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The Black Dahlia (2006)

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Two policemen see their personal and professional lives fall apart in the wake of the "Black Dahlia" murder investigation.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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2,445 ( 147)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Det. Russ Millard
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Dolph Bleichert
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Emmett Linscott
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Chief Ted Green
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Morrie Friedman
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Tomas Dos Santos
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Capt. John Tierney (as Angus MacInnis)
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Storyline

In 1946, the former boxers Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert and Lee Blanchard are policemen in Los Angeles. Lee has a good relationship with his chief and uses a box fight between them to promote the department and get a raise to the police force. They succeed and are promoted to homicide detectives, working together. Bucky becomes a close friend of Lee and his girlfriend Kay Lake, forming a triangle of love. When the corpse of the aspirant actress 'Elizabeth Short (I)' is found mutilated, Lee becomes obsessed to solve the case called by the press Black Dahlia. Meanwhile, Bucky's investigation leads him to a Madeleine Linscott, the daughter of a powerful and wealthy constructor that resembles the Black Dahlia. In an environment of corruption and lies, Bucky discloses hidden truths. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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From Brian de Palma director of Scarface and The Untouchables See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, some grisly images, sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

15 September 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La dalia negra  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£566,874 (UK) (15 September 2006)

Gross:

$22,518,325 (USA) (20 October 2006)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Lorna Mertz, played by Jemima Rooper, was based on a figure in the real case named Norma Lee Myer. Under the name Lynn Martin, she had been living with Elizabeth Short and another girl named Marjorie Graham in a hotel shortly before the murder. At the time of the investigation, Martin was 15 years old and had several arrests on her record. See more »

Goofs

Seeing Madeleine for the first time, Bucky observes that she is not the first Dahlia "wannabe" he's seen, but she is the best. The word "wannabe" did not come into usage until the mid 1980s. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: [voiceover] Mr. Fire versus Mr. Ice. For everything people were making it out to be, you'd think it was our first fight. It wasn't. And it wouldn't be our last.
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Connections

References Black Angel (1946) See more »

Soundtracks

In the Mood
Written by Joe Garland (as Joseph C. Garland)
Used by Permission of Shapiro Bernstein & Co. Inc. (ASCAP)
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User Reviews

 
A Black Comedy?
13 September 2006 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

De Palma's staged, theatrical style has always felt like an in-joke: an expressive homage (or sometimes a slap in the face) to the conventions of cinema. And in the case of his high- energy thrillers, the joke is funny and damned entertaining. But in the case of his dramas, De Palma constantly walks a thin line between evocative melodrama and camp (The wonderful "Carlito's Way," in my opinion, is the exception). And "The Black Dahlia" often steps over that line.

With a steady build-up of noir conventions, the film hearkens to the expressionistic film and acting styles of the 40's -- a style which can induce giggles in audiences raised on irony. And I can count a few musical swells, flamboyant acting choices and dramatic fade-outs which caused unwanted comic relief. Or did it? If there's one thing De Palma loves more than entertaining his audience, it's confounding them. How else do you explain the two-hour joke that was "Raising Cain"? (Although I, for one, found that particular joke damned funny).

You watch "Dahlia" with the distinct impression that De Palma is enjoying every minute of it. He's copying Wilder, Welles and, you guessed it, Hitchcock -- and he's having a blast doing it. So when Josh Hartnett's character pulls a full dinner setting (including the turkey) off a table and throws Scarlett Johansson down lustfully upon it, should we also smile and remember "Double Indemnity"? I guess it would help if you've seen "Double Indemnity."

That said, the film's biggest flaw is that it smiles at itself for so long that it leaves little time to wrap up the plot. The onslaught of last-reel revelations seems to exist only to give the actors more opportunity to relish in the delicious mood De Palma has created. We never really cared about the plot in the first place because De Palma didn't care about it either. He's more interested in the shadows, the thrills, the drama, the lurking killers, swelling music, lusty confrontations and blood splatters. And the plot points get lost somewhere in the mix. So who can blame us for glazing over when Hartnett finally starts to care about the mysteries rather than just being mystified by them? De Palma has painted such an odd, exciting picture (even when it turns to camp) that the audience would rather keep watching the elaborate set-ups than sit through the convoluted solutions.

But then again, what good is a joke without a satisfying punch line?


98 of 174 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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