Blu-Ray Review: The Blue Dahlia

When it comes to the business of hard-boiled crime dramas and film noir in the 1930s to 1950s, Hollywood had some iconic leading men. When you think of the genre, the spectres of Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney loom large. Whilst Alan Ladd is best remembered for his performances in westerns such as Shane and This Gun for Hire, he was also well known for playing the tough guy. Although he lacked the physical presence of his peers, Ladd more than makes up for it in charisma and charm. However, in The Blue Dahlia he demonstrates that he’s not slow to get his hands dirty.

Johnny Morrison (Ladd), Buzz Wanchek (William Bendix) and George Copeland (Hugh Beaumont) are three discharged navy officers just arrived in Hollywood. Buzz is suffering from shell shock whilst Johnny is just keen to surprise his wife Helen (Doris Dowling). He’s shocked when he discovers she’s having an affair with the owner of the Blue Dahlia nightclub, Eddie Harwood (Howard Da Silva). When Helen is found murdered, Johnny is the chief suspect and goes on the run.

Written by Raymond Chandler, The Blue Dahlia is a very clever film (despite the studio imposing a different ending after pressure from the US Navy). Chandler received an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay and he keeps the plot twisting and turning until the very end. Ladd is superb, as are all the supporting cast. The Blue Dahlia is a top draw crime thriller, murder mystery and love story.

Special Edition Contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original uncompressed PCM mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Selected scene commentary by Frank Krutnik, author of In a Lonely Street: Film Noir, Genre, Masculinity
  • Introduction to the film by Frank Krutnik
  • Rare 1949 half-hour radio dramatization of The Blue Dahlia by The Screen Guild Theater, starring Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Extensive gallery of vintage stills and promotional materials
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tonci Zonjic

The Blue Dahlia is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on Monday.

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