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The Black Dahlia (Widescreen Edition)


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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 (294 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000K2UVZM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,978 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

    No plot, no acting, no story.
    Todd
    The Black Dahlia's story, setting and mood seem perfect de Palma yet the film feels so lifeless, incoherent and even at times unintentionally funny.
    Cloud
    Even if a movie is bad, I tend to sit through it just so I can say I watched the whole thing.
    Miranda Doerfler

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    100 of 127 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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    11 of 12 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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    13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By ShockYourMind99 on December 20, 2006
    Format: DVD
    For a movie with so much promise and potential, the directors, writers, and screenplay adapters could not have gone more wrong. "The Black Dahlia" is a piece of film-noir garbage that does nothing to advance the genre but instead defames its very name. The only redeeming component of this film can be found in its all-star cast of screen celebrities, none of which can, despite their best efforts, revive this wretched reel from its well-deserved death. The story, composition, cinematography, and execution alike all fail to meet even the lowest of expectations and instead, make for a wholly underwhelming and lamentable experience. Pass on this one and save yourself both the time and money which are rightfully yours. Dahlia is an undeserving candidate for either.
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    37 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Linda Lou on August 3, 2008
    Format: DVD
    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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