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With Dick Tracey, you're always wanting "more"

Author: Kristine ( from Chicago, Illinois
11 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When I was a kid, one of the big movies was Dick Tracey. I remember watching this movie all the time on TV and was just in love with it. I wanted to be Madonna because of this film. The colors were bright, the villains were terrifying to look at and the story was very cool. We couldn't get enough of the movie, comic book, cartoon or video game. Dick Tracey was the man of the early 90's. The weird thing is I never wrote a comment on the movie because when I first started writing reviews when I was 15 yeas old was because I didn't see the movie for years and it would've been unfair to give it a review without being able to remember what it really was. I bought the film a year ago when I found it in a five dollar bin flashing back to the good ol' days. I watched the film tonite wanting to be taken back to what was so magical about this movie when I was a kid and found myself criticizing it like an adult instead.

At an illegal card game, a young street kid witnesses the massacre of a group of mobsters at the hands of Flattop and Itchy, two of the hoods on the payroll of Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice. Big Boy's crime syndicate is aggressively taking over small businesses in the city. Detective Dick Tracy catches the kid in an act of petty theft. After rescuing him from a ruthless host, Tracy temporarily adopts him with the help of his girlfriend, Tess Truehart. Meanwhile, Big Boy coerces club owner Lips Manlis into signing over the deed to Club Ritz. He then kills Lips with a cement overcoat and steals his girlfriend, Breathless Mahoney. After Lips is reported missing, Tracy interrogates his three hired guns, Flattop, Itchy, and Mumbles, then goes to the club to arrest Big Boy for Lips' murder. Breathless is the only witness and Tracey needs her to testify in order to put Big Boy in prison once and for all.

Funny thing that this being a film that all my friends and I remember watching as kids and really in some strange way this has more adult themes to it. For God's sake we see Madonna's nipple in a sheer outfit, all though I don't think there were men in this country who didn't see her bosoms. The villain's make up was actually frightening in some aspects and I remember as a kid the "no face" villain scared me very much. But as kids we are more resilient than adults gave us credit for. For the film, it's still very colorful and I really admire it for that. The colors are red, yellow, green, red and black and you feel like you're transferred into the comics.

You can tell that Warren had a genuine love for this movie and the comics. He really captures what a comic book movie is. I also loved the whole feeling of the classic gangsters story with the tommy guns and wardrobe. I think over all the film works on the story and the actors really got into it. Though I think it could've been bigger like Batman. I don't know what it was that didn't get this film into a better status when you think of good comic book movies, maybe there were things that were off that Warren couldn't capture. Dick Tracey is an interesting character that could be explored more and given better depth. But this movie is still very fun and holds up well to this day. With fun visuals and a great cast, Dick Tracey is still the man.


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When do we eat....

Author: FlashCallahan from Leicester, United Kingdom
11 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Dick Tracy is one of the best police officers in the city.

He is currently on the hunt for crime boss Big Boy Caprice who recently killed off former crime boss Lips Manless.

Now Big Boy is rallying up all of the criminals in the city who are not only trying to make the city bow to Big Boy's wishes but to eliminate Tracy.

Tracy is faced with issues, as he is trying to not only track down Big Boy, but to keep his girlfriend Tess Trueheart, take care of a nameless orphan and dodge seductive club dancer Breathless Mahoney and a mysterious gangster.....

The film is beautiful to look at, and it's obvious that it really has had a lot of attention given to it regarding the sets and costumes, but it sticks to the back of ones mind knowing that this is one of the biggest vanity projects ever made.

Whenever Beatty is on close up, it's as if someone is shining a torch in his face, to make him look that little more pretty, and alluring to the ladies.

And this becomes the bane of the film, because you really start to lose interest in the titular character, s thank goodness for the wealth of support and great turns from Pacino and even Madonna.

The story is light and so is narrative, for the majority of the film, we just see Tracey being chased by gangsters, or being chased by women, and once or twice having a musical interlude or a fight.

But Kudos to Beatty for making such an entertaining and still very fresh vanity project/blockbuster.

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One of the best adaptations of a comic!

Author: SoniaRumzi from United States
28 December 2011

I love this movie.

Between the colors, the old cars, the treatment of the dames, it came as close to authentic as it could without being crass. Not a moment of boredom or failure. It fulfilled all the elements of a cartoon and then some.

Just loved it.

Warren Beatty was dreamy and Madonna sparkled. Loved it.

The action was dramatic and over acted in the best way possible when it comes to cartoon action. It was over the top in many ways which made it even more lovable and fun. One of the best action movies.

