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Devil in A Blue Dress

90 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Denzel Washington turns up the heat as a L.A. private eye in this steamy mystery from executive producers Jonathan Demme and Edward Saxon and director Carl Franklin. Washington stars as Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins, a decorated war hero who returns home to the segregation of post-war America. Forced to accept an under-the-table job finding a missing socialite, Easy is caught between the white power elite and the vibrant black community of Central Avenue. And as soon as Easy and his trigger-happy friend Mouse (Don Cheadle, in a star-making performance) find the mysterious Daphne Monet (Jennifer Beals), trouble follows.


Despite rave reviews as one of the most stylish and intelligent detective pictures in a number of years, this 1995 adaptation of Walter Mosley's novel never found a mass audience. Too bad, because Carl Franklin's film is nearly perfect in every way, from its rich, shadowy look to its depiction of life in post-World War II black America (L.A.-style) to the acting of Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, and others. Washington plays Easy Rawlins, an aircraft factory worker who is laid off only to find his true calling: as a private eye, albeit an unlicensed one. Hired to find a missing woman, he becomes entangled in a complex but satisfying case involving sex, corruption, racism, and of course money. Top-notch from top to bottom--and Cheadle is dangerously funny as Easy's best friend, a killer named Mouse. --Marshall Fine

Special Features

  • Audio commentary by director 'Carl Franklin'
  • Don Cheadle's screen test

Product Details

  • Actors: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals, Don Cheadle, Maury Chaykin
  • Directors: Carl Franklin
  • Writers: Carl Franklin, Walter Mosley
  • Producers: Donna Gigliotti, Edward Saxon, Gary Goetzman, Jesse Beaton, Jonathan Demme
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese
  • Dubbed: Portuguese
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 9, 1999
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767818075
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,968 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Devil in A Blue Dress" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 27, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
It's summer in Los Angeles, 1948. Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins (Denzel Washington) returned from World War II a few years ago to a land of opportunity. He got a job, a mortgage and a home of his own. But now he has lost his job and is determined not to lose his house. A friend introduces Easy to a sleazy character named DeWitt Albright (Tom Sizemore) who ostensibly is trying to locate the former girlfriend of mayoral candidate Tom Carter (Terry Kinney) so that the couple may be reunited. Desperate to keep making his mortgage payments, Easy accepts the job of finding the girlfriend, a woman named Daphne Monet (Jennifer Beals). His search causes him to be suspect in several murders and arouses the interest of the rival candidate for mayor, Matthew Teran (Maury Chaykin). Easy finds that he is not the only person looking for Daphne Monet and that no one is exactly who he, or she, appears to be. As motives become less clear and the trail becomes more murderous, Easy calls on a childhood friend named Mouse (Don Cheadle), who has more experience in the criminal underworld and is more than willing to use force, for help. With the police, Albright, and Daphne Monet all demanding his loyalty, Easy must buy time and use his wits to unravel the mystery of Daphne's identity and uncover the scandals that will make or break the careers of two of the city's prominent politicians.
"Devil in a Blue Dress" is based on the detective novel of the same name by Walter Mosley. Screenwriter and director Carl Franklin has altered and simplified Mosley's novel for the screen and employed cinematographer Tak Fujimoto to create a stark and moody environment in sunny California.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J.M. Taliaferro on November 29, 2004
Format: DVD
"Devil in a Blue Dress" is based off of the same titled novel by Walter Mosely. The movie stars Denzel Washington as "Easy" Rawlins, an out of work aircraft engineer looking for a quick buck to save his house. He gets mixed in what seems like a simple job for easy money, but finds out there is more than meets the eye. He now has to go out for himself to get to the bottom of the crime that is threatening to be placed on him.

This is such a good movie. Denzel Washington gives an excellent performance as Easy Rawlins. He really lets the audience in on Easy's ambitious yet emotional side. Dnzel really brings an "everyman" charcteristic to this character. Maybe not one of HIS best works, but even his worst is pretty good.

Tom Sizemore does excellent as DeWitt Albright. He brought an extra sleaziness to the character without being too violent.

But the person who stole the movie was Don Cheadle as Raymond "Mouse" Alexander. It is amazing how Cheadle takes this characte of Mouse, who is supposed to be this hot-tempered, gun-wielding, criminal, and gives him a sort of playful innoncence. Cheadle definitely shines at those moments in the movie where Mouse flies off of the deep end and starts shooting everything in sight, but he also gives Mouse some comic value that is incredible.

I also like how the plot keeps you guessing a little bit, but also lets you figure out where the film is going plotwise without holding your hand to do so. This was a superbly acted, written, and directed movie.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By TheIrrationalMan on September 3, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
A voluptuously seedy tale of blackmail, murder and double-cross, "Devil in a Blue Dress" captures splendidly the mood of the forties, and is a worthy modern equivalent to old gems such as "Double Indemnity", "The Blue Dahlia" and "The Big Sleep". Acting, writing, direction, cinematography and music are all of an par above the standards of conventional filmmaking. Denzel Washington -- (an actor who is flawless in every performance) -- is superb in the role of Walter Moseley's detective, Easy Rawlins, the classic noir type of the down-at-heel gumshoe. He receives excellent support from Jennifer Beals, Tom Sizemore and Don Cheadle as his gun-crazy help. A heady aroma of sexuality and intrigue make this one of the most absorbing of recent noir film adaptations. Carl Franklin, with a flair for suspenseful situations, directs crisply.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Craig Connell on April 23, 2006
Format: DVD
This is the kind of film that can stay with you for awhile after you watch it: a haunting kind of film that isn't always pleasant or easy to understand but you remember it. It also helps to have a fondness for the 1940 film noir movies and a fondness for stylishly-filmed DVDs.

It doesn't help that it appears racist in nature with people of one color all being the bad guys while people with another color all the good guys. If the colors were reversed, twould there have been an outcry over screenwriter-director Carl Franklin apparent bias?

Regardless, this is still a fascinating movie that just oozes with the 1940s atmosphere. Great narration in there, a la film noir, great automobiles and great sets. It puts you right into the late 40s in Los Angeles, a little bit like the film Chinatown.

Denzel Washington does a nice job with the narration and the lead role, the character of "Easy Rawlins," off the book by Walter Moseley (which I read and recommend). Tom Sizemore and Don Cheadle play very intense characters in supporting roles, particularly Cheadle as the trigger-happy "Mouse." Jennifer Beals is alluring as the mysterious "Daphne Monet."

The film is a bit confusing in parts and was especially so for me since the book was not exactly the same and had a totally different ending. Nonetheless, the film has always fascinated me and drawn me back for multiple viewings. It's good storytelling and it would be fun to see more of Moseley's books translated to the big screen.
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