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The Black Dahlia (Widescreen Edition) (2006)

Josh Hartnett , Scarlett Johansson , Brian De Palma  |  R |  DVD
2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (286 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Hilary Swank, Aaron Eckhart, John Kavanagh
  • Directors: Brian De Palma
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: December 26, 2006
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (286 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000K2UVZM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,956 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Black Dahlia (Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Reality and Fiction: The Story of The Black Dahlia
  • The Case File
  • The De Palma Touch Presented by Volkswagen

  • Editorial Reviews

    Inspired by the Most Notorious Unsolved Murder in California History. From the acclaimed director of Scarface and the author of LA Confidential comes the spellbinding thriller The Black Dahlia. Two ambitious cops, Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart) and Bucky Bleichert (Josh Hartnett), investigate the shocking murder of an aspiring young starlet. With a corpse so mutilated that photos are kept from the public, the case becomes an obsession for the men, and their lives begin to unravel. Blanchard's relationship with his girlfriend Kay (Scarlett Johansson) deteriorates, while Bleichert finds himself drawn to the enigmatic Madeleine (Hilary Swank), a wealthy woman with a dark and twisted connection to the victim.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars MORE "FILM NO" THAN "FILM NOIR"! August 3, 2008
    Even though it is still one of California's unsolved murders, the whole Elizabeth Short case can be told in about 60 seconds. So making a 2 hour movie would be quite a feat. That's why the director factored the L.A. "Zoot Suit" riots of 1943, a boxing match, the killing of black pimps and prostitutes who were minding their own business, the dysfunctional love affair between Scarlett Johansson's character and Josh Harnett's partner, a bunch of very chic lesbians, and the bizarre wealthy family of a bi-sexual Hilary Swank (does her mother have Parkinson's or is that the actress' idea of an alcoholic socialite?)

    We didn't hear about the murder until 20 minutes had passed and only then because it happened on the street behind the pimp shoot-out. Somehow the "first responders" on the Black Dahlia crime scene didn't hear all of that gun fire on the other side of the building. Instead of going to the rescue of their fellow officers, they and a dozen reporters stood transfixed on the naked body in the park. So much for "Officer down! Send back-up!" The best thing about this movie was the autopsy which was done in a compelling narrative by a jowly M.E. That's about all we learned about this murder victim who was made out to be a slut who slept with men AND women in exchange for a sandwich or pair of nylons. In fact, there was not one woman in this movie who was not depicted as prostitute, golddigger, or tramp. Only the lesbians had class and dignity - and there is a gang of them! (Look for an uncredited k.d. lang in a great piece of camp.)

    Hartnett has the charisma of a grape. Johansson fits right in during an era when 20 year-old women looked like they were 35. But she handles a lame role like a pro. I don't know why Swank was even in the area. And that accent!
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    100 of 127 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars no fragrant flower October 1, 2006
    Brian De Palma's "The Black Dahlia" is like a beautiful sports car with no engine under the hood: it sits there looking mighty pretty, but it never actually goes anywhere.

    The movie is based on the James Ellroy novel of the same name, a highly fictionalized telling of Hollywood's most notorious unsolved murder case. On January 15, 1947, a young woman named Beth Short was found brutally slain - her body gruesomely dismembered and gutted - in a field in Los Angeles. The case became a cause celebre around the nation, with speculation rife as to the background of the victim and the identity of the perpetrator, but the actual killer was never found. The movie focuses on two fictional homicide detectives, played by Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart, who, to varying degrees, become obsessed with the case. Their investigation leads them into the heart of a film noir maelstrom comprised almost exclusively of twisted psychosexual perverts and Tinsel Town sickos.

    Thanks to Vilmos Zsigmond's fine cinematography and all the spiffy 1940's paraphernalia with which the costume designer and art directors have decked out the movie, "The Black Dahlia" is never anything but dazzling to look at, but in almost every other respect, the film is a monumental disappointment. Although the first half is relatively straightforward in its approach and style, by about the midway point, De Palma's trademark cinematic excesses - stilted dialogue, floridly staged action scenes, campy performances, and overemphatic music - begin to take over and the film becomes an incoherent mess.
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    23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars 'The Black Dahlia': A Misnomer of a Title December 29, 2006
    Brian de Palma made an odd decision in creating this apparently very expensive, very strange and confusing version of a film, a movie less about the grisly/twisted unsolved murder (grossly illustrated ad infinitum here) of a wannabe 1940s actress of the title and more about two boxer cops (bland Josh Hartnett as 'Mr. Ice' and over the top Aaron Eckhart as 'Mr. Fire') and their bizarre ménage a trois with unfocused Scarlett Johansson. The film as written by Josh Friedman attempts to follow the novel by James Ellroy, itself a strange riff on the Black Dahlia murder. What results is an over produced, over directed, under realized recreation of the 1940s complete with slicky costumes and very loud music by (surprisingly!) Mark Isham.

    There are so many subplots filled with walk on characters that keeping the story understandable is almost impossible - certainly not worth an attempt to capsulize for a review. There are some terrific little performances by Fiona Shaw as the druggie mad woman whose role becomes significant only at film's end, Hilary Swank as the copycat Dahlia who dallies in cops and soldiers and lesbians (convincingly so), and Mia Kirshner who presence as the true Black Dahlia is shown only in black and white film clips that indeed focus the unwieldy script while she is on!

    Odd to see actors with the credentials of this cast wandering around in la-la land seemingly looking for a script that makes sense. But it is a pretty period piece to look at despite the lack of reasonable storyline. Grady Harp, December 06
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    2.0 out of 5 stars This movie had great acting and scenery etc
    This movie had great acting and scenery etc. Unfortunately they tried to do too much in the time they had and the plot does not make sense in places.
    Published 17 days ago by Arthur C Horn
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Published 23 days ago by Joshua J. Hokanson
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    The movie was great, the connection was poor.
    Published 28 days ago by Double D
    1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
    NOT a better love story than Twilight! I read some of the reviews before wat
    Published 1 month ago by SweetOkieChick
    1.0 out of 5 stars Nah
    Love triangle makes about as much sense as half cocked plot
    Published 2 months ago by Philip
    4.0 out of 5 stars love the time period
    Solid flick...swank.ekhart.etc. love the time period..i liked it..
    Published 3 months ago by J. James
    5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
    This movie was absolutely thrilling. I LOVE it. Every second kept my attention.
    Plus, Mia Kirshner is naked in this movie. What's not to love!?
    Published 6 months ago by HarlotSlaughter
    3.0 out of 5 stars OK
    Not what I expected, but not too bad. Would have liked the story to focus on the 'Dahlia' murder instead of the lives of the two detectives.
    Published 6 months ago by Midwesterner
    3.0 out of 5 stars Modern Noir
    This is one of those buys that I have to say that while I am glad I purchased but am not necessarily really stoked that I bought. Read more
    Published 7 months ago by Brian
    1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time and no "LA Confidential"
    This was not a good use of two hours of my life. It was confusing and I am currently reading the book! Read more
    Published 7 months ago by Ruth Ann
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