Jump to: Spoilers (13)
Al Pacino has stated that Madonna flashed him during rehearsals for this movie, opening her coat to reveal that she was naked underneath. Pacino joked that when he is old if he is observed with a beatific smile on his face, it will be because he is recalling the incident.
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Danny Elfman was hired to compose the film score because Warren Beatty was impressed with his work on Batman (1989). On working with Beatty, Elfman has said "Warren was insane".
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A two hour and fifteen minute version of the film exists, as confirmed by Warren Beatty in a 2002 interview. He was forced to cut the film to the current one hour and forty-five minute version at the insistence of then-chairman of Walt Disney Pictures, Jeffrey Katzenberg, prior to the release.
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Al Pacino has stated in interviews that he enjoyed working on this film, saying that Warren Beatty made ''a wonderful, artistic film, even though now it's like it doesn't even exist'', alluding to the notion that it is a movie that is barely talked about after all these years.
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Make-up designer John Caglione Jr.'s final design of Big Boy Caprice matches the intended design conceived by Al Pacino. Since then, Caglione became Pacino's personal make-up man in all of his films.
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Al Pacino designed Big Boy Caprice's make-up, and completely re-imagined the character, who was originally big and fat in the comics with a little nose. Caprice's resulting film counterpart is of average height with enlarged hands, nose, and cheekbones, hence his street name.
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Producers lobbied for former president Ronald Reagan to play the role of Pruneface, but this was nixed by Warren Beatty.
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Gene Hackman turned down the role of Lips Manlis, because he couldn't bear being directed by Warren Beatty again after his experience on Reds (1981).
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Warren Beatty originally wanted Bob Fosse to direct, but Fosse turned him down. Martin Scorsese was also a fan of the comic strip and considered directing at one point, but he lost interest and chose to make Goodfellas (1990).
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Sean Young was originally cast as Tess Trueheart, but was fired after a few days of filming by Warren Beatty. Afterwards, Young publicly accused Beatty of firing her because she "wouldn't sleep with him", though Deborah Ruf, Charlie Korsmo's mom, later disputed this saying that "the rumor was that she had become too demanding, and they just decided not to put up with it". Beatty issued a statement saying, "I made a mistake casting her in the part, and I felt very badly about it."
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The highest-grossing film of Warren Beatty's career.
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Macaulay Culkin was considered for the role of The Kid, but turned it down, as he preferred to do Home Alone (1990) over this film. Catherine O'Hara, who played Culkin's mother in Home Alone has a cameo as Texie Garcia.
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The "gangsters' boardroom" scene features an on-screen reunion between Al Pacino and James Caan, who played the Corleone brothers in The Godfather (1972).
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According to his autobiography, comedian Gilbert Gottfried was nearly cast in the role of Mumbles based on his distinctive voice. He was perplexed that he and Dustin Hoffman would even be considered for the same role, joking that "the only way our names would appear together in the same Hollywood conversation would be in the sentence, 'I've seen Gilbert Gottfried's acting, and he's no Dustin Hoffman'."
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Al Pacino initially declined credit for the film, and wanted to work under a pseudonym. The Topps souvenir magazine credits his role to "Guido Frascatti".
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This film was originally slated as a Walt Disney Pictures release, but was passed on to Disney's Touchstone Pictures label, as the film was deemed too racy for the Disney reputation. This is alluding to scenes which feature Madonna in revealing outfits and characters spouting double entendres.
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Earlier in pre-production, Tim Burton was offered the chance to direct the movie, but declined because he was already in production with Edward Scissorhands (1990).
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When Tracy leaps off the side of the building onto a lamp post, he smashes his face into the pole (which is actually seen in the final film). Warren Beatty was asked about the scene years later and if he felt bad for the stunt person seen on-screen injuring himself. Beatty's response was "That was me."
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Twenty-one villains from the Chester Gould comic strip appeared in the movie: "Stooge" Viller, Shoulders William, "The Rodent" Wilson (originally Rhodent), The Brow, "Littleface" Finny, "Flattop" Jones, Jake "Itchy" Rossi (originally Itchell Oliver), Patricia "Breathless" Mahoney, 88 Keys (originally Keyes), "Lips" Manlis (originally Manlus), Steve "the Tramp" Brogan, Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice, Lorenzo "Pruneface" Prunesti, Mumbles, Texie Garcia, Influence (originally The Influence), Ribs Mocca (originally Mocco), Ben "Spud" Spaldoni, Johnny Ramm, and The Blank DeSanto.
