Friday, November 11, 2016

The Blue Dahlia -- November 11, 2016

Happy Veterans Day, everyone. This was a rare 1940s movie about a soldier with PTSD.  William Bendix played Buzz Wanchek, who had a metal plate in  his head and showed all the signs of what was then called shell shock and traumatic brain injury. His friends Johnny and George, played by Alan Ladd and Hugh Beaumont, try to help him, but couldn't do much.  I imagine this happened a lot in real life.
I thought this was one of William Bendix's best performances.

Alan Ladd played with Veronica Lake for the third time.  Ladd had been discharged from the US Army because of his health.  There was a threat to recall him, which forced producer John Houseman and Paramount to make the movie in a hurry.  They began shooting before the script was complete.
John Houseman produced the movie.  He had worked closely with Orson Welles in the various Mercury Theater projects.
George Marshall directed.  He had directed many Laurel and Hardy movies.
Raymond Chandler wrote the original story and the screenplay at the request of John Houseman.  The studio did not use his original idea for the ending.  He didn't like Veronica Lake, whom he called "Moronica."  Even though he was born in the US and became a naturalized citizen of Great Britain, he served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War One. 

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