Too Late For Tears

Written by Joe D on January 27th, 2015

Here’s a noir bombshell from1949. Byron Haskin directed it, he was a special effects guy at Warner Bros. and later directed The War Of The Worlds for George Pal. He also directed some of the best episode of The Outer Limits, Demon with A Glass Hand, and The Architects of Fear. Hunt Stromberg produced this “cookie full of Arsenic”. He had a long run as a successful producer at MGM, he came up under Thalberg and worked with Selznick, then he got into a beef with Louis B. Mayer and went independent. This is one of his independent creations. The script was by Roy Huggins, based on his novel and it’s a winner, great characters, excellent dialog, everything top notch except the very end, oh well. Huggins went on to be a giant among TV creators/Producers with such shows as The Fugitive, Run For Your Life and The Rockford Files.

But the real heroes of this opus are Lisabeth Scott as the one of the coldest killers ever to grace the silver screen and Dan Duryea, the slime king. Best known for slapping women onscreen, the poster for this film is Dan slapping Lisabeth! They marketed the film on his woman beater appeal.
I have a theory about noir, WWII is over, soldiers are returning home, a lot of G.I.s got Dear John letters, their wives left them while they were at war. Tokyo Rose would broadcast stories of infidelity by Statebound brides to the soldiers overseas. This led to the creation of the Noir Femme Fatale, the false female, who’ll smile , seduce, and kill without missing a beat, sure they can turn on the waterworks, shed tears at the drop of a hat, but underneath, all business. So here is the returning soldier’s nightmare come true. What’s the one thing a desperate soldier, far from home could think about to give himself some relief from killing, mayhem, explosions? Little Sally Jean, the girl he left swinging on the garden gate. What if Tokyo rose was right? She’s evil, corrupted. His dreams are all Lies! Well, here she is, the beautiful blonde with the morals of a scorpion. Lisabeth Scott is amazing in this film. She turns from a bitchy but seemingly happily married woman in an instant all because of money, the old do re mi, a lot of it that drops in her lap. I don’t want to ruin the story but there are some depraved scenes of her and Dan Duryea getting it on just because he can make her do it, they hate each other! It’s deliciously perverse! According to Eddie Muller, the czar of noir, almost all of the budget went to the two big stars, they were worth it!


It was later re-released under this title
So the production of the film was low budget, a lot of the action takes place in Scott’s apartment but it makes the film psycologically more real in a way. You feel trapped in that nest of evil. There are some scenes in Dan Duryea’s flop, it’s perfect as the dump a small time creepy crook would hang his hat in. Another couple of great locations are Union Station, maybe the most beautiful building still left in L.A. and the lake at McArthur Park, called WestLake Park in the movie. A one time high rent district that’s now kind of funky. Silent Film director William Desmond Taylor was murdered in his bungalow just around the corner. Anyway the film is in poor shape, Eddie’s Noir Foundation did a restoration with UCLA but I don’t think that’s out on video yet so you have to make do with what’s available. But next time it screens at the Noir Festival, I will be there.

Here’s the best looking Youtube version I could find.

Griffith and Corman’s Little Shop Of Horrors- Happy Halloween!

Written by Joe D on October 29th, 2013

I’ve always loved this movie ever since I saw it on ABC’s afternoon movie or whatever that show was called. I watched it again recently and I still dig it. First off the music of Fred Katz, kooky, idiosyncratic Jazz brilliantly arranged and a lot of fun. And unique I can’t think of any other music that sounds like it. The credits are sort of animated to the music with theses appearing, disappearing dots and then this pan of a gigantic drawing of skid row in a kind of Gottlieb style, super cool.