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Dick Tracy

Author: lasttimeisaw from Cairo, Egypt
13 December 2011

Dick Tracy, is a territory I'm unfamiliar with (never heard of the comic strip before), Warren Beatty, is a mysterious Hollywood honcho whom I reckon to be a legend whose fame is unceasing even though his last work TOWN & COUNTRY (2001) is a notorious catastrophe which is a perfect paradigm of failure in Hollywood film history and had prompted his retirement until now, rumor says a new film project is in development right now and aiming for a 2013 release, finger crossed!

This profusely comic-influenced film is a hybrid of stylistic settings and costumes and stylized performances, dangling with a feeble script. Woefully Beatty, Pacino and Hoffman, 3 bigwigs emerging in a single film and the spark is scarce, Madonna conspicuously proves that acting is not her strong suit, while the music in it is marvelously diverting and intriguing. Then comes the Oscar winning and nominations, 3 won for Art Direction, Make-up and Original song, all are meriting, another 4 nominations, Cinematography, Costume Design, Sound and Pacino's Supporting actor, I can merely understand the first three (not a technical connoisseur myself), for me the last one just manifests at that time the Academy did whatever they could to compensate Pacino's Oscar-less status then (thanks to the belated SCENT OF A WOMAN in 1992, otherwise, maybe he would get a nomination even for Gigli in 2003). It could be a breakthrough for Pacino to star as the villain in a farce feature, but that is all, it's impossible to bare the label of "best of the year".

With all due respect to all the devotees, but a cartoon-prone tune within the vintage 1930s could not help to establish this film a rightful public praise (although it is a box office victor). Nonetheless the film is not less than entertaining, but among Beatty's admirable filmography, DICK TRACY's right position is a respectful trifle (maybe better than TOWN & COUNTRY, LOVE AFFAIR 1994 and Ishtar 1987).

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Dick has nearly came (web)

Author: leplatypus from PariS
10 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In a Madonna's bio, I read that DT was the Disney's answer to the successful Batman. DT being not Gothic, it's also a film noir but Beatty chose to do a Technicolor cartoon adventure instead. This feast of colors is really the big attraction of this movie: I don't know any other movie where all the production is based on the basic colors (yellow, red, green, blue). It's clear, simple and it really looks the panel of a old comics.

With that, the movie is great with associating a good cast (Madonna is a decent femme fatal and Al is very funny playing a bigger than nature Don). The music is also top-level, as much the Madonna's songs than Danny's score (the action and love themes are worthy of his Batman).

On the other hand, DT lacks a good script and maybe a better actor for DT than Beatty because he doesn't look like very motivated. He told the kid to go at the orphanage but he stayed; he kissed Madonna but didn't really help her; he loves Tess but can't commit. In other words, Beatty is better at directing than at acting.

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Good Stuff!

Author: nama chakravorty from India
7 November 2011

Warren Beatty's 'Dick Tracy' is Good Stuff. It works as an entertaining, eventful film, that will appeal to the youngsters. Also, the performances, are very impressive!

Based on the 1930s comic strip character of the same name created by Chester Gould, 'Dick Tracy' depicts the detective's love relationships with Breathless Mahoney and Tess Truehart, as well as his conflicts with crime boss Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice. Tracy also begins his upbringing of "The Kid".

Warren Beatty has made a very ambitious film in 'Dick Tracy'. Right from Production, Direction, Performance & Execution, in each of these departments, Beatty's undying love for this film, reflects very sharply. Even though flawed & slightly lazy, Beatty succeeds by making an entertaining & eventful film, that will definitely appeal to the youth, to this day.

Performance-Wise: As mentioned, Beatty's dedication reflects in all the departments he puts himself into, and as Dick Tracy, Beatty comes across as energetic & likable. Al Pacino is mesmerizing as crime boss Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice. Madonna is good. Glenne Headly is sincere, while Charlie Korsmo is supremely confident. Among the supporting cast, Dustin Hoffman & Charles Durning are noticeable.

On the whole, 'Dick Tracy' isn't great, but entertaining nonetheless.

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Quirky and campy, but actually works

Author: Terrell Howell (KnightsofNi11) from United States
20 August 2011

I'm not at all familiar with the character of Dick Tracy, but what I can gather from Warren Beatty's colorful film, he was the subject of a very campy comic strip. He was a police detective who upheld the law in any situation as he chased down criminals and became the love interest of many a dame. In the film, Warren Beatty plays Tracy as he runs around the city trying to catch Big Boy Caprice, played by Al Pacino, and bring him and his vast gang of crooks to justice. Madonna plays Breatless Mahoney, a night club singer who is involved with Big Boy and constantly vies for Tracy's love, promising him information about the gang if she gets what she wants. This plot might not seem very original, and that's because it's not. But there is something strange and unique about Dick Tracy that, in a way, actually makes it work.

