A returned WW2 vet is suspected of murdering his unfaithful wife.
The Blue Dahlia has you thinking it is going somewhere but never does. A competent crime melodrama from an original screenplay by Raymond Chandler, teams Alan Ladd with Veronica Lake, but this is a minor picture. Some argue mistakenly in my view that the plot of a returning vet avenging the murder of his trampy wife makes the movie a film noir. There is no depth to the protagonists and the direction is pedestrian at best: Alan Ladd’s wooden persona flattens the drama and there is no tension.
There are some redeeming aspects though. The biggest is the presence of Veronica Lake: you just can’t get enough of her on the screen. As Alan Ladd says to her in the best line in the picture:
Every guy’s seen you before – somewhere.
The trick is to find you…
Chandler’s dialog is snappy, particularly the lines delivered by William Bendix as an injured vet. His performance is noteworthy as is the camp turn by Doris Dowling as the “murdered dame”.
For Veronica Lake fans.