watch The Blue Dahlia
The Blue Dahlia is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Blue Dahlia for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 40 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (9,403)