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One of the hardest characters for the make-up artists to create was "Littleface" Finney, one of the hoodlums killed in the garage shoot-out at the beginning of the film. The character, as created in the comics, has a normal sized head, with a face no bigger than the average adult nose. In order to create this effect, a child was cast as Finney and then fitted into an over-sized body and made-up head as shown by behind the scenes photos. His voice was dubbed in the film, and cut-away shots where you only see his back were done with adult actor Lawrence Steven Meyers.
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As a fan of the comic strip, Warren Beatty wanted to put in as many characters from the comics into the film as he could. This was a measure used by Beatty in case the film didn't have a sequel.
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Dustin Hoffman wore a bald cap and wig, rubber eyelids, rubber lips, and a rubber chin to play Mumbles. When Hoffman was in the make-up chair having his make-up applied, he used that time to practice his lines for his role as Shylock in the London and Broadway productions of "The Merchant of Venice". Make-up artist John Caglione Jr. commented about Hoffman in an interview to Entertainment Weekly, "We had a real drama class. He was riotous."
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As a fan of the comic strip, Warren Beatty was initially offered the director's job. He signed on only if he could play Tracy. The producers, having trouble casting the lead role, happily complied with his wish.
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The back-up dancers and singers supporting Breathless Mahoney were all skilled Broadway performers, who were taught how to intentionally sing poorly for comedic effect.
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Madonna and Warren Beatty were dating in real life during filming. When he proposed to her, and she stalled on the question of marriage, he ended their romance and claimed what he had given her was just a "friendship ring." That was August 1990. They had been an item since April 1989.
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Madonna was paid just $35,000 for her performance in this film.
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Warren Beatty considered appearing in, and even directing, Misery (1990), but chose to do this film instead. This film still features James Caan and Kathy Bates.
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The garage shooting that opens the movie was inspired by the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre", in which Al Capone's gunmen killed a group of rival hoods in a garage. In the Dick Tracy comics, Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice was originally was inspired by Alphonse "Al" Capone.
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The main colors in the film are the six that the original comic strip appeared in: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, plus black and white.
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The make-up used for all of of the villains was based directly on how they were drawn by Chester Gould in the original comic strip. The only exception was Big Boy Caprice, whose make-up was designed by Al Pacino.
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For the film's nationwide midnight premiere, moviegoers had to purchase t-shirts at the theater, in advance, imprinted with an Admit One ticket, and the t-shirt had to be presented to gain admission. No tickets were to be sold at the premiere showing, but some theaters cheated and sold t-shirts that evening.
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This was one of the last films to be made with paintings as backgrounds. Computer graphics imagery (CGI) saves a lot of time and money, but the camera must remain still. Warren Beatty warned his camera people not to pan with the cameras, or swivel to the left or right, because that would make it obvious that the backgrounds were paintings.
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The animated Roger Rabbit short Roller Coaster Rabbit (1990) was released theatrically with this movie.
Though Al Pacino had his own slicked-down hairstyle, the make-up artists had to add a fake chin, nose, upper lip, a mole on his cheek, and plugs behind his ears to make them stick out in order to turn him into Big Boy Caprice.
Make-up designers John Caglione Jr. and Doug Drexler said they often had trouble keeping the Big Boy Caprice make-up on Al Pacino. Caglione told Entertainment Weekly that their biggest scare came when Drexler discovered Al Pacino, in full make-up, was eating a big bowl of spaghetti that could have potentially disfigured his make-up. After that incident, several production assistants were designated as MPs, or "Make-up Police", to follow the actors around and to keep them out of pasta when in full make-up.
When Big Boy shows Dick Tracy the Club Ritz's deed of sale, it lists Big Boy's address as, "Big Boy Caprice, Gratitude St., Homeville" with no state nor zip code. It also shows the date of transfer as "December 1938".
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Warren Beatty hired acclaimed songwriter Stephen Sondheim to write five new songs ("Sooner or Later", "More", "What Can You Lose", "Live Alone and Like It", and "Back in Business") for Breathless Mahoney (Madonna) to sing in the film.
