Dick Tracy – (Blu-ray)


Funded by Disney, written and directed by Warren Beatty, 1990’s Dick Tracy is an absolutely Beautiful trainwreck.

Beatty is a huge fan of the comic strip Dick Tracy, and he marshaled all his powers as a director and producer to create a motion picture that looks like a comic strip. It has an all star cast, and they’re so caked in prosthetics that you might not recognize any of them (well, except Madonna, sometimes.)

The costumes are perfect. The makeup is perfect. The sets are perfect. The lighting, the cinematography, the score, all of it comes together to create a film with the visual style and gravitas of a comic strip that was popular with 10 year olds in the 1930s and 1940s.

Please understand, it succeeds. It works very well at what it set out to accomplish. It’s just that the thing it set out to accomplish is Ludicrous. It’s a movie no one (except Warren Beatty) wanted. Disney couldn’t figure out who it was for, couldn’t figure out how to market it, couldn’t decide what to do with it.

That’s fine, it’s beautiful. It’s a masterpiece. It’s absolutely bonkers, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Warren Beatty still owns the rights to produce Dick Tracy films. In order to retain those rights, in 2023 he shot and released a TV special called “Dick Tracy Zooms In” in which Dick Tracy takes a zoom meeting with Warren Beatty. It’s absurd, but it guarantees that Beatty retains the film rights to the character until at least 2026 when the first comic strips featuring the character enter the public domain in the US.

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