I was interested in the story for many years and then I saw the movie. Very disappointed.
I''ll never forget watching this documentary of the Black Dahlia and they showed a crime scene photo of her and she was cut in half - I''d never seen that picture before. I knew she was mutilated, but it was still shocking to see something like that. And it was on the Oxygen channel of all places.
Fiona Shaw chewed the scenery. Hilary Swank chewed her cud.
They never suspected the female surgeon from Austria who killed the Black Dahlia and dumped
her body on the same block the doctor's ex-wife resided.
Awful movie but Hartnett is surprisingly effective.
David Fincher wanted to do it but demanded that it be in black-and-white and three hours long so they went with DePalma.
On this day...15 January 1947:
The mutilated remains of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short, who came to be known as the "Black Dahlia," were found in a vacant Los Angeles lot; her slaying remains unsolved.
If Dr. Hodel is innocent, he still should answer for his parenting.l
I think it's better than its reputation.
Josh Hartnett is actually good in this movie and is the only likeable character in it. He looks good in 1940's detective clothes.
Hillary Swank has a few good scenes as a femme fatale, and there is some gorgeous cinematography and set design. I think it received an Oscar nomination for that.
The story is too meandering and convoluted and the adaptation from the Curtis Hanson novel does not work well, but I still enjoy watching it once in a while because of the visuals and some of the supporting performances.
Fiona Shaw's character is one of the weirdest in film history.
Hartnett gives a rare glimpse of his naked ass, btw.
I really expected more. I love Fiona Shaw but she was over the top in this movie.
The TV movie from the 70's was pretty good.
I always thought a doctor killed her, being that she was cut perfectly between her torso.
I'm a huge De Palma fan but it doesn't do it for me. The scene on the staircase with William Finley is gorgeous though. And I love the screentest footage with De Palma as the voice of the director talking to Elizabeth Short.
Just far too convoluted. I didn't read the book but saw many reviews saying that it tried to stick too close to an already not great book. Supposedly De Palma did have a 3 hour cut that Ellroy saw and loved.
And yes, Fiona Shaw gives one of the hammiest performances in all of film history.
True Confessions is another movie based on the Dahlia case.
It is interesting because it was written by JG Dunne, who was privy to a lot of LA gossip, going back years.
It also never mentions the case by name, which adds it an odd credibility.
Really good acting, too. Robert Duvall before he went senile and Robert De Niro before he only did the Fockers character for money.
Kind of loved Mena Suvari as Short in the first season of American Horror Story. She looked amazing, the backstory they gave was great and they used Artie Shaw's Nightmare in the ep as her entrance music.
[quote]The scene on the staircase with William Finley is gorgeous though.
Do you mean the murder scene with the fountain where the guy is thrown over the edge of the balcony? That was certainly a memorable image, and one that would have made a big impact had it been a more successful film.
[quote]I love the screentest footage with De Palma as the voice of the director
Same here. His voice works well in that scene, and the actress also does a good job portraying her. I think originally he was planning to have someone else do it, but it worked well so he left his own voice in.
[quote]the adaptation from the Curtis Hanson novel does not work well
I think that's because they kept in too much of the secondary plot about the love triangle between Hartnett, Johanssen & Eckhart which people find less interesting than the actual history mystery involving the murder.
[quote]Fiona Shaw gives one of the hammiest performances in all of film history.
Wonder why she did that? Was it because she thought it would fit in with the bizarre nature of the story itself?
The KD Lang lesbian bar scene was brilliant until Hilary Swank turned up. Rebecca Romijn might have been a better pick for the role - she was brilliant in De Palma's very underrated Femme Fatale. It's not that she acted badly, she just can't do sexy.
You may be right, R17. But obviously Hilary Swank is a bigger name and a 2-Time Oscar winner.
The Black Dahlia is less than the sum of its parts. It is one dazzling sequence after another--the boxing scene, the discovery of the murdered body, the death plunge, the dinner at the Linscott mansion, the lesbian bar scene, the screen tests, and so on--and has some delightfully quirky performances, especially those by Hilary Swank and Rose McGowan, but the script is too convoluted. De Palma is a very good screenwriter. He should have rewritten it.
I agree, R19 - that's a good way of describing it. Perhaps if De Palma had been using his own script based on the Black Dhalia murder instead of using Curtis Hanson's own fictional novel about it, it would have been a stronger movie.
I could have done without the boxing nonsense, though. It wasted valuable time that should have been spent on the mystery of the murder itself.