Chuck Griffith about to be eaten, he also supplied the voice of the monster plant

The writing of Chuck Griffith is at it’s off beat comic peak, so many bizarre character names, so much wordplay, really inspiring and funny. It’s kind of a re-tread of Bucket Of Blood, a nebbish becomes a famous Artist but has to kill people to create his Art, that character Walter Paisley is portrayed by Corman stalwart Dick Miller, who appears in LSOH as a flower eating buddinski Burson Fouch. There is some great wriying in BOB as well especially the Beatnik poetry that opens the film. Another thing about LSOH, the wonderful Bunker Hill locations featured in the scenes outside Mushnick’s Flower Shop.


“Bunker Hill is old town, lost town, shabby town, crook town.” Raymond Chandler.



Chuck’s real life Grandmother,Myrtle Vail, played Seymour’s mother

Seymour Krelboyn’s rooming house is right out of Kiss Me Deadly, the scene where Seymour meets Leonora Clyde, the hooker, looks like it was shot at the top of Angel’s Flight.


If you look closely you can see Seymour getting off an Angel’s Flight car.


“My name is Leonora Clyde”. Mel Welles (Gravis Mushnick’s) real life wife, Meri Welles.


Then Seymour runs by a bar on a corner at the top of a steep hill, the bar has glass brick windows and I’m sure it’s in either Act Of Violence or Cry Danger, I’ll check and see.

It’s funny when I was a kid I loved certain movies and always tried to catch them on TV, LSOH, Kiss Me Deadly, The Indestructible Man, all shot on Bunker Hill! The neighborhood that got erased. Anyway give yourself a Halloween Treat and watch Little Shop of Horrors, check out Jack Nicholson’s appearence as the maschostic mortician. Crazy Man.



Added Halloween Bonus - Color Still from Griffith and Corman’s Attack Of The Crab Monsters

Samuel Fuller’s Park Row

Written by Joe D on June 28th, 2013


Finally! I have been waiting for a good copy of this film for a Loooong time. Masters Of Cinema has put out a beautiful presentation of this great film, Fuller’s personal favorite. I love newspaper movies and this is one of the finest examples of the genre. Right up there with Deadline U.S.A. another masterpiece. Fuller spent his own money to make this film and I for one am glad he did, he survived and the resulting work of art is immortal. I really admire artists, especially filmmakers who pay for their own projects and make something great! Francis Ford Coppola has been doing this for his past few films and I say “Bravo”. Fuller was a maverick when they’re weren’t any maverick’s, maybe Jean Pierre Melville but he was in France. He wanted to make this film and Darrel Zanuck said OK, in Technicolor, a musical comedy. “No” screamed Fuller. “The paper is grey, the ink is black, it has to be B&W!” “It won’t make a dime.” Zanuck sneered. Well maybe DZ was right but at least Fuller got to make his film his way and we get to enjoy it, thanks to Masters Of Cinema! There are some amazing tracking shots in this film, and long takes where the camera follows actors from one building, down the street to another building and the scene continues, really cool Orson Welles kind of stuff. It also reminds me of some of the classic Playhouse 90s, long takes , great scripts, great actors. Not an easy way to make a film, it takes vision and preparedness. But you should see it for yourself, Fuller grew up working on newspapers in NYC, they shaped him, this film is his love letter to the newspaper business that took a kid in off the street and turned him into a great storyteller. It’s especially poignant right now, with the state of the Press today, we need to cherish and protect our free press, the barrier between us and Fascism.

Once I borrowed a VHS of this film from Quentin Tarantinio, I watched it but it suddenly stopped before the film was over! I checked the tape, it was a 60 minute VHS ! The movies 84 minutes! Thanks a lot! So now I have my own copy , he can borrow it from me if he wants.


More Val Lewton!

Written by Joe D on July 9th, 2011


As promised, I’m posting a scan of another article about the great Val Lewton. This one is from Liberty magazine back in 1946. This was just after Lewton left RKO for Paramount, where he would be morassed in political intrigue and backbiting. It was not a good move for Val. This article is  sort of an overview of the Horror film  genre with special emphasis on Lewton. By the way I just got another old film magazine with an article on Curse Of The Cat People and a remembrance by DeWitt Bodeen, writer of said film. I’ll post that one soon as well.

Here’s the linkLiberty Horrors

Robert Enrico’s An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge

Written by Joe D on February 15th, 2011

I saw this film as a kid on The Twilight Zone. Rod Serling really dug it so he made it into an episode of his show, the only time he ever did such a thing. It was made as part of an omnibus film, Chickamauga, a film comprised of three short films based on the writings of Ambrose Bierce. I’ve never seen the other two parts of this film but I will track them down one day. An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge should be studied by young filmmakers, it offers many insights into economy of style, simplicity, artistry. It’s beautifully made, a study in tension and fantasy. And thanks to the miracle of Youtube you can see it as it was presented on The Twilight Zone oh those many years ago.

The Night Stalker, Michel Hugo

Written by Joe D on December 2nd, 2010

Here’s a TV movie from the 70’s that is a classic. The Night Stalker is about a vampire in 70’s Vegas, how cool is that? The score by Robert Cobert is super funky, wah wah guitars, jazzy drums, just great, one of my personal favorites. Check out the free form jazz when the cops are fighting the vampire by the swimming pool, it’s like Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew! The film has some real talent attached, Darren McGavin stars as Kolchak, The lovely Carol Lynley appears as well. Not to mention Simon Oakland, Claude Akins, and the perennial favorites Ralph Meeker and Charles McGraw! And by Golly Elisha Cook, Jr. is in there too!

The script is by the genius Richard Matheson. And the DP is a man I once took a cinematography class from , one Michel Hugo. A very nice French exile living here shooting TV movies, I looked him up and was sorry to see that he recently passed away. He had been teaching cinematography at a college in Vegas, the site of his greatest artistic triumph.


R.I.P. Michel Hugo

A Bucket Of Blood, Little Shop Of Horrors, Charles B. Griffith

Written by Joe D on November 16th, 2010

bucket_of_blood_affiche.jpgUnsung hero of Low Budget Cinema! Beatnik wordsmith riffing like Charlie Parker high on Dexedrine, O Charles B. Griffith we salute you.  Roger Corman always gets the credit for these way out films, he deserves some of it, he directed them but they originated in the feverish brain of mastermind C.B. Griffith. Chuck created the characters, Walter Paisley, Seymour Krelboin, Audrey Jr. He even voiced the flesh eating plant, his grandma appeared in both films and C.B. played a hapless burglar in LSOH. He should be lauded, he should be crowned with the laurel wreath and given the Keys to the Kingdom.


Charles B. Griffith about to be eaten by the plant with his voice

  A Bucket Of Blood starts off in a coffee house, a poet reciting an Ode to Art, Creativity is King, All Else is nothing! “Where are Joe, Jim Jack, jerk, dead!” he intones as Paul Horn improvises along on his Alto Sax.

Walter Paisley is a nebbish busboy working at the joint, desperately wanting to be an artist so he can be in with the other cooler cats and so he can get with the hot art babe he pines for. 

So he tries creating some sculpture and in the process accidentally kills his landlady’s cat. He gets results, attention from the hipsters, all he has to do is keep creating but in order to do that he must commit murder.  The end justifies the means in Walter’s limited mind, at first he’s forced by circumstance to kill, he even mumbles Seymour Krelboin’s mantra “I didn’t mean it!” and here’s the point I’ve been wandering up to. These two films are almost exactly the same. They both take place in a ” store”, a commercial space where money is made from the public. Art vs. Commerce, the Eternal Conflict. The main characters are nebbishes desperate for attention, success, so they can “get married”. (The goal of almost every silent comedy).

