9 mai 1946. En ce beau mois de mai, notre passant cinéphile s’engouffre dans le premier cinéma qu’il croise pour découvrir le nouveau film de George Marshall, The Blue Dahlia, avec Alan Ladd et Veronica Lake. Parce qu’il l’aime bien Alan Ladd, enfin surtout Veronica Lake.
Critique d’époque :
« To the present expanding cycle of hard-boiled and cynical films, Paramount has contributed a honey of a rough-’em-up romance which goes by the name of The Blue Dahlia and which came to the Paramount yesterday. And in this floral fracas it has starred its leading tough guy, Alan Ladd, and its equally dangerous and dynamic lady V-bomb, Veronica Lake. What with that combination in this Raymond Chandler tale, it won’t be simply blasting that you will hear in Times Square for weeks to come.
For bones are being crushed with cold abandon, teeth are being callously kicked in and shocks are being blandly detonated at close and regular intervals on the Paramount screen. Also an air of deepening mystery overhangs this tempestuous tale which shall render it none the less intriguing to those lovers of the brutal and bizarre.
In the manner of previous Ladd pictures, the rough stuff begins at the start, when our hero returns from the Pacific and finds his wife something less than true. A clip on the jaw for her boy-friend and a passing twist upon her shapely arms are sufficient to register the displeasure of the husband before he walks out. But the facts of his presence and anger make him the suspected one when, a few hours later, the gay wife is found in her bungalow – slain!
And so it is that the hero is launched on a catch-as-catch-can chase, trying to spot the killer before he himself is caught. Enroute, he falls in with a lady of considerable nerve (Miss Lake, of course) who insists upon rendering assistance which she is peculiarly qualified to give. He also has the rooting interest of a couple of ex-Navy pals who do very little to aid him but inject grimly comical twists. Thus confused, the perilous rat-race runs in and out of gaudy Hollywood dives, fáncy hotels and police chambers until the inevitable rat is caught.
Mr. Ladd, through it all, is his usual (as they say) imperturbable self, displaying a frigid economy in his movement of lips and limbs – except, of course, in those moments when it is essential that he protect himself. Then he goes into action like a hawser that has suddenly snapped. One adversary is nothing. Two thugs make a fair and equal match. The low art of knuckle-duster fighting is elaborately displayed in this film.
As for Miss Lake, her contribution is essentially that of playing slightly starved for a good man’s honest affection, to which she manifests an eagerness to respond. And it is indeed remarkable how obvious she makes this look without doing very much. Howard da Silva is considerably more dramatic as a high-powered night club proprietor, and William Bendix looks and acts brutely eccentric as Mr. Ladd’s slug-nutty pal. Doris Dowling as the faithless wife, Tom Powers as a nerveless detective chief and Will Wright as a crooked gumshoe worker give able performances.
George Marshall has tautly directed from Mr. Chandler’s crafty script. The tact of all this may be severely questioned, but it does make a brisk, exciting show ». Par Bosley Crowther pour le New York Times.
Bosley Crowther a trouvé The Blue Dahlia très bien. Oui, oui, vous avez bien lu. Il a aimé. Ne serait-il finalement pas amoureux du genre à moins que lui aussi ne soit tombé sous le charme glacial de la magnifique Veronica Lake.
Mon article consacré au film directement par ici.