DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS [1995] [Standard Edition] [Blu-ray] [1995 / 2023] [UK Release] Carl Franklin's neo-film noir is hard-boiled and filled with moods of disillusionment in Los Angeles!

Carl Franklin confirmed his name as one of the key voices of the nineties neo-noir revival when he followed up the 1992 modern classic ‘One False Move’ with this 1995 adaptation of Walter Mosley’s “Easy Rawlins” novel. Denzel Washington plays Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, a private investigator in post-war Los Angeles who uncovers a web of corruption while on the search for the mistress of a wealthy businessman.

FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1995 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards: Win: Best Supporting Actor for Don Cheadle. Nomination: Best Production Design for Gary Frutkoff. 1995 New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Best Supporting Actor for Don Cheadle. 1995 San Sebastián International Film Festival: Nomination: Golden Seashell for Carl Franklin. 1996 Chicago Film Critics’ Awards: Nomination: CFCA Award for Best Supporting Actor for Don Cheadle. Nomination: CFCA Award for Best Actor for Denzel Washington. Nomination: CFCA Award for Most Promising Actor for Don Cheadle. 1996 Edgar Allen Poe Awards: Nomination: Best Motion Picture for Carl Franklin. 1996 Image Awards [NAACP]: Nomination: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture for Jennifer Beals. Nomination: Outstanding Motion Picture. Nomination: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for Don Cheadle. Nomination: Outstanding Soundtrack Album. 1996 National Society of Film Critics’ Awards, USA: Win: Best Supporting Actor for Don Cheadle. Win: Best Cinematography Tak Fujimoto. 1996 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Nomination: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role for Don Cheadle. 1996 USC Scripter Award: Nomination: Carl Franklin (screenwriter) Walter Mosley (author).   

FILM FACT No.2: ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ is a 1995 American neo-noir mystery thriller film written and directed by Carl Franklin, based on Walter Mosley's 1990 novel of the same name and features Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals, and Don Cheadle. Set in the summer of 1948, the film follows World War II veteran Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins [Denzel Washington] who, desperate in need of a job, becomes drawn into a search for a mysterious woman. ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ received positive reviews, especially with many praising Don Cheadle's performance. ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on the 16th September, 1995. In the United States, it opened in wide release on the 29th September, 1995. In its widest release the film was featured in 1,432 theaters across the U.S.A.

Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals, Don Cheadle, Maury Chaykin, Terry Kinney, Mel Winkler, Albert Hall, Lisa Nicole Carson, Jernard Burks, David Fonteno, John Roselius, Beau Starr, Steven Randazzo, Scott Lincoln, L. Scott Caldwell, Barry Shabaka Henley, Nick Corello, Kenny Endoso, Joseph Latimore, Renée Humphrey, R.J. Knoll, Kai Lennox, Poppy Montgomery, Brendan Kelly, Peggy Rea, Vinny Argiro, Deborah Lacey, Brazylia Kotere, Jeris Poindexter, Frank Davis, Matthew Barry, Mark Cotone, Brian E. O'Neal, G. Smokey Campbell, Alan Craig Schwartz, Steve Sekely, J.D. Smith, Nigel Gibbs, Carole Kravetz Aykanian (uncredited), Jesse Beaton, (uncredited), Gary Frutkoff (uncredited), Shann Johnson (uncredited), John David Washington (uncredited) and Coffee Wright (uncredited)

Director: Carl Franklin

Producers: Donna Gigliotti, Edward Saxon, Gary Goetzman, Jesse Beaton, Jonathan Demme, Thomas A. Imperato and Walter Mosley

Screenplay: Carl Franklin (screenplay) and Walter Mosley (book)

Composer: Elmer Bernstein

Make-up and Hair Department: Edna Sheen (Key Make-up Artist), Elaine L. Offers (Assistant Make-up Artist) (uncredited), Scott Wheeler (Special Make-up Effects Artist (uncredited), Jasen Joseph Sica (Hair stylist for Ms. Jennifer Beal) and Kenneth Walker (Key hair stylist)