Like I said, I'm not familiar with the character or the comic strip he is from, but I feel like Warren Beatty was trying to capture an extremely specific look with this film. This is obvious through the camera angles and the colors which they accentuate. Also, the look of the buildings is very cartoonish and the villains of the film are exaggerated in a very cartoonish manner. There are lots of prosthetics in the film for each and every gangster that gives all of them a very specific look. I found this annoying and stupid at first, but it eventually grew on me as I saw the direction that this film was going. This is in no way a dark film. It's very upbeat and plays up a very specific cartoon atmosphere. I think that the film really did, in the end, capture the look it was going for.

Now, if there's one word to describe Dick Tracy, it's campy. This film is one big tongue-in-cheek camp adventure. Again, it was something I wasn't terribly fond of at first, but it eventually grew on me and by the end of the film I was pretty amused by the way the film worked. Overall this is really just a very strange film. It shoots for a very specific atmosphere with its look, its humor, and the level of its campiness. It isn't something that I'm going to be terribly fond of and overall this film doesn't do much for me. I imagine lots of feelings of nostalgia for those who were fans of the Dick Tracy comic strip, but for me this is just a strange and entertaining little flick that is unlike most films of this time period and genre. I think the film did what it wanted to do, so for that I have to give it a lot of credit. It's not something I would watch again, but it made for a fun hour and forty five minutes.

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Colorfully bland.

Author: st-shot from United States
1 August 2011

The long running comic strip comes to the screen with vapid results as director actor Warren Beatty removes most of the comic possibilities and Tracy's unwavering certitude with the silent indecisive signature close-ups Warren likes to employ on himself replacing it. It has an excellent Toon Town look due to the master craftsman employed to decorate ( Richard Sylbert) and lens (Vittorio Storaro) it but the result is one tedious primary color fiesta and little more.

Tracy is a dick 24/7. He would like to marry Tess Trueheart but can't divorce himself from his job with the diabolical Big Boy Caprice running amok. Further complicating matters is Breathless Mahoney (Madonna) whose working him from both angles.

Tracy has a fun look as it barrages you with every color of the rainbow on everything it records. The famous thugs row of mugs from the strip are excellently re-created with Dustin Hoffman in the small roll of Mumbles and especially Al Pacino as the Plato quoting Caprice giving the film the rare glimpses of humor it can muster. Much of the film however is wasted on Beatty's posing and Madonna's complete inability to once again show any acting chops (even as a comic strip character) as Tracy meanders to its predictable fireworks conclusion with little to celebrate.

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one of the best looking films ever made

Author: nial_caroline from United Kingdom
24 September 2010

Dick tracy is based of the popular comic book strip from the 1940's. I never actually had read any of the comics before but i decided to give this 1990 film a watch. The movie stars Warren Beatty (who also directs)as the yellow coat wearing detective known as Dick Tracy. In his colorful city of his he beats the bad guys like every comic book hero. His main focus is on the crime boss Big Boy played by Al Pacino. Meanwhile he takes in a street urchin and has a romantic interest in one of Big Boy's girls played by Madonna. The movie is fantastic to look at. It's all extremely colourful and surreal. The other thing i would like to add is that the makeup is really weird (as some of the characters have strange facial features). However the look does distract from the story and the acting. The story is generally your typical comic book flick. The acting is good for the most part Al Pacino in particurlar who got nominated for an Oscar for this role. However Beatty is too old for Tracy and acts very blandly in this film Overall this is an entertaining flick

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Flashy amusing and memorable (despite a lack of story)

Author: Samiam3 from Canada
4 June 2010

No 20th century motion picture feels more like a comic book than Dick Tracy. Its flashy retro approach takes us back to the jazzy 1930's when showgirls had short blonde (pre-Marylin Monroe) hair, men wore long brimmed hats, and smoked fat cigars. The movie is a lot of fun, but the end result feels like it needs something more...a better script. Warren Beatty's primary intention is to put a comic book on celluloid, investing so much into art and design that he cares too little for story.

The film is a direct throwback to the age when comic books started getting adapted to other mediums. With the rise of television in the 1950's batman, spider man and others found their way into people living rooms, both as cartoons and live action (Adam West). From today's perspective those programmes are so stiff, and hokey that they have become almost laughable. Dick Tracy manages to recapture some of those dated charms, and successfully loosened it up a bit. The fight scenes are less chucky (though they still lack gusto) and There are times when the picture is self-mocking (especially whenever Al Pachino is on screen), but the scenario remains fairly shallow and artificial.

Even if the film is not lovable, it is impossible not to like it even a bit. I'll raise my glass to the art department, and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. The Urbanized Americana world in Dick Tracy is the kind of place I'd love to have a vacation in. actually, I am reminded a bit of the New York New York hotel in Las Vegas.

Dick Tracy is certainly not a film to miss, it needs some work for sure. Although it seems to be headed for obscurity (in part because of it's lacking recognition and financial success) It remains pretty unique even today.

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