Dick Tracy (1990)

PG | 110 mins | Adventure | 15 June 1990

Producer:

Warren Beatty

Cinematographer:

Vittorio Storaro

Editor:

Richard Marks

Production Designer:

Richard Sylbert

Production Companies:

Touchstone Pictures, Silver Screen Partners IV
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HISTORY

       The project was announced in a 23 Nov 1977 Var news brief, which named Art Linson as producer, Floyd Mutrux as director, and Paramount Pictures as domestic distributor. International distribution would be handled by Cinema International Corp. An undated HR item, circa 1978, stated Floyd Mutrux purchased the rights for $25,000, in a deal that stipulated the film could not be R-rated. Although no writer had been hired, it was already determined the film story was to begin on Halloween night, 1941, with a focus on “Dick Tracy’s” rivalry with the “Halloween Gang.” A summer 1978 start date in Chicago, IL, was expected. Producer Art Linson predicted the film would be the first in a series, according to the 26 Nov 1977 LAT. RKO Radio Pictures had previously produced a series of films based on the comic strip in the 1940s, including 1945’s Dick Tracy, 1946’s Dick Tracy vs. Cueball, and the 1947 releases Dick Tracy’s Dilemma and Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (see entries).
       A 26 Jan 1978 HR article cited the budget as $7 million. Mutrux was eyeing Harrison Ford to play the lead, and the 27 Jul 1979 DV stated the director planned to shoot two Dick Tracy feature films back-to-back. The story’s setting shifted from the early 1940s to late 1930s, and Dick Tracy was described as “a jazz buff” and fan of Nat King Cole, while the sequel was slated to take place in McCarthy-era Hollywood, CA. Lorenzo Semple, Jr. was hired to write a script in 1978, according to an 8 Apr 1985 ... More Less

       The project was announced in a 23 Nov 1977 Var news brief, which named Art Linson as producer, Floyd Mutrux as director, and Paramount Pictures as domestic distributor. International distribution would be handled by Cinema International Corp. An undated HR item, circa 1978, stated Floyd Mutrux purchased the rights for $25,000, in a deal that stipulated the film could not be R-rated. Although no writer had been hired, it was already determined the film story was to begin on Halloween night, 1941, with a focus on “Dick Tracy’s” rivalry with the “Halloween Gang.” A summer 1978 start date in Chicago, IL, was expected. