Black Dahlia Myth Begins As A "Laugh Line" in 1950 Film Noir Classic "Sunset Boulevard" (1950)

April 15, 2017
Los Angeles, California

Just two years after the horrific surgical torture murder of Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short occurred in Los Angeles mention of the crime was used as a “laugh line” in one of Hollywood’s greatest film noir classic’s-SUNSET BLVD (1950). Incredibly, simultaneous to the actual shooting of the film, LAPD and the DA’s Office detectives were staked out on the actual killer, and secretly electronically obtaining wire recordings of his admissions to the Dahlia and other murders as well as payoffs to Law Enforcement.

See YouTube Video with clips at the link HERE.


  1. Kathy G. on April 16, 2017 at 1:10 am

    Oh my goodness Steve this is just sickening to see this now. I have never seen the movie Sunset Blvd. Just some people have a crude sense of humor I suppose. I know we’re not supposed to judge the past by today’s standards and yet it’s creepy to come out at near the same time her murderer was under surveillance or perhaps only shortly after he fled(?) She never deserved this.

    • Steve Hodel on April 16, 2017 at 2:36 am

      Kathy G: Sunset Blvd was and remains one of the greatest films ever made. Truly one of the top classics. I don’t judge the screenwriters harshly for the comment because I do not believe there was any real negative intent on their part towards the victim.

      I see Artie Green’s (Jack Webb) attempt at humor pointed at the fact that of course, Joe Gillis is a Dahlia suspect, who isn’t? Part of the history of the time with fifty plus people “confessing to being her killer” and hundreds of Hollywood locals as potential “suspects” Green is implying (tongue in cheek) when he introduces his friend Joe to the partygoers that they should “look out for his buddy here”, because not only is he a lowlife bottomfeeding screenwriter, but also a uranium smuggler and a Black Dahlia suspect. The murder, by that time being in the headlines for two years, had already made become LA’s most notorious whodunit, which naturally, opened it up for public speculation, comments/jokes, etc. steve

  2. John Ayers on April 16, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    I think the line was written for Arte Green to establish that he is a man of insensitivity and poor taste. At least it made me instantly dislike him with a minimum of dialogue.

  3. Tom Hubner on April 21, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    “Sunset Boulevard” is one of my all-time favourites. I also realized the other day that 1981 “True Confessions” is based on Black Dahlia events. Decent movie as well. I live in Poland, where the case is virtually unknown.

  4. A Martino on May 9, 2021 at 2:00 am

    I also think the line was written to remind the audience of the imperfections and scandals of Hollywood and that It was not all of the glitz and glam that people thought. That is also why the name Norma Desmond is composed of a silent film comedienne Mabel NORMAnd and a silent film director, William DESMOND Taylor, who was murdered. The pair had dated and Normand was the last to see Taylor alive. She was suspected of his murder at one point and It ruined her career. This also shows how easily stars were abandoned by Hollywood if their names were associated with any negativity.

    • Steve Hodel on November 20, 2022 at 1:26 pm

      Had no idea on the reference by you as to the name source linkage.
      More bizarre trivia as in my recently published “The Early Years” suspected crimes of George Hodel I examine and make a circumstantial case that he committed the William Desmond Taylor murder. See “The Early Years” Part I, Chapter Chapter 5 -The 1922 murder of WDT.

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