Costume Design: Sharen Davis

Cinematography: Tak Fujimoto, A.S.C. (Director of Photography)

Special Effects: Ralph Winiger (Special Effects), Scott Coulter (Special Effects crew) (uncredited), Steve Cotroneo (Key artist: prop fabricator) (uncredited) and Thomas R. Ward (Special Effects supervisor)

Visual Effects: Marc Scott (Digital Compositor) (uncredited)

Image Resolution: 1080p (Color by Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
English: 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio

Subtitles: English

Running Time: 101 minutes

Region: Region B/2

Number of discs: 1

Studio: TriStar Pictures / Powerhouse Films / INDICATOR

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ [1995] is Carl Franklin's stunning adaptation of Walter Mosley's 1990 mystery novel, and is a first-rate American pulp — fast, absorbing and substantive.

The movie ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ also confirms Carl Franklin as an efficient, tough-minded screenwriter with a compelling moral vision of the way the world works and the directorial talent to bring it to life. Carl Franklin's work here is spare, lean and very powerful — just as it was in his 1992 debut, ‘One False Move,’ and his magnificent 1993 miniseries “Laurel Avenue.”

Carl Franklin comes straight out of a tradition of straightforward narrative cinema that reaches back to directors like Howard Hawks and John Huston, yet with a realistic social consciousness that gives Carl Franklin's movies even greater depth and relevance. Right now, he's right up there with the best.

‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ is set in Los Angeles in 1948; the movie begins innocently enough when a tough guy named Dewitt Albright [Tom Sizemore] walks into a bar on the black side of town. Dewitt Albright is the all-time “fixer” — a guy who, for a certain price, “does favours for his friends.” In this instance, his "friend" is a millionaire politician Todd Carter [Terry Kinney] who needs help tracking down his girlfriend, Daphne Monet [Jennifer Beals]. Normally, Dewitt Albright   would take care of the matter himself, but because he's white and the mysterious Daphne Monet prefers the city's black honky-tonks and juke joints, Dewitt Albright   needs a black man to find the missing Daphne Monet.

Which is where Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins [Denzel Washington] comes in, because Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins isn’t a private detective; because Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins is just an ordinary working man, but unfortunately Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins has just lost his job and is looking for a way to pay the mortgage on the little house he bought for himself when he returned from the war, Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins decides to accept Dewitt Albright's offer of $100 to see what he can dig up information on where Daphne Monet is hiding.

What Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins can't know, of course, is that  mixing himself up with Daphne Monet and Dewitt Albright mixes him up in a web of corrupt frame-ups, extortion and murder involving the most corrupt and powerful figures in Los Angeles. Though the story is challengingly intricate — far more so than would be possible to make sense of here — Carl Franklin never loses control of it. To the contrary, few films are more assured in their storytelling or build more forcefully, irrevocably toward their resolution.

Still, Carl Franklin never sacrifices depth for narrative momentum; nor does he allow that momentum to steamroll the beautifully detailed work of his cast. As for Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, actor Denzel Washington is more grounded and charismatic than he has ever been — not to mention he is very sexy. Certainly, it's as tough a role for Denzel Washington has ever had to play and it gives the star actor ample opportunity to demonstrate why Denzel Washington is one of the main reasons we still go to the movies to see this actor in action.

Denzel Washington makes author Walter Mosley’s colloquial urban chatter sound edgy and spontaneous, like a jazz musician's improvisations. But if Denzel Washington's performance is rounded and melodic, like a ballad, the one given by Don Cheadle, as Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins hair-trigger sidekick, Mouse Alexander, who is jagged and rough. Now try to imagine that in addition, his character is darkly, scarily funny, and you may begin to understand just how cool a performance this is with Don Cheadle.

The film's principal virtue, though, is its sense of reality — in particular the reality of segregated Los Angeles in the 1940’s. No Hollywood film that I can remember gives such a vivid portrait of everyday black life, and makes such a dramatic connection between the hope that is evident on the streets of Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins neighbourhood and the despair we've seen in the films that capture those same streets 40 years later. Carl Franklin has said that, ultimately, the movie ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ is about the American dream — something filmmakers often say when hyping their films. Writer and director Carl Franklin skilfully plumbs the “film noir” depths of this taut dream. ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ is a total beautiful gem of a movie.

