Black Dahlia

The Black Dahlia

2.1 9
Director: Brian De Palma

Cast: Brian De Palma, Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Eckhart

     
 

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Director Brian De Palma returns to the helm for the first time since 2002's Femme Fatale with this stylish screen adaptation of James Ellroy's novel detailing one of the most notorious unsolved murders in Hollywood history. Elizabeth Short (Mia Kirshner) was a struggling…  See more details below

Overview

Director Brian De Palma returns to the helm for the first time since 2002's Femme Fatale with this stylish screen adaptation of James Ellroy's novel detailing one of the most notorious unsolved murders in Hollywood history. Elizabeth Short (Mia Kirshner) was a struggling actress looking to make a name for herself in 1940s-era Tinseltown. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, it was her grim fate that would ultimately overshadow anything she would accomplish during her short and tragic career. When police discover Elizabeth's body cut clean in half and with all of her organs missing, ex-pugilist detectives Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart) and Bucky Bleichert (Josh Hartnett) are the men charged with cracking the case and apprehending the killer. This isn't your average murder case, however, and as Blanchard's marriage to Kay (Scarlett Johansson) begins to suffer due to his obsession with the sensational crime, his partner Bleichert discovers a troubling link between the victim and the mysterious Madeleine Linscott (Hilary Swank), a prominent socialite and the daughter of one of the town's most connected key players.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Brian De Palma’s masterful adaptation of James Ellroy’s superb crime novel is, like most of the director’s stylish thrillers, densely plotted and richly textured. Its jumping-off point is the real-life 1947 Los Angeles murder and gruesome disfigurement of aspiring actress and suspected prostitute Elizabeth Short (hauntingly played here by Mia Kirshner). Assigned to the case are ambitious detectives Bucky Bleichert (Josh Hartnett) and Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart), the LAPD’s current fair-haired boys. Each brings his own emotional baggage to the investigation, which takes them from the lowest levels of Tinsel Town’s underworld to the upper reaches of L.A.’s high society. In the best film noir tradition, nothing is what it seems and no one can be fully trusted. Black Dahlia boasts two female leads, both playing characters of questionable virtue: Scarlett Johansson is Kay Lake, Lee’s ex-hooker girlfriend, and Hilary Swank is Madeleine Linscott, a wealthy debutante whose sexual tastes run to the outré. De Palma deftly juggles numerous subplots, each of which he skillfully ties in to the Dahlia case. As is customary with this director’s films, Black Dahlia contains several bravura sequences of violence, each precisely choreographed and staged. Though it may not rank as high in the De Palma pantheon as, say, The Untouchables and Scarface, Black Dahlia remains riveting entertainment.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/26/2006
UPC:
0025192918025
Original Release:
2006
Rating:
R
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
2:02:00
Sales rank:
10,229

Special Features

Reality and Fiction: The Story of The Black Dahlia - Sit down with best-selling novelist James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential) as he gives his in-depth perspective on the Black Dahlia crime; The Case File: Go behind the scenes to meet the filmmakers, actors and crew who brought an infamous legend to the screen; The De Palma Touch: See how acclaimed director Brian De Palma brings his unique and shocking visual style to the film

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Josh Hartnett Dwight 'Bucky' Bleichert
Scarlett Johansson Kay Lake
Aaron Eckhart Lee Blanchard
Hilary Swank Madeleine Cathcart Linscott
Mia Kirshner Elizabeth 'Betty' Short
Mike Starr Russ Millard
Fiona Shaw Ramona Linscott
Patrick Fischler Ellis Loew
James Otis Dolph Bleichert
John Kavanagh Emmett Linscott
Troy Evans Chief T. Green
Anthony Russell Morrie Friedman
Pepe Serna Dos Santos
Angus MacInnes Captain John Tierney
Rachel Miner Martha Linscott
Victor McGuire Bill Koenig
Gregg Henry Pete Lukins
Jemima Rooper Lorna Mertz
Rose McGowan Sheryl Saddon
Daniel Ponce MP
Graham Norris Cop

