Saturday, January 11, 2014
DICK TRACY (1990)
Directed By: Warren Beatty
Written By: Jack Epps Jr. & Jim Cash
Based on Characters created by: Chester Gould
Cinematography By: Vittorio Storaro
Editor: Richard Marks
Music By: Danny Elfman
Production Design: Richard Sylbert
Cast: Warren Beatty, Charlie Korsmo, Madonna, Gleanne Headly, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, William Forsythe, Dick Van Dyke, James Caan, Kathy Bates, Estelle Parsons, Michael J. Pollard, Seymour Cassel, James Keane, Charles Durning, Allen Garfield, Charles Fleischer, Mandy Patinkin, Paul Sorovino, Catherine O’Hara, Colm Meaney, Henry Silva, Mary Wornov
All Tess Trueheart wants is to settle down to a quiet life with her boyfriend, detective Dick Tracy. But there's something pretty rotten going on in town, with someone pretty rotten behind it, and Tracy has his hands full with the likes of villain Big Boy Caprice and with the almost irresistable Breathless Mahoney. --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 rewritten by Bo Goldman which became the final script.
The highest-grossing film of Warren Beatty's career
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 Walter Hill, Richard Benjamin, John Landis and Tim Burton were all considered to direct.
Sharon Stone, Michelle Pfeiffer, Melanie Griffith and Kim Basinger Were All Considered for the role Of Breathless Mahoney.
Harrison Ford, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Rebert Deniro, Robert Redford, James Caan and George C. Scott were all considered for the title role of Dick Tracy
This is a film unfairly judged while it didn't do great business at the box office. Stylistically it was a marvel and ahead of it's time, while recreating a classic era using classic techniques. It might be me just holding on to my memories of nostalgia when it comes to this film. As it reminds me at that age how much magic there was at the movies for me at least. When it all seemed simpler
What it also successfully does is not only stay faithful to it's source material, but create an original I skewed reality. That translates to a totally believable comic book world. You have to take into account. How picky and reclusive Warren Beatty Is who starred in and directed the film who always seems out to prove himself even though he has many times over. Now it's shocking a little that he would choose to star in and direct this children's comic strip, then again as an actor who usually likes to be in control of his image and projects. It would make sense to immortalize himself after a popular comic strip icon. (can't wait for Diane Keaton as Kathy, lol) he gives this film all of his passion artistically not slacking in any department. The Rick colors, the elegant costumes, the set pieces and the gorgeous matte backgrounds.
It feels like a pg rated inspiration of the style for the film SIN CITY. Though for a family film it is a bit racy and rough around the edges for the younger crowd especially Madonna bringing more sexuality to her role the ultimate femme fatale.
Though the villains look more like Mutants giving them more of a haunting quality.
It’s nice to see a virtual all star cast go out and put on a show, Impressing while they are allowed to have fun and give some weight to the characters and material.
The film brings a nostalgic glimpse of 1930's classic gangster films and lighthearted comic book film. One of the earlier examples that wasn't as successful ad Disney had hoped. It was their big summer film.
I remember going to the movie theater a week before it opened and tickets for opening night a day early were being sold by buying a t-shirt with the ticket printed on it. I wanted one so Bad I eventually saw it in the theater a few weeks later and loved it. For the film's nationwide midnight premiere, film goers had to purchase t-shirts at the theatre 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 theatres "cheated" and sold t-shirts that evening.
I was shocked by all the big name stars In the film willing to play villains really caricatures of stereotypical movie mobsters. I remember being particularly impressed by Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino and William Forsythe. This was really my first memory of a William Forsythe performance other than his small re in CLOAK & DAGGER and STONE COLD. This only showed his versatility to me.
The film also can be seen as a satire of those gangster films.
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, "Big Boy" Caprice character was originally was inspired by Al Capone.
Madonna is perfectly cast as the femme fatale of the film. Not a great actress but she is serviceable and plays her role to good effect. She looks great until her close-ups which leave a bit to be desired. It feels like her performance is more a homage to Marilyn Monroe more the. Anything else. 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.
Danny Elfman was hired to compose the film score because Warren Beatty was impressed with his work on Batman. Of working with Beatty, Elfman has said "Warren was insane". Gilbert Gotfried was the first choice to play Mumbles until Dustin Hoffman Decided to take the role as a favor to Warren Beatty
This is a fun film that I think the problem was that the same problems. Films like SPEED RACER have where they are using new amazing technology but aimed the film at kids maybe as youth has a more forgiving take on the use of new technology. Though these films are aimed at kids they will be more appreciated for adults. As they are the ones most likely to remember the source material, but as studios want To make a broader dollar aim at kids whose parents will want to go because they remember the original source. Though in the end it's the kids who enjoy it more. While SPEED RACER was severely lacking this film is made with skill and a surprising amount of passion.
It's simple yet mesmerizing as it is almost a nuanced, classy like an animated version of itself, just look at Al Pacino's performance.
Al Pacino actually designed Big Boy Caprice's make-up himself 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 Gene Hackman turned down a role, because he couldn't bare being directed by Warren Beatty again after his experience on Reds.
A 135 minute version of the film exists as confirmed by Warren Beatty in an interview in 2002. He was forced to cut the film to the current 105 minute version at the insistence of then chairman of The Walt Disney Studios' Jeffery Katzenberg, prior to the release.
This film also shows a certain prejudice against mutants as in this film they have no Voice, but to naturally turn to crime and be evil. In a X-Men universe this would be seen as propaganda it doesn't give them any special powers it just makes them scary like human monsters who might have no choice bit to become criminals as society looks down on their physical defects and labels them inferior. Though the film Never really gets that deep Into the individual's motivation. A human superhero film.