Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1990. Touchstone Pictures, Silver Screen Partners IV. Screenplay by Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr., based on characters created by Chester Gould. Cinematography by Vittorio Storaro. Produced by Warren Beatty. Music by Danny Elfman. Production Design by Richard Sylbert. Costume Design by Milena Canonero. Film Editing by Richard Marks. Academy Awards 1990. Golden Globe Awards 1990.
Warren Beatty‘s recreation of Chester Gould’s thirties comic strip is nothing short of a work of art. Working with the same seven colours that comic-book printers had to work with back during the original publishings, Beatty’s production is dazzling enough to make up for the weak narrative. He directs himself as the title character, the sunshine in his dark world in a yellow coat and fedora who brings justice to the law-abiding citizens of the big city. He’s also trying to maintain his relationship with the adoring and adorable Tess Trueheart (Glenne Headly. who is wonderful) while Breathless Mahoney (a deliciously wry Madonna) comes along to put it all to the test. His crime-fighting plans involve his quest to get rid of the city’s biggest menace, Big Boy Caprice (a very funny Al Pacino). Everyone who was anyone in Hollywood in 1990 parades through this film in a small or large cameo, but what worst most against the film having the sheen of a classic is that Beatty, when given no moral failings, is not all that interesting to watch. Milena Canonero’s gorgeous costume work and the phenomenal makeup designs of Doug Drexler, Jr. and John Caglione are well worth checking out, though.