Scarlett was good in it. I'd like to see her do similar roles.
Scarlett was okay, but she got sidelined by all the male characters, and by Hillary Swank.
I also thought the scene where Scarlett and Josh sweep their dinner plates off the dining table to have sex on it was a bit over the top.
In 1975, Lucie Arnaz starred as the Black Dahlia in a made for TV movie:
I'm pretty sure a woman tortured and killed her. A doctor who was a family friend probably took her home and then the new girlfriend female surgeon killed her. She dumped her body on the same block as the ex-wife of the doctor. Elizabeth was alive when the gashes were cut into the sides of her mouth. They also found feces in her stomach. The ex-wife and girlfriend surgeon battled each other in court for control of the family friend's estate after he died.
The whole thing was sure pretty disgusting.
She was a Boston gal who read too many movie magazines.
[quote] They also found feces in her stomach.
Elizabeth Short is The Streep Troll?
I recently saw this again, after hating it when it originally came out. I hated Hartnett less on the second viewing but still - godawful movie.
Hilary Swank cannot convincingly play an uptown girl. Scarlett Johanssen cannot convincingly portray anything. It was visually gorgeous but didn't hold together.
I ended up thinking that it was a movie with a bunch of kids playing at roles meant for better actors and actresses. As if DePalma chose the "B" cast rather than going with stronger people.
I'd see the three-hour version. Maybe the longer form gives more weight to the characters.
Also, people keep mentioning Curtis' book but I'm pretty sure it was based on Ellroy's book.
It's a truly terrible film. The only good performance in it was Mia Kirshner as Elizabeth Short - she was superb, and should have starred in a real movie about the Dahlia.
Josh Hartnett was embarrassing, although so were Johansson and Eckhart. But this is the movie that convinced me Hartnett can't act at all, which seems to be what Hollywood has decided as well.
The Black Dahlia is one of the great Los Angeles mysteries - I hope a good film will be made about it sometime.
Actually, Josh Hartnett works pretty well in this film. He's the only likeable character, and you can't deny he looks good in 1940's clothes.
R24, why do you think a woman did it? Is there a known female suspect, or do you think aspects of the crime itself point to a female perpetrator?
Great novel by James Ellroy, so-so film adaptation by Brian DePalma.
She was on the suspect list, pretty far down as "queer woman surgeon" but they never put together that Dahlia was dumped on the same block as the "queer surgeon's" BF's ex-wife. She was in a bitter feud with her new boyfriend's ex-wife. A medical professional dissected the body. The new boyfriend, also a surgeon was a family friend of Dahlia. Now what do you think?
As with Jack The Ripper, I think it's unlikely we will ever learn the truth about The Black Dahlia.
Thank you, R35, but I don't see how hacking a random girl to bits would fit into a feud with a boyfriend's ex.
A random association between a suspect and someone who lived nearby isn't proof.
I've never heard much to substantiate a theory that a woman was the killer.
Stop trying to make "Josh Hartnett was actually good" happen, r38 et al.
He was awful, as pretty much all the reviews pointed out, although he certainly wasn't the only awful thing in the film (hello, Hillary Swank trying to play someone who was beautiful and looked just like the Dahlia - and meanwhile, they cast a real beauty as the Dahlia.)
Hartnett's career has tanked since this movie - just look at the crap he's having to do to pay the bills on his IMDB page. His looks are going, too.
It doesn't matter how cute his ass may have seemed to you, his ass didn't do the acting, and the acting sucked.
R39 = someone who was turned down by Josh Hartnett
r40 = obsessed fanboi who lives to kiss Josh Hartnett's ass.
Facts are facts, dude. You can't face the fact of the reviews and his crappy career, can you?
And you're all over this thread. What's up with that?
I'm split right down the middle.
r41, Hartnett is also rumoured to have had (maybe still does) a serious drug problem that derailed his career. His talent, or lack of it, was allegedly not the problem.
It's been mentioned several times in previous decent gossip threads. Maybe those posters will see this and confirm.
I kind of like Hartnett, yes, but I'm not a fanboi - I'm a fan of some of the things in the film.
I do like the fact that Hartnett is a progressive guy though and that he's on the left of the political spectrum.
And he does okay in this film.
I thought it might have been better if Martin Short played Elizabeth Short.
I think she was an aspie.
Schoolmarm at R41, piss off. This thread is interesting even if it is dissecting a very flawed movie.