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As a tie-in with the movie, Walt Disney comics released "Dick Tracy: The Tommy Guns and Truehearts Trilogy", which explained the backstory leading up to this movie, with this movie's plot used as the third installment.
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John Landis was originally hired to direct this movie, but he became embroiled in trying to mount a defense in the Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) case; an on set accident in a segment he oversaw which led to the deaths of Vic Morrow and two child actors, and after which he was charged with manslaughter.
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Although not involved in the production, Art Linson and Floyd Mutrux were credited as co-producers, as they were responsible of purchasing the rights first. After the release of the film, Linson and Mutrux launched a lawsuit against Warren Beatty, alleging that they were owed profit participation from the film. This lawsuit prevented Beatty from producing another film for two years, but the case was eventually settled out of court.
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The character of Steve "The Tramp" Brogan was a recurring character, who eventually turned good. The story of "The Tramp" and The Kid in the movie comes straight out of the comic strip. Following the release of the 1990 film, Playmates Toys produced a series of action figures based on characters in the movie. The "Steve the Tramp" action figures were pulled from shelves after homeless advocacy groups complained that the character gave a bad impression of homeless people. Today, "Steve the Tramp" action figures are highly-sought-after collector's items.
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Created in 1931, Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice is based on real life mobster Al Capone. Big Boy actor Al Pacino played the titular role in Scarface (1983) which was a remake of Scarface (1932), a movie loosely based on Capone's life and using the gangster's nickname.
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Stephen Sondheim was unable to receive his Best Song Academy Award for 'Sooner or Later' due to a broken ankle. A week after the Oscars sent him a full-size chocolate Oscar statue, which, ironically enough, arrived with one leg broken. Sondheim later commented that this meant 'Either the producers or the United States Postal Service had a sense of humor.'
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The villains in this film have an infrastructure (Big Boy is the boss of Flattop and Itchy, Lips Manlis is the boss of the five card-playing villains in the beginning), unlike in the comic, where villains each arose and fought Tracy one by one in a fashion largely independent of each other with no hierarchy.
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Make-up designers John Caglione Jr. and Doug Drexler jokingly suggested Ronald Reagan for the role of Pruneface, but Warren Beatty opted for R.G. Armstrong, as he had worked with him on Heaven Can Wait (1978) and Reds (1981). However, Pruneface's ruddy cheeks and liver spots were added as an homage to Reagan by Caglione and Drexler.
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Dick Tracy was previously the subject of the unaired television pilot Dick Tracy (1967), inspired by the success of producer William Dozier's hit Batman (1966), just as this film piggybacked on the success of Batman (1989). Ironically, Bob Kane cited the Dick Tracy comic strip as a huge influence in his initial creation of Batman as a comics character.
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Mike Mazurki's (Old Man at Hotel) last cinema film. In a previous Dick Tracy (1945) movie, he played the villain Splitface.
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During the make-up tests, it was suggested that Warren Beatty be given the detective's famous hooked nose. But after some initial tests, the make-up artists decided that it would have been a crime to hide one of the cinema's most famous faces behind putty and latex.
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The comic strip started in the Chicago Tribune on October 1931. The original name was going to be Plainclothes Tracy, but the publisher changed it to Dick Tracy.
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In an article in Entertainment Weekly about the make-up used for this movie, R.G. Armstrong said his face was covered with a gelatinous material called alginate, which is similar to the stuff dentists use for impressions of teeth, to make a life mask for Pruneface. Then the make-up artists sculpted Pruneface's wrinkled mug over the life mask to form a second mold, from which foam-latex facial parts, also known as appliances, were cast. The appliances were attached to Armstrong's face in several sections, and the make-up session could take up to three hours. When asked what he'd do when the make-up artists would put on his Pruneface make-up, Armstrong said, "I'd go to sleep."
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Kim Basinger, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Sharon Stone were considered for the role of Breathless Mahoney.
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The film cast includes five Oscar winners: Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Estelle Parsons, and Kathy Bates; and four Oscar nominees: James Caan, Charles Durning, Seymour Cassel, and Michael J. Pollard.
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Filming began on February 1, 1989 and ended on April 27, 1989 after 85 days of filming. Using 53 interior sets and 25 exterior sets. The production employed 305 cast, crew, and post-production personnel. Post-production took almost a year.
