6.7/10
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Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

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

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Matthew Terell
...
Todd Carter
Mel Winkler ...
Joppy
...
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
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Storyline

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 <joelsd@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Private detective Easy Rawlins has been caught on the wrong side of the most dangerous secret in town. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 September 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El demonio vestido de azul  »

Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$16,030,096 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (8 channels)|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Don Cheadle won the Los Angeles Film Critics Award and National Society of Film Critics Award for playing Easy Rawlins dangerous sidekick, "Mouse." His performance drew much critical praise. See more »

Goofs

Several of the cars used in the background are post-1948 models including one with fins. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Melrose Place: Devil in a Wet Dress (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

THE LORD BROUGHT US OUT
Written by James Cleveland
Performed by James Cleveland & The Angelic Choir
Courtesy of Savoy Records
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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.


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