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The Black Dahlia (2006)

Two policemen see their personal and professional lives fall apart in the wake of the "Black Dahlia" murder investigation.

Director:

Brian De Palma

Writers:

Josh Friedman (screenplay), James Ellroy (novel)
Reviews
Popularity
3,059 ( 140)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Josh Hartnett ... Dwight 'Bucky' Bleichert
Scarlett Johansson ... Kay Lake
Aaron Eckhart ... Lee Blanchard
Hilary Swank ... Madeleine Linscott
Mia Kirshner ... Elizabeth Short
Mike Starr ... Det. Russ Millard
Fiona Shaw ... Ramona Linscott
Patrick Fischler ... Deputy DA Ellis Loew
James Otis James Otis ... Dolph Bleichert
John Kavanagh ... Emmett Linscott
Troy Evans ... Chief Ted Green
Anthony Russell ... Morrie Friedman
Pepe Serna ... Tomas Dos Santos
Angus MacInnes ... Capt. John Tierney (as Angus MacInnis)
Rachel Miner ... Martha Linscott
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Storyline

In 1946, the former boxers Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert and Lee Blanchard are policemen in Los Angeles. Lee has a good relationship with his chief and uses a box fight between them to promote the department and get a raise to the police force. They succeed and are promoted to homicide detectives, working together. Bucky becomes a close friend of Lee and his girlfriend Kay Lake, forming a triangle of love. When the corpse of the aspirant actress 'Elizabeth Short (I)' is found mutilated, Lee becomes obsessed to solve the case called by the press Black Dahlia. Meanwhile, Bucky's investigation leads him to a Madeleine Linscott, the daughter of a powerful and wealthy constructor that resembles the Black Dahlia. In an environment of corruption and lies, Bucky discloses hidden truths. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Inspired by the most notorious unsolved murder in California history. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, some grisly images, sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Germany | France

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

15 September 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Black Dahlia See more »

Filming Locations:

Bulgaria See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,005,895, 17 September 2006

Gross USA:

$22,545,080

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$49,332,692
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriter Josh Friedman claims he worked on the script from 1997 to 2005. See more »

Goofs

When Bucky Bleichert enters Sheryl Saddon's bedroom to get the suitcase, there is a postcard-sized picture of Bettie Page on the wall. Bettie Page did not start modeling until 1950. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: [voiceover] Mr. Fire versus Mr. Ice. For everything people were making it out to be, you'd think it was our first fight. It wasn't. And it wouldn't be our last.
See more »

Connections

Features The Man Who Laughs (1928) See more »

Soundtracks

In the Mood
Written by Joe Garland (as Joseph C. Garland)
Used by Permission of Shapiro Bernstein & Co. Inc. (ASCAP)
See more »

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User Reviews

Disjointed murder in the first degree
12 September 2006 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

"For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak/With most miraculous organ." Shakespeare's Hamlet

Murders are messy on the screen and in real life; screenplays about them can be chaotic and disjointed also. Such is the case with Black Dahlia, a film noir from Brian De Palma, a past master of the macabre and the complicated (Blow Out, Body Double). It has all the trappings of a first-rate detective novel (James Ellroy) made into a 1940's thriller with appropriately moody music of the soulful trumpet (Mark Isham), lush production design (Dante Ferretti), and equally impressive costuming (Jenny Beavan), all set in a timelessly seedy Los Angeles.

There's also the conflicted, sometimes dark hero detective (Josh Hartnett) and the sexy, dangerous femme fatale (Hilary Swank), accompanied by the questionably good voluptuary sex bomb (Scarlett Johansson). As if these noir troublemakers were not enough, writer Josh Friedman seemingly adapts Ellroy's every subplot, every story thread, as if each had to be accounted for in the best CSI tradition.

The original novel was based on aspiring actress Elizabeth Short's unsolved grizzly murder in 1947. After a considerably convoluted exposition, with plot lines rarely intersecting in a unified way, the film has the nerve to offer one of the most extensive denouements in film history, could be a half hour, with lengthy explanation of how all those ends tied together. Needless to say, anti climaxes abound in this last segment, leaving not only more confusion about the plot but also a desire to get back to The Big Sleep without sleeping, a state Black Dahlia threatened several times.

Hartnett's detective says, "Nothing stays buried forever. Nothing." I say this weak noir wannabe should stay buried until a bright 22nd century scholar sees its cultural and aesthetic significance. Until then, it's a jumble of plot points resolved in the end by tedious narration. Even Scarlett Johansson's pulchritude couldn't win me, and that's murder in the first degree.


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