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Blu-ray Review Devil in a Blue Dress Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Richard Gallagher

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Devil in a Blue Dress Blu-ray Review

 

Devil in a Blue Dress is an entertaining neo-noir which does an excellent job of re-creating the look and atmosphere of Los Angeles during the post-war years of the late 1940s. Based upon a novel by Walter Mosley, the film benefits greatly from a dynamic performance by the perfectly cast Denzel Washington. It is now available in a stunning Blu-ray from Twilight Time.



Studio: Sony

Distributed By: Twilight Time

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA

Subtitles: English SDH

Rating: R

Run Time: 1 Hr. 41 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray, Other

Standard Blu-ray Case

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: A

Release Date: 10/13/2015

MSRP: $29.95




The Production Rating: 4.5/5

 

Now, when somebody tells me ain't nothing to worry about, I usually look down to see if my fly is open. - Easy Rawlins

 

Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins (Denzel Washington) is a young black World War II veteran who has been unfairly fired from his job at an aircraft factory. He has used the G.I. Bill to buy a home, and when the film opens he is already a month behind on his mortgage. While perusing the want ads in a bar owned by his friend Joppy (Mel Winkler), a rare event occurs when a white man enters the establishment. He is DeWitt Albright (Tom Sizemore), and it is apparent that he is well known to Joppy, who calls Rawlins over to make an introduction. Albright tells Rawlins that he is looking for a missing white woman who has a "predilection" for the company of black men, and for obvious reasons he needs a black man to help find her. Albright explains that her name is Daphne Monet (Jennifer Beales) and she is the love interest of politician Todd Carter, who has just garnered headlines by announcing that he is dropping out of the race for mayor of Los Angeles. Carter has hired Albright to find Daphne.

 

Rawlins is skeptical, but he needs the money and it seems like a relatively easy payday. That evening he dresses up and heads out to a juke joint which Daphne has been known to frequent. His questioning gets him nowhere until he spots an acquaintance named Dupree and his girlfriend, Coretta James (Lisa Nicole Carson). Rawlins learns that Coretta and Daphne are friends, but Coretta is reluctant to help him find her. Dupree gets drunk and passes out, and Rawlins helps to take him to Coretta's place to sleep it off. While Dupree is unconscious in a bedroom, Coretta persuades Rawlins to spend the night with her. She finally tells him that Daphne is living with a black criminal named Frank Green. The following evening Rawlins is visited by the police and it becomes apparent that he has gotten himself into something which is far more serious and dangerous than simply a case of a missing girlfriend.

 

In the grand tradition of film noir, Rawlins has found himself in a web of deceit that threatens to leave him as the fall guy. He realizes that the only way to extricate himself is by finding Daphne, the beautiful "devil in a blue dress" of the film's title. Denzel Washington is excellent as the resourceful Rawlins, and Tom Sizemore is chilling as the violent and vicious Albright. Jennifer Beals is sleek and seductive as Daphne, a woman with a past which she has been desperately trying to hide. There also is a wonderful performance by Don Cheadle as Mouse Alexander, a friend of Rawlins from Houston who kills people as easily as you or I would swat a fly.

 

Devil in a Blue Dress is capably directed by Carl Franklin, who also wrote the screenplay. The production design by Gary Frutkoff and the outstanding cinematography by Tak Fujimoto contribute greatly to the enjoyment of the film. There also is an excellent, evocative score by Elmer Bernstein. The soundtrack includes blues performances by T-Bone Walker, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, and other artists.



Video Rating: 5/5  3D Rating: NA

The 1080p high definition video is framed at 1.85:1 via the AVC codec, and it is a gorgeous transfer. The image is consistently sharp with vivid, accurate colors, inky black levels, and excellent shadow detail. Our resident expert, Robert A. Harris, has given this Blu-ray his highest rating.

 

A few words about...™ Devil in a Blue Dress -- in Blu-ray



Audio Rating: 5/5

The audio is impeccable. There are two audio options, English 5.1 DTS HD-MA and English 2.0 DTS HD-MA. I prefer the 5.1 option, but the 2.0 option is reminiscent of vintage film noir and some viewers may find it to be more pleasing.

 

The 5.1 soundtrack gives the wonderful music a wide and pleasing soundstage.



Special Features Rating: 3.5/5

The extras on this Blu-ray release include an excellent commentary track by director/screenwriter Carl Franklin, which I believe is the same commentary which appears on the DVD which was released in 1999.

 

Also included is the original theatrical trailer and Don Cheadle's screen test.

 

The isolated score track is presented in 5.1 DTS HD-MA.

 

An eight-page illustrated booklet is highlighted with a thoughtful essay by Julie Kirgo.

 

The film has been divided into 24 chapters.



Overall Rating: 4.5/5

 

Devil in a Blue Dress is an underrated neo-noir which has been released in a wonderful Blu-ray edition by Twilight Time with an exceptional transfer courtesy of Sony.

 

As is the case with all Twilight Time releases, it is a limited edition of 3,000 units. Readers who are interested in purchasing it should go to the Twilight Time website or the Screen Archives website and confirm that copies are still available.


Reviewed By: Richard Gallagher


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benbess

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Sep 8, 2009
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I finally watched my blu-ray of this tonight—25 years after I saw the movie in a theater in the LA area. It's still a good movie after all these years. I was sorry at the time that it wasn't enough of a hit to turn into a series. But maybe with a new star it might be turned into a TV series now? But, I realize it's expensive to do those period recreations.
 

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