They achieve this through murder. They each have an avaricious boss who becomes aware of his hired hands nefarious antics but because business is good and the coffers are filling decides to turn a blind eye to the shenanigans. Gravis Mushnik meet Leonard DeSantis. Both films have a climactic chase through nighttime crummy L.A. neighborhoods and both end with suicide by becoming part of their Art , Walter hangs himself after turning into a sculpture/Seymour jumps into his plant creation Frankenstein ostensibly to kill it but ultimately becoming one of its blossoms. They both feature a score by the amazing Fred Katz, actually they both feature some of the exact same cues, re-cycled by Corman.

Bucket didn’t perform very well at the box office and Corman had to be convinced to try another comedy but didn’t he know he was making the same film? Maybe the addition of a man-eating plant made the project appear more commercial. Dick Miller star of Bucket was offered the role of Seymour Krelboin in Little Shop but turned it down. I think the failure of BOB was such a disappointment to him, he couldn’t go through it again. Miller believed in Bucket Of Blood, he blamed it’s flopping on the cheap production value and when he heard Corman made a bet he could shoot Little Shop Of Horrors in two days he passed. He did appear in the film as flower eating Burson Fouch. A few other Charles Griffith notes, the wheat germ bagels and odd health food favored by the Beatniks and Seymour ’s mother’s medicinal cuisine. Jack Nicholson skimming through PAIN magazine at the dentist office. Griffith had funny fake magazine in his opus Dr. Heckle and Mr. Hype. So here’s to Charles B. Griffith as Quentin Tarantino dubbed him, The Poet Laureate Of The Drive-In.


Here is the great opening poem accompanied by Paul Horn blowing a cool Alto.

Godard’s Le Mepris, Mankiewicz’s The Barefoot Contessa, Moravia’s Il disprezzo

Written by Joe D on November 12th, 2010


The Beautiful B.B. she looks a little like Ava Gardner


Ava in Contessa

Jean Luc Godard is getting an honorary Academy Award! How great is that, of course he won’t show up for it. Maybe this was on my mind when I started watching Joseph Mankiewicz’s The Barefoot Contessa.


Producer In Screening Room- Contessa

The films are similar, they both have Movie People as characters. There’s a director with integrity, Fritz Lang in Contempt and Humphrey Bogart in Contessa. A beautiful goddess, desired by all, Ava Gardner in Contessa, Bridgit Bardot in Contempt. They are both concerned with personal integrity in the face of a powerful prick,an American film producer that wants to control everyone, have everyone kiss his ass which they do for money.


Producer wants Sex Goddess Wife

Michel Piccoli loses his wife to Jerry the producer when he accepts the job of re-writing the script for Jerry’s production of the Odessy, he says “I’ll be able to pay off our apartment!” This theme of estrangement between a husband and wife comes from Alberto Moravia’s novel, Il disprezzo. The book was published the same year that The Barefoot Contessa was released, maybe they somehow fused in Godard’s brain. The Rich American Movie Producer, The Super Sexy Star, The Director, The Writer, The Yes Man. These are the new Mythic characters for the 20th Century. Like the Greek Gods, they live on Olympus and they have petty squabbles that effect all life on Earth. They test your souls, tempting you, like the Devil on the mountain top offering Jesus all he can see.

There’s even a big sceen in a screening room in both films, in Contempt Jack Palance (Jerry Prokosh) throws a film can at the screen like a Greek discus, expressing his displeasure at the footage screened. In Contessa Edmund O’Brien turns in a horrible over the top performance as Kirk Edwards ass licking yes man. Constantly mopping his face with a giant handkerchief, babbling like a baboon, chewing the scenery in an over the top style. Jerry Prokosh has a beautiful female assisstant that he constantly degrades, getting her to bend over so he can write a check on her back.


Degradation Of Beauty By Producer In Screening Room- Contempt

In Contessa Bogart is the man in peril of losing his integrity, the director of the proposed film. In Contempt Michel Piccoli is the writer, the man in danger of losing all to the American producer, Fritz Lang is the director but he seems above it all, like a God Of Film already up in the Celestial Movie Studio, the eccentricities of the Earth bound barely affect him. Maybe someone should make a new film about the New Gods, The New inhabiters of our Cinematic Olympus, The American Producer! The Sex Symbol, The Director in trouble, like Odysseus trying to get back to Ithica.


