Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

The comparisons to CHINATOWN are easy enough, except for the fact that 
this film isn't nearly as gripping.  Writer/director Carl Franklin 
(ONE FALSE MOVE) is the force behind this accomplished-but-stiff 
adaptation of Walter Mosley's crime novel.  Denzel Washington is as 
sturdy as ever, but he's burdened with a miscast supporting cast.  Tom 
Sizemore and scene-stealer Don Cheadle are both fine.  The problems 
start with Jennifer Beales, who never registers as the plot's femme 
fatale.  She's a pretty face and nothing more.  Also underweight are 
Maury Chaykin and Terry Kinney.  They play opposing mayoral candidates 
in 1948 Los Angeles and neither actor commands enough authority to 
stifle giggles.  John Huston, we miss you!  Fine period detail and a 
strong sense of humor are a plus.  They help to overcome a pace that's 
too polite for Mosley's jazzy, swingin' story.  

Grade: B 

Copyright 1995 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

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