Overall, the movie ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ is a genuine class act, through and through. It looks great, sounds great, and boasts many fine performances and an expertly told story, as well as squeezing in plenty of social commentary without labouring the point. It’s a woefully under-appreciated film that I’m glad TriStar Pictures / Powerhouse Films + INDICATOR has given ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ a new lease of life.


WEST SIDE BABY (Written by John Cameron and Dallas Bartley) [Performed by T-Bone Walker]

AIN’T NOBODY’S BUSINESS (Written by Porter Grainger, Jimmy Witherspoon, Robert Graham Prince, and Clarence Williams) [Performed by Jimmy Witherspoon]

HY-AH SU (Written by Duke Ellington) [Performed by Duke Ellington]

MAYBE I SHOULD CHANGE MY WAYS (Written by Duke Ellington and John La Touche) [Performed by Duke Ellington]

HOP, SKIP AND JUMP (Written by Roy Milton) [Performed by Roy Milton]

GOOD ROCKIN’ TONIGHT (Written by Roy Brown) [Produced and Performed by Brian O'Neal]

BLUES AFTER HOURS (Written by Pee Wee Crayton and Jules Bihari) [Performed by Pee Wee Crayton]

RAIN IN MY EYES (Written by Milton Ager, Joseph McCarthy and Jean Schwartz) [Performed by Joan Shaw]

PARLEZ-MOI D’AMOUR (Music by Jean Lenoir and Lyrics by Jean Lenoir [Performed by Lucienne Boyer]

I CAN’T GO ON WITHOUT YOU (Written by Sally Nix and Henry Glover) [Performed by Bull Moose Jackson]

ON A SLOW BOAT TO CHINA (Written by Frank Loesser) [Performed by Kay Kyser]

ROUND MIDNIGHT (Written by Bernard Hanighen, Cootie Williams, and Thelonious Monk) [Performed by Thelonious Monk]

CHICKEN SHACK BOODIE (Written by Lola Ann Callum and Amos Milburn) [Performed by Amos Milburn]

PEACE BE STILL (Written by James Cleveland) [Performed by James Cleveland and The Angelic Choir]

THE LORD BOUGHT US OUT (Written by James Cleveland) [Performed by James Cleveland and The Angelic Choir]

MESSIN’ AROUND (Written by Floyd Hunt) [Performed by Memphis Slim]

CHICA BOO (Written by Lloyd Glenn) [Performed by Lloyd Glenn]

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Blu-ray Image Quality – TriStar Pictures, Powerhouse Films + INDICATOR presents us the film ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ with this new Blu-ray and was sourced from 35mm print elements. This new presentation is yet another example of how much a fresh new scan and attentive restoration can improve over an older video master, even for a film that’s not really all that old itself. It ends up having a cleaner film-like texture that can be attributed to an improved rendering of the film’s very fine grain. The colours also end up coming out a bit more vivid and bright here in comparison to the previous editions, the neon lights of the nightclubs having a gorgeous pop to them. The colours do end up leaning a little more on the green end of things but its subtle and I feel this comes even closer to what Franklin wanted based on comments in his commentary, more than the previous releases. The shift in the colours also ends up lending Jennifer Beals’ blue dresses a bluer look where they had a violet tint to them in previously, which of course better fits the title. Black levels are richer and allow for more shadow detail, though I felt some aspects of a final shootout could still come out a little flat and hard to see. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – TriStar Pictures, Powerhouse Films + INDICATOR brings us the film ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround soundtrack. The mix isn’t overly aggressive, music and some background effects that include gunshots in one scene making their way to the surrounds, but it all sound really is really crisp and sharp, and the range can be very wide. Dialogue is also still very easy to hear and understood with no excessive filtering sounding to have been performed. So all in all, a really good all round audio experience.

