“Devil In A Blue Dress!” Denzel Washington’s “L.A. Noir” About Race In 1948 LA!

“A man once told me that you step out of your door in the morning, and you are already in trouble. The only question is are you on top of that trouble or not?”

A black man helps search for a white woman in 1948 Los Angeles, in a terrific “film noir” headed by Denzel Washington!

“Devil In A Blue Dress” is a period drama set in Los Angeles in 1948. The film evokes that time is style and tone, and like the best “L.A. noir”, it captures life in the city of Angels for people of color at that time.

The film is based on the acclaimed novel by legendary Author Walter Mosley.

Check out the trailer:

The setup is simple: Ezikeal “Easy” Rawlins, an African-American World War II veteran, is looking for work. At his friend’s bar, he is introduced to a white man, DeWitt Albright, who is looking for someone to help him find a missing white woman assumed to be hiding somewhere in LA’s Black community.

And in perfect “film nor” imagery, here is the woman:

The entire cast is smooth and silky, exactly what you want in a noir-style film, one that evokes the issues of race and privilege in LA at that time. Don Cheadle, Jennifer Beals and Tom Sizemore also star.

The film was directed by Carl Franklin, who also adapted Walter Mosley’s terrific book.

The period details are great, and Denzel gives another terrific performance.

Cheadle’s performance is mesmerizing: the Actor won the Los Angeles Film Critics Award and National Society of Film Critics Award for playing Easy Rawlins dangerous sidekick, “Mouse.”

Washington is such a great, natural Actor: my wife and I love watching him in everything from “Philadelphia” to “Training Day” and “Much Ado About Nothing!”

Denzel’s son is also a terrific Actor:

John David Washington starred in Spike Lee’s Oscar-winning film “BlackKklansman”, one of many films the Director has made that deal with race:

See the trailer for this incendiary and still powerful film “Do The Right Thing” by clicking here:

https://johnrieber.com/2020/06/06/do-the-right-thing-malcolm-x-spike-lees-brilliant-raw-take-on-racism-in-america-resonates-today/

I also shared the story of a film that was part of Hollywood’s revolution in 1967:

Sidney Poitier’s searing portrait of a black Detective in the deep south in the 60’s is a brilliant film – see more about this film here:

https://johnrieber.com/2020/06/04/pictures-from-a-revolution-the-year-that-two-films-dominated-the-discussion-of-race-in-america/

Another film told the story of America’s racism in 1970:

“Sweet Sweetback’s Badass Song” was an incendiary look at racism in America – an ultra low budget masterwork by Director Melvin Van Peebles – here is the trailer and an in-depth look at this powerful film:


https://johnrieber.com/2015/01/23/rated-x-by-an-all-white-jury-the-incendiary-sweet-sweetbacks-badass-song-blaxploitations-brilliant-godfather/

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As the issue of racism in America continues, these films tackle the subject in powerful ways that still resonate today – if you enjoy this story, please share on social media!



Categories: Academy Awards, Action Films, Books / Media, Cult Movies, Film Fight Club, Film Noir, Great Films, Los Angeles, Movies, Politics, Talent/Celebrities

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10 replies

  1. Denzel is my favorite. I watched many of his movies but haven’t watched this one. We’ll watch it tonight. I was surprised his good guy movies didn’t win the Academy until the bad guy movie Training Day ( I didn’t know about Glory).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that movie and Denzel was fantastic! They did Mosley’s book justice.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. oh, I haven’t thought about this film in a long time. I do remember seeing it and being pleasantly surprised as it was more than I had expected going in

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never heard of this movie either, John. They probably never came to South Africa during my younger days and I don’t watch many movies now. Sounds very compelling.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s an underrated film that I really enjoyed. Great casting too!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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