New Gods - New Myths replace the Old


Written by Joe D on May 6th, 2010

A black leather jacketed, sunglass wearing amnesiac Beatnik Jesus shows up in a small town in post WWII Poland and turns on the townsfolk with miracles and music. Novelist/filmmaker Tadeusz Konwicki conjurs up Salto from his novel A Dreambook for our Time. It expresses the inexpressible remarkably. Once again the proto Beatnik figure is seen as a semi Messiah, as in Cocteau’s Orphee. This was the psychic build up to the creative explosion of the 60’s. But just watch this clip, I dare you not to be impressed.

Furio Scarpelli, Screenwriter of Leone’s Classic The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly dies at 90 in Rome

Written by Joe D on April 29th, 2010


Furio at his Olivetti

Arch Stanton, Bill Carson, Tuco Ramirez, Angel Eyes, Blondie, these are the names that only a lover of Westerns and Classic American Cinema could come up with and bring to life in a magnificent screenplay. An epic sweeping tale of Greed in the American West,our Holy Three search for Treasure, Buried Gold, and nothing, not a Prisoner Of War camp, a raging battle for a meaningless bridge, the burning sands of an impassable desert, nothing can stop them in their quest. One of the writers of THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER MADE! has passed on. The Titans of Cinema await you Furio Scarpelli. they will take you by the hand and lead you to Paradise! Requiescat In Pace!

The Blue Dahlia Redux

Written by Joe D on March 9th, 2010


The idiotic “Shoot the match and prove you didn’t kill my wife” Scene, although it looks like a cigarette, which is what’s written in the script but was changed to a match during filming, probably re-infuriating Raymond Chandler!

I got the published screenplay to Raymond Chandler’s The Blue Dahlia. It has an introduction by the producer John Houseman. Houseman tells the story of Chandler needing to get drunk to finish the film after a secret meeting with the head of production who offered R.C. a $5000 bonus to get the script done. Houseman claims that Chandler was blocked, that George Marshall had shot almost all the pages written, 93 or so, and that the attempted bribe by the studio head had so insulted and enraged Chandler that he wanted to quit. But rather than let a fellow veteran of the English public school system down, Chandler heroically opted to sacrafice his health by consuming vast quantities of alcohol which he assured Houseman would enable him to finish. Now there are a few points worth mentioning, the script was almost complete, Chandler had begun work on The Blue Dahlia as a novel, and we know from his correspondence that he had an ending in mind all along, that Buzz (William Bendix) the steel plate in the head veteran was the killer. The Navy objected to this most strenuously and Paramount agreed to change the ending. Houseman does not mention this fact in his introduction. So this is what I think happened, Chandler finished the script as he planned, with Buzz as the killer, the Navy objected, Chandler was called in to a meeting with the studio head, Mr. Head told Raymond to change his ending and offered him $5000 to make it go down easier. Chandler flipped out, he hated the movie business and couldn’t stand anyone telling him what to write. Chandler went to Houseman and threatened to quit. Then R.C. went home and thought it over, “I’ll write their crap ending but on my terms. ” He made his list of demands, he got to work at home, drunk, with round-the clock secretaries he could chase around, and limos waiting at his beck and call and a doctor on call to take care of him. He had to anesthetize himself to write that idiotic scene where Buzz shoots a match in Johnny’s hand to show he wasn’t the killer and then the captain tricks Dad the house detective into giving himself away. Oh Brother! I think Chandler hated that character,( the house dick) he has all the abuse in the movie heaped on him. Houseman acts as if this was the great ending Chandler came up with at the last minute, that Chandler didn’t have an ending in mind at all which we now know is untrue. So that’s my take on why old R.C. needed to get loaded to finish the script. Another point was revealed in Houseman’s intro. During a fight scene a heavy oak table fell on Don Costello’s toe and broke it. Director George Marshall staged the rest of the scene so Costello didn’t have to walk around, he fights Alan Ladd but on the floor. It was brilliant! A great example of taking an accident that could have shut down production and making something better out of it. Marshall really rose to the challenge and elevated the scene creatively. Bravo! More Myth and Magic in the Land Of Make Believe!