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Most of the film's "boss" villains debuted in Chester Gould's comic strip in the 1930s, including Big Boy, Lips Manlis, Johnny Ramm, Spud Spaldoni, and Texie Garcia. Most of the film's more grotesque "hired hitman" villains debuted in the 1940s or later (such as Flattop, Itchy, the Brow, and Shoulders).
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This film holds the record for most Oscar wins for a newspaper strip based film with 3 wins.
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The movie was originally conceived in the early 1980s by United Artists, and was to be written by Tom Mankiewicz, who had the movie's only villain, The Blank, with Flattop Jones as the supporting villain in a side plot. Mankiewicz's idea for the start of the movie was to have a beaten-up cop who was on his death bed having a police artist show his drawing of the killer without a face yet drawn. The beaten-up cop says "That's him!" and dies. Dick Tracy creator Chester Gould loved the idea, and wanted him to do the script, but due to Gould's demands on the picture that no one could meet, the project was shelved. After Gould's death, the demands weren't as drastic from his family members, and the project was in development again. After some new attempts with other studios and directors, Warren Beatty purchased the rights and brought the project to Disney and an earlier draft written by Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr. was re-written by Bo Goldman, which became the final script.
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The five villains appearing in the beginning playing cards are: Stooge, Shoulders, The Rodent, The Brow, and Little Face.
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Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson were offered the role of Dick Tracy. Nicholson was committed to playing The Joker in Batman (1989), and De Niro refused the role, for fear of being typecast as a grim, hardened tough guy similar to his Travis Bickle character in Taxi Driver (1976).
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Al Pacino and James Caan were nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for their performances in The Godfather (1972). Pacino received another nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in this film, competing with his The Godfather Part III (1990) castmate Andy Garcia, who played Caan's son. They ended up losing to Joe Pesci for another gangster picture, Goodfellas (1990).
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Of all of the villains, "Numbers" Norton (James Tolkan) and two honorable mentions DeSanto and Louie the Louse were the only ones created for the film.
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Walter Hill was set to direct during pre-production. But he left after disagreements with the studio and Warren Beatty.
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Final film of actor Ian Wolfe (Forger). He was about 93 years old during filming.
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John Caglione Jr. and Doug Drexler said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that they treated the original looks for Chester Gould's comic strip as their Bible for the villains' make-up, because the screenplay for this movie didn't include any physical descriptions of the mobsters. The only exceptions were for certain self-defining villains, such as The Rodent and The Brow.
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James Caan, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, George C. Scott, and Tom Selleck were considered for the role of Dick Tracy.
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The film went through a very long development, with many incarnations, including a musical version in the early 1970s, with Sonny Bono as Dick Tracy, and Cher as Tess Trueheart. Ryan O'Neal also sought to play Tracy in the early 1980s.
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Samantha Fox auditioned for the role of Breathless Mahoney.
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In one scene, after the incident with The Blank in the Southside Warehouse, Big Boy yells to his crew about how he wants Tracy dead. Originally, that scene began with Breathless sarcastically saying, "Tracy really gets under your skin, doesn't he?" before Big Boy starts yelling, but that line was cut. However, Breathless' line appeared in the theatrical trailer and in some television airings of the film (for a while).
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Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman starred in Ishtar (1987), a massive flop that was just as expensive, and yielded the same box-office results, as Heaven's Gate (1980).
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The comic strip gave birth to a radio series in the 1930s, and a series of films in the 1940s, the popularity of which, led to a large range of merchandise. The first was badges bearing Tracy's square jaw, followed by dolls, games, toy guns, two-way wrist radios, and books.
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The character of The Rodent, one of Lips Manlis' henchmen seen playing poker in the opening scene, is from the comic strip. He appeared in 1959, and his name was called "The Rhodent".
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At one stage in the film's development, Steven Spielberg was offered the director's chair.