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Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Special Feature: Audio Commentary with Carl Franklin [Audio only] [1999] [1080p] [1.85:1] 101:14] With this featurette, we get to hear from Writer and Director Carl Franklin talking in-depth with all aspects of the film ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ and as the film starts, Carl Franklin welcomes us to his audio commentary and wants us to share his experiences in directing this film, and also behind-the-scene filming and also just general stories related to the 1995 film. Carl Franklin is incredibly passionate about filmmaking and is really eager to share it with us, providing a substantial amount of detail about the decisions he made for the film, everything from the film’s music to casting to the general look of the film where he even gets into the films colour image timing. Carl Franklin says that before directing the film wondered how he would like to do the opening credits and especially the background painting so to enhance the white opening credits at the start of the film and wondered if it could look like a “film noir” film. So he decided to have a painting depicting the period the film is set in 1948 that was done by the WPA Poster Division that was headed by Richard Floethe and the painting we get to view was entitled “Brownsville At Night” and in fact it is a scene set in Chicago.  Carl Franklin also talks a bit about the original novel, explains the changes he made and why he made them, and then talks about the editing process and how he discovered certain aspects of the film during that process. Now Carl Franklin wants to inform us that he wanted to show the hustle and bustle of the town the film is set in that period of America the film Is set in and capture the excitement of that period in time and the people who had experience that period in time and also he informs us that they only had a budget of $22,000,000 to make the film, and feels showing now and again the street scene really opens up the film and also captured the atmosphere of that period of time in 1940’s America. When you first see the actor Denzel Washington sitting in a bar smoking a cigarette, Carl Franklin says the actor does not smoke cigarettes in real life, but he inhales for this project for the film and Denzel Washington was very worried while filming that he might get a addicted to cigarettes, but luckily it did not happen. Carl Franklin now talks about the people who keep drinking alcohol throughout the film, and says it reflects what it was like in America in the 1940’s which was so much the scene that Carl Franklin wanted to show in the film pf lots of smoking of cigarettes and drinking lots of booze. Carl Franklin now informs us that Denzel Washington’s automobile he drove around was a 1946 Pontiac Torpedo 4-Door Sedan and the automobile was an actual real one and to show the period the film was set in and especially showing it in the suburb of Los Angeles to make the film look authentic and being set in 1948 was showing you what it was like just after the end of the Second World War and it was a period in America where people flocked to Los Angeles and California as they wanted to seek and make their fortune and of course it was the period called “The American Dream.” Carl Franklin says he felt Denzel Washington was very “buff” and brought his workout equipment to the studio  and would turn up at the studio at 5:00am to do a really good workout session, which was always an hour before Denzel Washington went into make-up room in the studio and also says that Denzel Washington is a “method actor” and the wardrobe he had to wear, wore it all the time, even when not acting in front of the camera, and especially walking about the street before filming started so to get into his character in the film. At chapter 2 we met the actor Tom Sizemore who Denzel Washington’s character has to go to for the job offer, and Carl Franklin felt the actor Tom Sizemore played his character really well and felt the actor was perfect his part in the film, and of course, Denzel Washington’s character needed the job because he lost his job and desperately needed to earn some good money, and actor Tom Sizemore’s character offers Denzel Washington a great deal of money to find a certain mystery woman Daphne Monet that has gone missing, and now Denzel Washington has now become a private detective. At chapter 3 we are in another smoky bar with lots of black characters dancing, because Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins trying to get information about the missing woman character, and Carl Franklin said that all the extras were very keen to be part of that scene in the smoky bar dancing and were also very excited to be part of the project, and suddenly Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins meets the actress Lisa Nicole Carson who plays the character Coretta James and Carl Franklin says that when they were searching for an actress to play the character Coretta James and when Lisa Nicole Carson did her audition, well Carl Franklin thought she was perfect for the character Coretta James and hired her for the film without any hesitation. At chapter 4, Carl Franklin says that in the novel when Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins has to drive to Santa Monica was written in great detail, and in the 1940’s Santa Monica was not very well built up and it had a lot of Orange groves and was very under developed and was strictly off limits to black people and of course there was a “fear” element for any black person to venture into Santa Monica and was pretty substantial for black people. But when we see Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins talking to a white woman enquiring about the missing female Daphne Monet and we suddenly get to see a bunch of white belligerent men threatening Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins because he is a black guy talking to a young white female and you can tell these ignorant thugs are 100% racist and menacing threatening Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, but luckily out of the blue Dewitt Albright [Tom Sizemore] turns up and threatens one of the thick ignorant racist punk with a gun and makes him shit scared as the gun is aimed at his head and threatens to blow his brains out and of course is totally shit scared and all the thick ignorant racist punks run off and of course Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins has been saved by Dewitt Albright and there is now no turning back for Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins in searching for the mysterious woman Daphne Monet and of course we wonder how did Dewitt Albright know that Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins would be in that area of Santa Monica. At chapter 5 we see the actor Denzel Washington on his bed and the telephone rings, and speaking to him is the actress Jennifer Beals and Carl Franklin says that Jennifer Beals was very keen to play the character Daphne Monet and to play her like the actress Veronica lake, because of the film set in the 1940’s and around 36:53 Denzel Washington is visiting a run-down hotel and finally meets the “Devil in a Blue Dress” Daphne Monet and Carl Franklin says the actual hotel the scene was filmed in was the actual Ambassador Hotel that was located at 3400 Wilshire Boulevard, between Catalina Street and Mariposa Avenue in present-day Koreatown, which is a neighbourhood in central Los Angeles, California, centred near Eighth Street and Irolo Street and Carl Franklin says that the Ambassador Hotel is now closed, but was opened up so they could film in the room and they wanted to decorate the room like it was in the 1940’s period, and on top of all that, they wanted the actress Jennifer Beals to wear that stunning blue colour dress so it would stand out against the wallpaper background and Cael Franklin felt it look totally perfect colour scheme. Carl Franklin now says that Jennifer Beals actually called Carl Franklin on the phone to ask if she could play the character Daphne Monet in the film and when Jennifer Beals turned up for the audition, Carl Franklin was totally knocked out by her audition and there and then offered the actress Jennifer Beals to play the part of Daphne Monet in the film, and felt Jennifer Beals did the best audition out of all the other female actors who auditioned for the part of Daphne Monet. At chapter 6, Carl Franklin says that a lot of people really liked the look of the film ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ and felt it had the genre feel of the 1974 film ‘Chinatown,’ but Carl Franklin felt the film had much more style of the 1946 film ‘The Big Sleep.’ Also when we see the big Mayoral Parade down the high street, Carl franklin says that they filmed this on the same day as the first street scene at the start of the film and they actually shot three scenes on that day and feels it really opened up the film and makes it look much larger and also creates a much bigger looking film. At chapter 7, Carl Franklin comments about the scene where Denzel Washington has driven his 1946 Pontiac Torpedo 4-Door Sedan into the compound of The T. Carter Foundation, and we see Denzel Washington get out of his car, and Carl Franklin says that now for the first time we get to see Denzel Washington is starting to look and become a private detective because he is now wearing a nice tailored suit and is also wearing a Fedora hat and says the transformation is sort of complete and definitely a great important look for Denzel Washington’s character Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins and looks the real deal. Next we see Denzel Washington is at another smoky club location entitled Cafe Club Fais Do-Do, in West Adams Boulevard which is located at West Adams Blvd., in Los Angeles, which is a jazz come Latin club and looks very atmospheric. Also we see a scene in a pool hall and Carl Franklin he searched a long-time for the faces of the extra characters and thought these characters would convey the 1940’s period in that area in Los Angeles and of course America, and Carl Franklin cast these black extras personally, because the characters had to have a certain look who he thought were totally perfect in that scene in the club. At chapter 10, Carl Franklin mentions the music we hear of Elmer Bernstein at this point in the film and feels it has a kind of Eastern European feel to the music, with a swirling kind of feeling, which kind of symbolised a certain kind of character of Daphne Monet, and Carl Franklin says the intimate scene with Denzel Washington and Jennifer Beals was a very difficult nights filming he could remember, and did not want shoot any scene where they have to go into overtime and of course would increase costs and he says that particular scene was difficult to shoot and especially in a cramped one room for a very long time and actually took a month to shoot that intimate scene with Denzel Washington and Jennifer Beals and also explains that the whole plot of the film was finally revealed in that one scene with Denzel Washington and Jennifer Beals, but all of a sudden three nasty henchmen take away the actress Jennifer Beals and Denzel Washington gets really violently beaten up and Carl Franklin says Denzel Washington loves these very violent and physical scenes because he is so ultra-physically buff fit and is very adept at stunt work and again especially when it comes to violent fight scenes. At chapter 11 we see Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle driving to a certain destination with another black character in the car that has informed them where actress Jennifer Bealshas been taken and the destination is Disney Ranch and is located on Placerita Canyon Road in Newhall, California, and it was totally freezing that night and it was also the longest nights filming ever throughout the shoot, because we get to see Denzel Washington slowly staking up to where actress Jennifer Beals is being held hostage and Denzel Washington you can see looking very angry and out to get those three nasty thugs who abducted actress Jennifer Beals and suddenly we see the wooden cabin where the three nasty thugs and actress Jennifer Beals are and Carl Franklin informs us that the wooden cabin was actually built exclusively for the film and especially for Denzel Washington’s massive shoot out battle we get to view and also for backup is Don Cheadle as Mouse Alexander to help Denzel Washington with the massive gun battle, and Carl Franklin wanted the action to be raw and also wanted the violence to be emotional and bot look choreographed violence, and wanted fear in the people’s emotions. At chapter 12, Carl Franklin says, the primary theme in this film, had to do with a man overcoming his fear, a man coming  into his own, and someone who believed I “The American Dream” as he understood it, working at an 8:00am to 5:00pm job, but loosing that job for some reason is unfair to him personally, and then through desperation in making a pact with a member of the underworld and then somehow successfully navigated through those subterranean waters and coming out of the other end with the understanding in being a stronger capitalist and won’t need to work that 8:00am to 5:00pm slog anymore, because he is going into his own business for himself, and Carl franklin felt that was the main themes of the film, and the premise of the film was that “Courage Leads To Freedom.” At 1:39:00, Carl franklin says that one of the things he decided to use in that final scene in the film, where you see the two corrupt police officers drive past in their car, because they know that Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins is connected to the killings. Now Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins is a hero to his neighbourhood and a rallying point to his community and his neighbourhood can look upon Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins for help with any problems in his neighbourhood that they might experience, and showing that things might have been bad for Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins at the start of the film, but has now come out in the end a hero, and also the film is a nostalgic look back at the South Los Angeles, also known as South Central Los Angeles or simply South Central, is a region in southwestern Los Angeles County, in what is was like in the 1940’s and early 1950’s  and even in the 1960’s when eventually the black gangs would take over the territory and will lose its innocence. At that point Carl Franklin reads out certain names with the end credits that were very important to him when directing ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ and also mentions the soundtrack compact disc of the film with some wonderful that was used in the film that has a great 1940’s tunes in it. Now we are coming to the end of this Carl Franklin audio commentary, and says the film was a great experience and also going into the world of author Walter Mosley who created what it was like in the 1940’s in that part of Los Angeles and Carl Franklin feels he had the opportunity to realise this project and Carl Franklin hopes you enjoyed the film and signs off with, “this is Carl Franklin and talking about the film ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS.’” At that point this Carl Franklin audio commentary comes to an end. Impressively, Carl Franklin really keeps this audio commentary track going really well, rarely stalls for just talking about what’s happening on screen and loves to just share his thought process behind the big picture and every little detail within it. It's a very engaging and very interesting audio commentary track that probably benefits from being initially recorded only a few years after the film's theatrical release. This is a most engaging audio commentary by director Carl Franklin, who avoids the trap of just describing what’s happening on screen and instead focusses on his approach, his technique, some behind-the-scenes stories and the process of making the film. Areas covered include the use of street scenes to open up the film. Carl Franklin talks about the locations, the actors and bit-part players, the period photographs he drew on to research the film’s look, the colour timing, the alterations made to the source novel, the principal themes, and much more. Carl Franklin praises the work of the performers and those working behind the camera, highlighting the preparation work done for their roles by Denzel Washington and Jennifer Beals and the handheld camerawork of operator Scott Sakamoto. Carl Franklin also reveals why some material was shot and then removed from the final cut and aspects in which the film turns standard noir tropes on their head. All in all, this is a totally brilliant and totally fascinating audio commentary, that is must listen and I can highly recommend it.

