The Blue Dahlia

Director: George Marshall

Cast: Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, William Bendix, Howard da Silva, Doris Dowling, Hugh Beaumont, Tom Powers, Howard Freeman, Don Costello, Will Wright, Frank Faylen

In 1945 Los Angeles, Lt. Cmdr. Johnny Morrison (Ladd) returns home from the war with his Navy buddies George Copeland (Beaumont) and Buzz Wanchek (Bendix) and finds that his wife, Helen (Dowling), has been unfaithful. Helen confesses that she had been drinking when an accident claimed their son’s life while Johnny was away at the war. They argue in public and, after threatening her, Johnny walks away from her suite, leaving his service pistol behind. Joyce Harwood (Lake) finds Johnny walking about in the rain and gives him a ride to Malibu. When they say goodbye, Johnny tells her, “Every guy’s seen you before somewhere. The trick is to find you.” In a phone call, Buzz is told by Helen that Johnny has run off, and he goes looking for her to find out what’s going on. Helen is found murdered, with Johnny’s gun by her side, and Johnny becomes the prime suspect. Joyce, who turns out to be the estranged wife of Helen’s lover, Eddie, strikes up a relationship with Johnny and stands by him as he, with the help of his friends George and Buzz, eludes the Police and seeks the true killer. The Blue Dahlia is the name of a nightclub owned by Eddie Harwood (da Silva), a wealthy man, elegant and sinister, with criminal connections and a secret in his past. Screenplay by Raymond Chandler.

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