This seems to be our week for watching mid-'40s film noir. A few days ago, it was 1945's FALLEN ANGEL. Tonight's movie was the immensely entertaining Raymond Chandler mystery THE BLUE DAHLIA, starring Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake.
Chandler's script, which was peppered with excellent dialogue, twisted and turned in interesting directions as murder suspect Alan Ladd combed Los Angeles for the real killer of his wife. (It's sad but that sentence makes me think of a real-life L.A. murder mystery that took place a dozen years ago this summer...) Although the film just hints at L.A. and Southern California with some brief visuals -- City Hall, the L.A. skyline at night, the beach -- it successfully conveyed a real sense of "place." According to IMDb, the filming locations included the Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, which was founded in 1921. The Miramar's bungalows figure prominently in the first half of the movie.
The film was produced by John Houseman and directed by George Marshall.
THE BLUE DAHLIA is available on video.
December 2012 Update: This film is now available on DVD from the TCM Vault Collection.
September 2013 Update: I've now posted a much more detailed review of THE BLUE DAHLIA.