The Blue Dahlia

Written by Joe D on February 22nd, 2010

The story goes that Paramount desperately needed to make a film in a hurry, Alan Ladd their box office giant was due to report for military service and they wanted a film to exploit his fame before he went in.

Ladd, a grip turned actor, for a non-actor he’s very good

So they asked Raymond Chandler to write a script in record breaking time. He asked for and got a bunch of special conditions that he insisted were absolutely necessary for him to finish on time. He wanted to work at home, he needed two cars and drivers at his disposal, round the clock stenographers and nurses and an unlimited supply of alcohol. Chandler felt the only way he could deliver was to be constantly inebriated, I guess this got his creative juices flowing. He delivered the script. Is it a film noir? Maybe but it does veer from the form in certain significant ways. The story starts with three returning WWII vets arriving in Hollywood, U.S.A., Alan Ladd, William Bendix and Beaver Cleaver’s future dad Hugh Beaumont. They stop in a bar for a celebratory drink and we learn that Bendix has a “plate in his head” from a war wound, also he is driven to near insanity every time he hears “monkey music” or big band swing/jazz. A soldier playing a tune on a juke box is the object of Bendix’s maniacal ire. This is an interesting twist, I always felt that WW II era big band music was almost a drug, that it relaxed soldiers far from home, reassuring them with it’s soporific harmonies that everything was going to work out, they’d return home to Mary Lou and grow old under the apple tree. Here Chandler takes the musical promise of normalcy and shines a bright light of reality in our faces by having it inspire madness and murder in the damaged mind of a returned veteran. The other false promise, the faithful wife awaiting her returning husband is likewise demolished when Ladd finds a wild party in full swing at his wife’s “bungalow apartment”, not only that but he sees his spouse smooching on nightclub owner-racketeer Howard DaSilva.

Evil Sparkly Doris with corrupt nightclub owner/paramour DaSilva

She delivers the coup-d’etat by informing Ladd that their son Jimmy died after she drove drunk and crashed. Doris Dowling plays the evil wife and she is pure nasty badness. OK, usually the femme fatale dupes the man, lies to him, appears sweet or sexy somehow lures him to his doom, like Eve with her Apple, not Doris! She is so nasty and evil she’s lucky Alan Ladd doesn’t kill her himself. She winds up dead pretty quickly which is another curve thrown in the noir structure, the femme fatale is killed in Reel One! Then we get some great Chandler set pieces, Ladd meets Veronica Lake in the rain, (Chandler called her”Moronica” Lake), the house dick (Will Wright) starts blackmailing everyone in sight and is treated like dirt by everyone in the film! He is at the absolute bottom of humanity, I found myself laughing out loud as one character after another insulted, degraded, and humiliated him, maybe I should say tried to humiliate him because he didn’t care, he just wanted a few bucks, or a cigar or whatever he could cadge from anyone in his path.

Ladd and Lake in fake Malibu. The poor, beautiful junkie paid dearly for fame.