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During a 2000 interview with Ned Rorem at the 92nd Street Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association, Stephen Sondheim told a story about Madonna's recording session for the songs Sondheim wrote for Dick Tracy. Rorem asked, somewhat facetiously, "What's Madonna really like?" and Sondheim replied, seriously, "Well, I only had the one experience with her. But I can tell you something interesting: when we recorded the songs, she did something I've never known another singer to do. She would not sing--this is when she was singing her solos; when she was doing the duets with Mandy she would be out in the studio--but when she sang her solos, she sang them in the control room. She wanted to be attached, almost umbilically, by wire, to the engineer. And so, you have to think, she's got a microphone in a control room: you [the other people there] can't make any noise whatsoever. The whole point of course of a studio is that it's a controlled silence, so the orchestra and the singer can perform without any aural distractions, or scratches, or whatever. But she insisted on singing in the control room, with the lights dimmed to almost--certainly less than half, so the whole thing was kind of a womb-like feeling, and she was standing right next to the engineer, the microphone was up in front of her. I was sitting there--ordinarily I sit there with a pad and take notes on things I want the singer to do on the second take. But I realized that the sound of the pencil on the paper, no matter how lightly I wrote, would probably kill the recording. So I had to keep thinking, 'all right, I gotta remember, that's a D-flat, not a D ... it's "the", not "a," okay, D-flat, the/a, okay, I want a faster tempo, the, D-flat, the, faster tempo, don't pause, D-flat, the...' And then I found out she would only do two takes. See, unlike Barbra Streisand, with whom I've also worked--Barbra Streisand likes to do 103 takes, and then select note 1 from take 6, and note... Madonna doesn't want to, she won't even bother, she wants to do it, and--I don't think she even claims that it's about spontaneity, she just gets irritated and bored, even choosing between two different takes' sections, I could see her getting increasingly irritated, and she has no patience. Barbra has nothing but patience. Very interesting."
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Recommended by costume designer Milena Canonero, Warren Beatty hired John Caglione Jr. and Doug Drexler as the make-up designers.
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Mandy Patinkin and Madonna shared a duet together in the movie, and also shared playing in roles in Evita. Patinkin as Che on stage, and Madonna in the title role in Evita (1996).
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The city that the Dick Tracy comics take place in is an unnamed city that was based on Chicago. (The Chicago Tribune was the first paper to distribute the Dick Tracy comics) However, in the movie the matte painting of the cityscape are clearly a conglomeration of Chicago and New York City circa 1930's. There are recognizable buildings from both cities in the landscape.
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The first of a handful of films released with a Cinema Digital Sound (CDS) soundtrack, for those movie theaters who had installed decoders. This was the first true digitally encoded format, which came on a series of separate CD Roms to be played by a multi CD drive linked to a computer. This elaborate system was in use until 1992 and then abandoned due to reliability issues.
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This movie is something of a reunion for cast members of the classic gangster film, Bonnie and Clyde (1967). Warren Beatty (Dick Tracy) played Clyde Barrow. Michael J. Pollard (Bug Bailey) played CW Moss. And Estelle Parsons (Tess Trueheart's mom) played Blanche Barrow. In an interesting parallel of scenes, during the final gunfight at the Club Ritz, Dick Tracy (Beatty) shoots out a getaway car's tire forcing it to tumble onto its side and crash. In the film Bonnie & Clyde, during the tourist court shoot out, Clyde (Beatty) shoots out the tire of a police car forcing it to tumble onto its side and crash.
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Of the five films he directed, this is the only one Warren Beatty didn't write, though he did make uncredited script revisions with the help of Bo Goldman.
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The film reunites many actors who appeared in Reds (1981), also starring and directed by Warren Beatty, such as R.G. Armstrong, Paul Sorvino, Jack Kehoe, and Ian Wolfe.
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Principal photography began February 1, 1989 and ended on April 27, 1989 after 85 days using 53 interior sets and 25 exterior sets with 305 cast, crew and post production personnel. Post production lasted nearly a year. designing the sets lasted from 13 June 1988 to the first day of shooting.
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The villains from the comic strip and previous media that didn't appear in the film are B-B Eyes, Oodles, The Mole and Sketch Paree.
In the comic strip Itchy's real name was Itchell Oliver, but in the film, his real name is Jake Rossi.
Warren Beatty personally bought the film and television rights to Dick Tracy in 1985, and he has retained them to this day.
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During the "Back In Business" montage of Big Boy's goons terrorizing the city, there's a scene of a hoodlum shooting an overweight cop by a fruit stand. This may or may not be an allusion to The Dick Tracy Show (1961) cartoons from the 1960's which featured an overweight cop named Heap O'Calorie who's introduction scenes always began with Heap getting his two-way radio instructions from Tracy while standing near a fruit stand where he's always stealing an apple.
