The Blue Dahlia (1946) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Blue Dahlia (1946)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Blue Dahlia Photos

Movie Info

At the end of WWII, a veteran returns to Los Angeles and becomes a murder suspect when his adulterous wife is found dead. Helped by a beautiful blonde, he tries to avoid the police while looking for the killer. Raymond Chandler wrote the screenplay for this moody, hard-boiled film noir.

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Alan Ladd
as Johnny Morrison
Veronica Lake
as Joyce Harwood
William Bendix
as Buzz Wanchek
Howard Da Silva
as Eddie Harwood
Doris Dowling
as Helen Morrison
Tom Powers
as Capt. Hendrickson
Hugh Beaumont
as George Copeland
Will Wright
as `Dad' Newell
Frank Faylen
as The Man
Mae Busch
as Jenny the maid
Gloria Williams
as Assistant Maid
Harry Hayden
as Mr. Hughes, the Assistant Hotel Manager
George Barton
as Cab Driver
Harry Barris
as Bellhop
Paul Gustine
as Doorman
Roberta Jonay
as Girl Hotel Clerk
Dick Winslow
as Piano Player at Party
Anthony Caruso
as Marine Corporal
Matt McHugh
as Bartender
Arthur Loft
as the Wolf
Milton Kibbee
as Night Hotel Clerk
Stan Johnson
as Naval Officer
Henry Vroom
as Master Sergeant
Harry Tyler
as Clerk in Bus Station
Jack Clifford
as Plainclothesman
George Sorel
as Paul, the Captain of Waiters
James Millican
as Photographer
Albert Ruiz
as Photographer
Leon Lombardo
as Mexican Bellhop
Nina Borget
as Mexican Waitress
Bea Allen
as News Clerk
Perc Launders
as Hotel Clerk
Jimmie Dundee
as Driver of Gangster Car
Tom Dillon
as Prowl Car Cop
Dick Elliott
as Motor Court Owner
Clark Eggleston
as Elevator Operator
George Carleton
as Clerk at DeAnza Hotel
Jack Gargan
as Cab Driver
Franklin Parker
as Police Stenographer
Noel Neill
as Hat Check Girl
Mavis Murray
as Hat Check Girl
Brooke Evans
as Party Guest
Ernie S. Adams
as Joe, Man in Coveralls
Carmen Clifford
as Party Guest
Audrey Westphal
as Party Guest
Thomas P. Dillon
as Prowl Car Cop
Lucy Knoch
as Party Guest
Audrey Korn
as Party Guest
Beverly Thompson
as Party Guest
Jerry James
as Party Guest
Charles Mayon
as Party Guest
William Meader
as Party Guest
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Critic Reviews for The Blue Dahlia

All Critics (11)

It knows its own weight and size perfectly and carries them gracefully and without self-importance; it is, barring occasional victories and noble accidents, about as good a movie as can be expected from the big factories.

June 23, 2021 | Full Review…

Alan Ladd and William Bendix are in rare form, and Miss Lake is seen to best advantage in many a film.

March 30, 2021 | Full Review…

The finale is smartly unpredictable, though by the time the killer is revealed, some of the steam and intensity has dissipated.

August 2, 2020 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…

Exciting thriller.

October 21, 2004 | Rating: B | Full Review…

One of the better examples of film noir.

September 9, 2004 | Rating: 4/5

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.

Devon Bott
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.

xGary Xx
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.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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