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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:

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:

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

Jennifer Beals and Denzel Washington were also in The Book of Eli (2010). See more »

Goofs

When Mouse is driving Ezekiel's car while their taking Joppy to the cabin, the turning knob on the steering wheel is on the left of Mouse's hand, then to the right, then back to the left. 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 V: Devil in a Blue Dress (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

BLUES AFTER HOURS
Written by Pee Wee Crayton & Jules Bihari (as Jules Taub)
Performed by Pee Wee Crayton
Courtesy of Point Blank Classics & Virgin Records America, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

Great detective story full of character, characters and plot
5 October 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

When Ezekiel `Easy' Rawlins loses his job he begins to worry how he'll make ends meet when DeWitt Albright offers him cash to help find Daphne Monet, the fiancée of politician Todd Carter. He takes the job as she is known to like Afro-Americans and will be easier for him to find. He gets information from a friend but is then framed for her murder. Stuck between the police and Albright's men, Easy has to uncover why Monet is so important to so many people and save himself from jail.

Franklin's greatest achievement here is the way he brings the period to life, albeit with a certain amount of nostalgic love for the idea. The film has a great jazz soundtrack and a real sense of place and atmosphere to it. This supports the plot well and makes the film feel stronger and richer for it. The plot is a solid mystery that sees Easy pulled into a wider plot with the inevitable twists and turns. It is layered well without being too complex or difficult to follow, but neither does it allow itself to become too simplistic or easy. The film doesn't really play on racism or the race of Easy but it does make race an equal influence (with money, power and influence) on the plot and the characters.

Washington plays Easy well, reacting well to things and being a good character. I don't know if it was ever planned that Easy would be a character than would allow for further adaptations, but I know I would like to have seen Washington take Easy further into his PI role. Sizemore is good in support, as are Kinney, Carson, Beals and Chaykin. The strongest support is given by Cheadle. His character may be extreme but he brings an energy to the film that it benefits from (although it didn't need it). The cast all ad to the rich feel of the plot and direction.

Overall this is a solidly enjoyable detective story with all the twists and turns that you could expect from that genre. However it also benefits from a great sense of place and time that is all though the film – not merely painted on with sets or soundtrack. A class act from Washington and others just adds to the feeling of quality.


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