Special Feature: Carl Franklin: Dancing with the Devil [2018] [1080p] [1.78:1] [22:14] With this featurette, we get to view a brand-new conversation featuring Director Carl Franklin talking on stage in front of an audience and conducted by the Film Noir Foundation’s Eddie Muller at a screening of ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ on the 17th August, 2018 at the Noir City Chicago, Music Box Theatre. Although there is some brief crossover with the conversation, but much of what is discussed here adds to the respect of the very professional Carl Franklin’s comments. Carl Franklin also explains why Chicago holds such special memories to him, and has to do with his film ‘One False Move’ [1992] which went straight to the video format through a special deal for Carl Franklin, that was instigated by his wife, who negotiated to show the film at several film festivals in 1992, and because of that situation, the film got to be shown in three cities and got 51 showings in the summer of 1992, and Eddie Muller informs Carl Franklin that he loves the movie ‘One False Move’ which was also shown Noir City Chicago, Music Box Theatre as well as ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS.’ Carl Franklin talks about how he first got into the directing bug, and how he came to this project and the involvement of executive producer Jonathan Demme, and adapting the novel into a screenplay, creating the film’s toned-down colour scheme, his love of “film noir” cinema, and much more and is totally a fascinating and totally interesting intelligent conversation between Eddie Muller and Carl Franklin and to my mind this featurette was far too short. As an added bonus, we get to view several clips from the film ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS.’

