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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.

Director:

Carl Franklin

Writers:

Walter Mosley (book), Carl Franklin (screenplay)
3 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denzel Washington ... Easy Rawlins
Tom Sizemore ... Dewitt Albright
Jennifer Beals ... Daphne Monet
Don Cheadle ... Mouse Alexander
Maury Chaykin ... Matthew Terell
Terry Kinney ... Todd Carter
Mel Winkler Mel Winkler ... Joppy
Albert Hall ... Odell
Lisa Nicole Carson ... Coretta James
Jernard Burks ... Dupree Brouchard
David Fonteno ... Junior Fornay (as David Wolos-Fonteno)
John Roselius John Roselius ... Mason
Beau Starr ... Miller
Steven Randazzo Steven Randazzo ... Benny Giacomo
Scott Lincoln ... 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, Daphne Monet, happens to be the fiancée of a wealthy "blue blood," Todd Carter, who is currently the favorite in the city's mayoralty race. Daphne 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:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 September 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El demonio vestido de azul See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$16,030,096
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR | SDDS (8 channels)| Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the book of the same name by Walter Mosley. Mosley wrote several Easy Rawlins books. All but two - "Gone Fishin'" and "Six Easy Pieces" - include a color in the title of the book. See more »

Goofs

When Easy gets paid by Albright the first time, the twenty dollar bills are not "Silver Certificate" twenties but "Federal Reserve Notes," which didn't come in until the '60s. 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 RuPaul's Drag Race: Sissy That Walk! (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

HY-AH SU
Written and Performed by Duke Ellington
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Everyone was peeing on my head and telling me it's raining.
19 November 2015 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Devil in a Blue Dress is written and directed by Carl Franklin, who adapts from the book written by Walter Mosley. It stars Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals, Don Cheadle and Maury Chaykin. Music is by Elmer Bernstein and cinematography by Tak Fujimoto.

Carl Franklin had already laid down a considerable neo-noir marker with his searing 1992 thriller One False Move, here he goes more traditional but garners equally impressive results. Plot has Washington as a WW2 veteran who has lost his job and desperately needs money to keep hold of his pride and joy - his house. Taking on a job offered by shifty DeWitt Albright (Sizemore), to find a missing woman, Rawlings quickly finds himself in up to his neck in murder and deception, he must turn ace detective to save his skin.

Set in late 1940s Los Angeles, what instantly stands out is the period detail. The clothes, the cars and the establishments frequented by Easy and company. With voice over narration also provided by Washington, in dry and sardonic tones, it's every inch a loving ode to the film noir movies released at the time the pic is set. There's plenty of neon signs about the place, some bad ass cops, good sex, brandy and sharp suits, smoking and coolness and of course a psychopath in the classic mould (Cheadle excellent).

But of course noir dressage is only that if you haven't got a good pot boiling plot, thankfully this has one. The story takes unexpected turns, always remaining interesting, the distinctive characterisations breathing heavy, managing to off set the run of the mill stereotypes in the supporting ranks. It can be argued that Beals as the titular femme fatale of the title is under written, but the character comes with an air of mystery that serves Franklin's atmosphere very well. Tech credits are high, something of a given with Bernstein and Fujimoto on the list, while Washington turns in another classy show of subtlety and believability.

Lovers of film noir should get much rewards from Devil in a Blue Dress. 7.5/10


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