review for The Blue Dahlia on AllMovie

The Blue Dahlia (1946)
by Brendon Hanley review

Though many of Raymond Chandler's books were turned into films (Murder My Sweet, The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye) and he himself adapted other writers' novels into screenplays (Double Indemnity, Strangers on a Train), the only work that the author ever wrote directly for the screen was Blue Dahlia. It's fitting, then, that the film is laden with the fast-paced dialogue, disillusioned attitude, hard-boiled men, and mysterious women common to Chandler's work. Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake, who appeared in seven successful films together in the 1940s, are the usual suspects this time around, and both performers play up their strong suits: Ladd acts steely, and Lake looks as seductive as ever. Mostly known for his comedies, director George Marshall did surprisingly well with the film noir material, particularly at a time when the genre was at its peak. In historical context, The Blue Dahlia is an above-average, enjoyable post-war mystery with little to distinguish it from other films of its time. The film would be John Houseman's first success as a Hollywood producer; he was previously best-known for his stage productions. Chandler would be nominated for a second Academy Award for screenplay (his first being Double Indemnity).