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Dustin Hoffman took at least two films that originally offered to Al Pacino. Hoffman took both Lenny (1974) and Marathon Man (1976) which Pacino declined.
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Disney's first film based on a comic strip or comic book. They would later distribute most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Disney's first Marvel film, The Avengers (2012), featured Harry Dean Stanton, who also appeared in The Godfather Part II (1974) with Al Pacino and James Caan.
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To promote the film Warren Beatty, in character as Dick Tracy, participated in Dick Tracy Special (2010), an interview with Leonard Maltin that aired as a half-hour TV special on TCM. This was produced by Beatty and was done partly as the means for retaining the rights to the character.
Included among the American Film Institute's 2004 list of 400 movies nominated for the top 100 America's Greatest Music in the Movies for the song "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)."
Dick Van Dyke, who only worked on the film for three days, broke his shoulder when he was shooting the scene where his character is murdered by The Blank. That take was the one that was eventually used in the film.
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Right before the five villains at the poker game are killed, The Brow gets two pair, aces and eights. This is widely known as the "dead man's hand", since famous sheriff Wild Bill Hickok of Deadwood, South Dakota was holding it when he was shot and killed in 1876.
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Mystery writer Max Allan Collins, who began his career writing scripts for the Dick Tracy comics in the 1970s and 1980s, wrote the movie tie-in novel. He wrote two endings for the novels. To prevent spoiling the plot, the books released before the movie did not feature the revelation that The Blank was really Breathless Mahoney. The novels released after the film featured this reveal. Also, Collins wrote a direct sequel to the movie called "Dick Tracy Goes To War". In the novel, Nazi spies (including Pruneface's widow) take over Big Boy's Club Ritz, and use it as a base for sabotage operations. Dick Tracy, now working for Military Intelligence, battles the spies, who are also using mobsters like BB Eyes, Shakey (Breathless' dad in the comics), and The Mole as muscle.
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In the comic book version of this movie, a line is added. When Breathless is dying she asked Dick Tracy if it could ever have really happened between them. In the movie he doesn't reply, in the comic he replies with "It came darn close"
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When Playmates Toys released action figures as a tie in for the movie, they made The Blank action figure to where you could "unmask" the figure, revealing that The Blank was really Breathless Mahoney. Because of this, the figure was pulled from store shelves in the United States so as not to spoil the ending of the film. However, the figure was still available in Canada. Because of this, The Blank action figure is a highly sought after toy for collectors. Figures listed on EBAY average $1000 or more in online auctions.
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The disguised voice of The Blank (No-Face) sounds identical to the disguised voice of Princess Leia when she is dressed as a bounty hunter to free Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983).
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Body Count: 27.
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Connections to The Godfather (1972): In the mob summit meeting at the Club Ritz, Al Pacino (Big Boy) who played Michael Corleone and James Caan who played Sonny Corleone (Spaldoni) share a scene. There is another, more subtle connection to the movie. In THE GODFATHER, a well-known visual cue before a murder is when oranges are around. One of Big Boy's habits is to eat walnuts. There are scenes where walnuts are present when he is either killing or ordering the killing of someone. In the boardroom scene, just before Spaldoni is killed, Big Boy can be seen playing with a tray full of walnuts.
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Al "Big Boy" Caprice shares similarities to the Joker in Tim Burton's Batman (1989), which had been released just one year prior to this film; both are ruthless gangsters who liken themselves to artists and intellectuals. They both claim that a powerful mob boss signed all their operations over to them, when in reality they had killed said mob boss (as well as take their blond girlfriend as their own). They also both have an affinity for wearing purple and green. And both are portrayed with over the top glee by two legendary actors, Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson respectively; while the former was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards, Nicholson was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy.
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Spud Spaldoni (James Caan) is killed by a car bomb planted by Big Boy Caprice (Al Pacino). Caan and Pacino previously appeared in The Godfather (1972), in which Pacino's first wife was killed by a car bomb.
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Warren Beatty appeared in Bonnie and Clyde (1967). His violent death at the end of that film was the model for The Godfather (1972)'s death of Sonny Corleone (James Caan).
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In the comic book version of this movie, a line is added. When Breathless is dying she asks Dick Tracy if it could ever have really happened between them. In the movie he doesn't reply, in the comic he replies with "It came darn close"