Technical Credits
Brian De Palma Director
John Thompson Executive Producer
Joseph Urbancszyk Camera Operator
Vilmos Zsigmond Cinematographer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Black Dahlia [WS]
1. Fire and Ice (Main Titles) [8:17]
2. Ten Rounds [6:00]
3. Proposition B [5:30]
4. Trouble [9:23]
5. The Hottest Number [8:36]
6. Screen Test [6:24]
7. Searching for the Dahlia [9:12]
8. Social Graces [6:34]
9. Little Secret [5:28]
10. Now Showing [4:43]
11. Withholding Evidence [7:18]
12. Deal Gone Bad [3:47]
13. Last Remains [2:53]
14. Inside Out [3:45]
15. Remorse [3:10]
16. Underneath the Surface [6:07]
17. Location Scout [7:01]
18. Cruelest Joke of All [5:55]
19. Striking a Match [6:58]
20. End Titles [3:53]

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The Black Dahlia 2.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Okay well I basically had to write this review to give the movie, the director, and the novel and mountain of credit. Historically, the case of the Black Dalhia is by far, one of the most baffeling cases that has ever occured in the US. In response to the case, James Ellroy wrote a historical fiction novel entitled "The Black Dalhia". This movie is based on the brilliantly written novel. The main reaso why someone would give this movie (which is very well based on the novel) a bad review is simply because they did NOT read the novel. In order to fully enjoy the movie for what it really is, you have to ready the book or have at least some remote interest in the case of the Black Dalhia.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this movie for the first time the other night and must admit I had difficulty following along at times. Overall, it was a good picture and definitely worth seeing. It was interesting to compare/contrast this film with 1981's "True Confessions" starring Robert Duvall and Robert DeNiro (which, incidentally, was also based on the infamous 40s Black Dahlia case).
Guest More than 1 year ago
Brian de Palma made an odd decision in creating this apparently very expensive, very strange and confusing version of a film, a movie less about the grisly/twisted unsolved murder (grossly illustrated ad infinitum here) of a wannabe 1940s actress of the title and more about two boxer cops (bland Josh Hartnett as 'Mr. Ice' and over the top Aaron Eckhart as 'Mr. Fire') and their bizarre ménage a trois with unfocused Scarlett Johansson. The film as written by Josh Friedman attempts to follow the novel by James Ellroy, itself a strange riff on the Black Dahlia murder. What results is an over produced, over directed, under realized recreation of the 1940s complete with slicky costumes and very loud music by (surprisingly!) Mark Isham. There are so many subplots filled with walk on characters that keeping the story understandable is almost impossible - certainly not worth an attempt to capsulize for a review. There are some terrific little performances by Fiona Shaw as the druggie mad woman whose role becomes significant only at film's end, Hilary Swank as the copycat Dahlia who dallies in cops and soldiers and lesbians (convincingly so), and Mia Kirshner who presence as the true Black Dahlia is shown only in black and white film clips that indeed focus the unwieldy script while she is on! Odd to see actors with the credentials of this cast wandering around in la-la land seemingly looking for a script that makes sense. But it is a pretty period piece to look at despite the lack of reasonable storyline. Grady Harp
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is an utterly miserable movie to sit through. All of the characters have the depth of a wading pool while the plotline is flimsy and too convoluted. In the end we are subjected to a bizarre scene "poorly portrayed here by Harry Potter's Aunt Petunia" and we never truly understand anyone's motivation for anything. Don't bother with this film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the worst movie I've seen in ten years. Plot jumps all over the place without detailing or providing appropriate outline of each story that was taking place in the movie. I thought this was suppose to be a murder mystery about a young Woman from MA who moved to L.A. to be a star -where is that part of the story??? It's practically non-existent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This had to be the biggest heap of garbage that I have scene since "In The Bedroom". I was watching the timer on my DVD player to count down to 0. Hate it Hate it Hate it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A somewhat confusing plot revolving around the real Black Dahlia murder with the rest being pure fiction, on top of the murder there is police corruption, adultery, betrayl, the porn industry, the crazy wife, the seductress all in a Hollywood location
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was looking forward to seeing this movie, but it was a terrible movie. I have not read the novel, so I can't judge it based on that, but on its own, it is just bad. I have never wanted to leave during a movie at the theater, but I was really tempted watching this. After the movie, while the credits rolled, the entire audience was talking about how they had wasted their money. If you want to see a good movie like this, watch Hollywoodland and save yourself the agony of watching this movie.
J_Brown More than 1 year ago
Save your pennies and spend them on something that has a plot that makes sense!