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The Black Dahlia (Widescreen Edition)

307 customer reviews

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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.

Special Features

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

  • 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: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (307 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B000K2UVZM
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,732 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "The Black Dahlia (Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    106 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Roland E. Zwick on 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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    15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By N. Doyle on October 8, 2007
    Format: DVD
    Before the first half-hour was over, there were indications that THE BLACK DAHLIA was destined to fall far from the mark. For one thing, it fails to focus on the Elizabeth Short story.

    For all the rich texture of the monochromatic cinematography (so we'd know we're watching a modern film noir), all the posturing of SCARLETT JOHANSSON with her long cigarette holder, all the fake glamor of HILARY SWANK, and all the convoluted plot lines, it's hard to find a trace of the Elizabeth Short story here. And that's the film's main problem. Her story is really just background filler for some very complicated fictional characters and situations that exist outside the story of THE BLACK DAHLIA, a murder never actually solved.

    While watching it unfold, I couldn't help thinking how much better this would have been as a gritty film noir back in the '40s in the sort of shimmering B&W photography that Michael Curtiz used for THE UNSUSPECTED--and with an actor like Humphrey Bogart as the lead detective with either Lauren Bacall or Lizabeth Scott as the femme fatale. And if they needed a brunette siren they could always use Marie Windsor. Hilary Swank really has done much better work elsewhere.

    Furthermore, the story chosen from the James Elroy novel which does give a solution to the crime, is an absurd one that is not made even remotely believable by the creation of the Fiona Shaw character who seems to be existing in another movie--a farce. Nor is the narration spoken by Josh Hartnett--in a monotone that I found alienating--any help in explaining the twisted course of events.

    DePalma missed the opportunity in bringing the Elizabeth Short story to the screen as stark drama in any way that makes sense.
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    20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By IKCWMBFD on March 11, 2007
    Format: DVD
    With 150 reviews of this to date, it seems like overkill to add much more so I will be brief. Sometimes there is a tendency to hear the overwhelmingly negative consensus about an artistic project that one has hopes for and to start to imagine that somehow everyone has missed the boat, that somehow, there is a misunderstood gem that you will save and rediscover where everyone else is fixated on the wrong things.

    I am writing to assure you that this is not the case with the Black Dahlia. The emphasis in storyline is all wrong, the casting is puzzling and the acting similarly confused, the direction is not very inspired, and everything is all a bit too tired: rather than feeling classic, this movie feels rehashed, derivative, and just dull. There are a few visual moments here or there to savor and a few flashes of the darker side of the man who gave you Dressed to Kill, but then I think it would be hard for Brian de Palma to film over two hours and not produce some fleeting moments of eye candy or interest.

    A major disappointment in truth and I really truly hoped everybody was wrong on this one, but they weren't.
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    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MISTER SJEM on October 27, 2012
    Format: DVD
    This picture was based on a novel of the same title by James Ellroy (who is probably best known for writing "L.A. Confidential), who was likely inspired by the real life 1947 "Black Dahlia" murder. This film was nominated for Best Cinematography at the 79th Academy Awards, but lost to Pan's Labyrinth.

    It got a bad rap but is a better film than indicated though I will warn that some casual moviegoers will have a hard time following it.

    The movie follows two ex boxer buddy cops (Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart) who both "love" the same woman (played by Scarlet Johansen). Said woman has a dark past and is married to the character played by Eckhart. You can imagine one of the paths that will manifest in this love triangle but I leave it to your imagination.

    There is a true visual brilliance in this picture. Perhaps too much that the story gets put in the background at times. As there were complaints that this tale is convoluted one has to remember that this is a mystery with clue trails and red herrings are going to be obvious yet perhaps unsatisfying to some viewers. Perhaps one of the problems is that by the time the mystery is solved it doesn't feel "big" enough or emotionally moving enough to have a satisfying ending?

    Still worth a look but this isn't as good as L.A. Confidential.

    In addition to names already mentioned this also stars Hillary Swank and Mike Starr.

    This just about broke even at the Box Office in comparison to its budget.

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    The Black Dahlia (Widescreen Edition)
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