Best Crime Of The Century:5 of 25

November 27, 2008

black_dahlia1 THE BLACK DAHLIA, 1947

Set in the post-war Los Angeles boom, the unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short is a cautionary tale about big cities, America’s peripatetic population and the dangers of the new vast urban landscapes of the nation. On Jan. 15, 1947, a severely mutilated, naked body, sliced in half at the waist and a grotesque grimace carved into her face, was found not far from Hollywood. The corpse was that of 22-year-old Short, who had moved to California to from the East Coast to pursue an acting career but ended up serving tables. Reporters gave her the nickname “Black Dahlia,” perhaps inspired by the recently released Blue Dahlia, a film in the Hollywood noir style about a fighter bomber accused of the death of his faithless wife. (Short had been engaged to a major in U.S. Air Force but he died in a plane crash in August 1945.) The case generated a huge list of potential suspects and possible motives, as well as urban legends about the victim’s sexual and moral proclivities. With its morbid air of noir nostalgia, the Black Dahlia has also inspired a large number of novels and movies over the years.

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2 Responses to “Best Crime Of The Century:5 of 25”

  1. Jessica Says:

    This is so terrible I don’t understand who would do something so cruel. May she rest in peace. She had the same dream I did and she was my motivation and still is.

  2. Monti Says:

    I actually read in a magazine (an article about gruesome Hollywood murders) that she was called the “Black Dahlia” because she wore black all the time and she wore dahlias on her hair. an interesting fact: she was considered a type of prostitute by many, but really, she just went on numerous dates for the nice food.


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