Special Feature: Don Cheadle Screen Test [1994] [1080i] [1.37:1] [15:01] With this featurette, we get to view a rare videotape footage of the actor Don Cheadle auditioning for the role of Mouse, and as  an added bonus we get an introduction by director Carl Franklin. We then see actor Don Cheadle shares the preparation he put into the role, which includes the research he put into his character he played in the film ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS.’ I was ultimately expecting a general reflection on the film and its production, which it delivers, but it turns into an insightful conversation about 1990’s Hollywood and conventions of the detective genre.      

Special Feature: Theatrical Trailer [1995] [1080p] [1.78:1] [2:27] With this featurette, we get to view the Original Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS.’      

Special Feature: Image Gallery: With this featurette, we get to view 23 wonderful 1080p images of promotional and publicity material for the film ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS.’ Please Note: Use the right NEXT button on your remote control to advance the images forward. Press MENU or TOP MENU to exit the featurette. 

Finally, ‘DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS’ [1995] has the brilliant Carl Franklin who directs with a clear love for films that he draws inspiration from rather than trying to ape their style, telling his story with seductive blend of formal framing, smart camera moves and neatly executed handheld work during moments of physical or emotional conflict. Carl Franklin’s pacing is also spot-on, keeping the story moving at an old-school pace but still allowing for moments of reflection and realisation on Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins’s part. The intermittent bursts of action are also handled with serious aplomb, with the fight between Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins and a knife-wielding Frank Green and an unglamorous climactic shoot-out being notable highlights. It all comes together deliciously, and the result is an immensely enjoyable, classy made and splendidly performed melding of traditional “film noir” and neo-noir revisionism, and an object lesson in how to tell a damned good crime story on film. The film is the ultimate terrific entertainment and especially a stylish one, and it looks and sounds superb via this brilliant Blu-ray release. Very Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado 
Le Cinema Paradiso 
United Kingdom

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