Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  29 September 1995 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 12,549 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 53 user | 52 critic | 21 from

An African American man is hired to find a woman and gets mixed up in a murderous political scandal.



(book), (screenplay)
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3 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Terell
Todd Carter
Mel Winkler ...
Degan Odell
Coretta James
Dupree Brouchard
Junior Fornay (as David Wolos-Fonteno)
John Roselius ...
Detective Mason
Beau Starr ...
Detective Jack Miller
Steven Randazzo ...
Benny Giacomo
Richard McGee


It is 1948 in LA and Ezikeal "Easy" Rawlins, an African-American World War II veteran, is looking for work. At his friend's bar, he is introduced to a white man, DeWitt Albright, who is looking for someone to help him find a missing white woman assumed to be hiding somewhere in LA's Black community. This woman, Daphane Monet, happens to be the fiancée of a wealthy "blue blood," Todd Carter, who is currently the favorite in the city's mayoralty race. Daphane Monet is known to frequent the Black jazz clubs in LA. Easy, innocently, accepts Albright's offer; however, he quickly finds himself amidst murder, crooked cops, ruthless politicians, and brutalizing hoodlums. This is a Chandler-esque "who-done-it" with an African-American theme. Written by Joel Schesser <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In a world divided by black and white, Easy Rawlins is about to cross the line. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

29 September 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El demonio vestido de azul  »

Box Office


$27,000,000 (estimated)


$16,030,096 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (8 channels)|



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The weapons used by Mouse Alexander (Don Cheadle) are a British Webley Mark VI revolver in .455 caliber and a model 1903 Colt Pocket Hammerless automatic in .32 ACP caliber. At times the Pocket Hammerless is also used by Easy Rawlings (Denzel Washington). See more »


Easy has a telephone, which makes it very easy for him to communicate with various other characters in the movie. How does an unemployed black man in 1948 Los Angeles, who is two months behind on his mortgage payments, has other debts, and can barely afford a loaf of bread at 15¢, afford to keep up his payments on a telephone (still a fairly expensive luxury in 1948)? See more »


[first lines]
Easy Rawlins: It was summer 1948, and I needed money. After goin' door-to-door all day long, I was back again at Joppy's bar trying to figure out where I was gonna go looking for work the next day. The newspapers was goin' on and on about the city elections - like they was really gonna change somebody's life. But my life had already changed when I lost my job three weeks before.
See more »


References Chinatown (1974) See more »


Written by Porter Grainger, Jimmy Witherspoon, Robert Graham Prince & Clarence Williams
Performed by Jimmy Witherspoon
Courtesy of Tuff City / Night Train International
See more »

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User Reviews

A Different Shade Of Film Noir
9 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is the kind of film that can stay with you for awhile after you watch it: a haunting kind of film that isn't always pleasant or easy to understand but you remember it. It also helps to have a fondness for the 1940 film noir movies.

It doesn't help that it appears racist in nature with people of one color all being the bad guys while people with another color all the good guys. I won't say which is which, but if the colors were reversed, there would have been an outcry about the obvious bias here by screenwriter-director Carl Franklin. Despite this, it's still a fascinating movie that just oozes with the 1940s atmosphere. Great narration in there, a la film noir, great automobiles and great sets. It puts you right into the late 40s in Los Angeles, a little bit like the film Chinatown.

Denzel Washington does a nice job with the narration and the lead role, the character of "Easy Rawlins," off the book by Walter Moseley (which I read and recommend). Tom Sizemore and Don Cheadle play very intense characters in supporting roles, particularly Cheadle as the trigger-happy "Mouse." Jennifer Beals is alluring as the mysterious "Daphne Monet."

The film is a bit confusing in parts and was especially so for me since the book was not exactly the same and had a totally different ending. Nonetheless, the film has always fascinated me and drawn me back for multiple viewings. It's good storytelling and it would be fun to see more of Moseley's books translated to the big screen.

33 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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