Monday, August 3, 2015

Dick Tracy (1990) Comic Pulp Noir


(SLWB July 11, 2013)
   


Director: Warren Beatty, Cinematography: Vittorio Storaro, Writers: Chester Gould (characters), Jim Cash, and Jack Epps Jr.

Stars: Warren Beatty (Dick Tracy), Charlie Korsmo (The Kid), Madonna (Breathless Mahoney), Glenne Headly (Tess Trueheart), and Al Pacino (Big Boy Caprise) with huge supporting cast includding William Forsythe (Flattop) Seymour Cassel (Sam Catchem) Charles Durning (Chief Brandon) Mandy Patinkin (88 Keys) Paul Sorvino (Lips Manlis) R.G. Armstrong (Pruneface) Dustin Hoffman (Mumbles) Kathy Bates (Mrs. Green) Dick Van Dyke (D.A. Fletcher) Henry Silva (Influence) James Caan (Spaldoni) Michael J. Pollard (   Bug Bailey) Henry Jones (Night Clerk) Estelle Parsons (Mrs. Trueheart) John Schuck (Reporter) and Noir vets Henry Jones (Night Clerk) Ian Wolfe (Forger) Mike Mazurki (Old Man at Hotel).

Chester Gould's comic strip Dick Tracy brought to life in Pulp Noir a pastiche of comic strip/graphic novel, Poetic Realism, Pulp Fiction, and Film Noir.

Beatty and Vittorio Storaro along with Art Direction by Harold Michelson, Set Decoration by Rick Simpson, the Buena Vista Visual Effects Group and Costume Design by Milena Canonero create an enjoyable fantasy world of late 30's early 40's Chicago in a pallet limited to the six main colors that the original comic strip appeared in: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, plus black and white.

Dick Tracy's Chi-town "THE CITY"


Beatty's Tracy is a nice "good guy", always doing the right thing, tough and seemingly incorruptible, but as played by Beatty he is human, tempted determinedly by his femme fatale wanna be, Breathless Mahoney (Madonna). Glenne Headly plays Tess his long time sweetheart, the "good" girl. Charlie Korsmo plays tough street urchin "Kid", who is taken under Tracy's wing. Madonna's Breathess is stunning, she plays is Lip's Manlis's girlfriend/torch singer working his club, when Manlis is whacked she becomes the property of Big Boy Caprise mob boss. Caprise (Pacino) is not only an over the top mobster but a closet choreographer and in a hilarious segment he joins Breathless and the chorines on stage trying to spice up their new number.

Tess & Beatty


The Kid


Some of the best sequences are of Breathless practically showing everything she's got while trying to work her womanly charms on a stoic Tracy.

Breathless trying to seduce Tracy it a dress slit crotch high:

Breathless: What's a girl got to do to get arrested in this town?
Dick Tracy: That dress is a step in the right direction

Dick Tracy: No grief for Lips?
Breathless Mahoney: I'm wearing black underwear.
Dick Tracy: You know, it's legal for me to take you down to the station and sweat it out of you under the lights.
Breathless Mahoney: I sweat a lot better in the dark.



Breathless: Aren't you gonna frisk me?



The Mobsters:

Big Boy


Lips


Pruneface


Flattop


Influence


Spaldoni


Mumbles



The diegetic music is great, the songs sung by Madonna by Sondheim, and the soundtrack music by Danny Elfman not really that memorable, maybe they will grow on me with repeated viewings. A fun film 8/10

A homage shot to French Poetic Realism that I caught, there maybe more of them:

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