There’s an incredible character- Leo(Don Costello), he’s DaSilva’s partner in the night club and he is great, a true Chandler character, a gangster that wears thick glasses, he looks more like an accountant than the cold blooded killer that he is. I think he’s a truer picture of what a lot of these racketeers were like, they considered themselves business men and killing was simply a part of their business. A sharp observer like Chandler surely based this guy on a real gangster in the papers at that time. Then there’s the obligatory kidnap the hero, take him out of town, tie him up, beat him into unconciousness scene. Just like in The Big Sleep where it happens to Bogie. A great bit of action occurs when Leo, who has injured his foot in a struggle with Ladd, is soaking his toe in a basin of hot water supplied by his kind henchman, Ladd awakens from being slugged and tips a table over that smashes down right on Leo’s injured toe! The reaction from Leo is classic! And I’ve never seen that particular move in a fight scene, another Chandler stroke of genius. There’s plenty of snappy patter such as “I’m not that kind of a rat” “Oh,what kind of a rat are you? or when Lake picks up Ladd in the rain ” I guess you could get wetter if you lay down in the gutter” etc. Chandler knew how to write that kind of stuff. Another anti-noir element is the lighting, there’s no use of shadows, venitian blinds, smoky silhouettes in this film. It actually looks like a Monogram el cheapo. The sets are crummy, under decorated, limned in just a few shades of gray, they actually remind me of the sets from the Abbot and Costello television show.

Cheapness Personified!

The whole production looks grade Z, which is kind of surprising since Ladd and Lake were big box office at the time, having recently struck gold in This Gun For Hire. Another weird aspect is the almost total lack of background music. The only music in the film is the big band stuff that drives Buzz (Bendix) into homicidal amnesiac rages. Most films of this era had incidental music playing under dialog scenes. This has none. Was this a budgetary consideration? I don’t know, the flat lighting and skimpy set design speaks more of the rapidity with which they needed to make this film, they were under the gun with Ladd’s induction looming. But I feel that the cheapness of the sets, the flat lighting and the lack of music works for this film, it makes it more creepy, it’s harder to dismiss it as a piece of fluff, it gets under your skin like the home movies of a serial killer. It’s more real, lifelike in it’s mundaneness, not movielike.


The one prop they seem to have spent any money on at all is the neon sign that bedecks the front of DaSilva’s nightclub, a large gaudy Blue Dahlia. That’s the name of the club. I think it represents a lot to Chandler and this story. Da Silva publicizes his club by handing out Dahlias dyed blue. Veronica Lake picks at one absent mindedly in DaSilva’s office triggering an outburst from Buzz “She was picking at a flower just like that when I killed her!” Buzz the disturbed veteran is the murderer! The Dahlia, an exotic hot house flower represented sex,debauchery, corruption to Chandler. Just like the opening scene in The Big Sleep that takes place in General Sternwood’s green house. Exotic flowers are perverse to Chandler, decadent. The fatal combination of Dahlia and “monkey music homicidally unhinges Buzz. I think it played out like this, Buzz met Johnny’s wife in a bar, not realizing who she was. They went to her bungalow to have sex, he couldn’t perform, she taunted him, tore up the flower( masturbated?) drove him to murder.

Femme Fatale Doris about to get her comeuppance from Shell Shocked Steel Plated Buzz

The film ends with Will Wright being named as the killer but in Chandler’s original script it was Buzz, the Navy intervened and demanded the script be changed, they didn’t want a veteran to be portrayed as a murderer. Chandler strongly objected to this but he was overruled. The film was a big hit and several spin-offs or rip offs were made in it’s wake, notably The Blue Gardenia by Fritz Lang. Shortly after this film’s release a young woman was hanging out in a drugstore in Long Beach, she had wavy black hair and a soda jerk referred to her as The Black Dahlia in a joking reference to this film. Thus pinning a name on one of the most famous unsolved murder cases in the history of L.A. and further assuring a place in history to this strange bit of celluloid.

Beth Short bedecked with flowers, the real Black Dahlia

The beautiful Veronica Lake was in reality a troubled young woman. Her husband and director Andre deToth revealed that she was a heroin addict and an alcoholic during her meteoric rise to fame. She was found near the end of her life working as a bar maid in NYC. She achieved the fame girls like Elisabeth Short ( Black Dahlia) came to Hollywood to find yet she wound up working in a bar, a fate Beth Short might have shared if she’d lived.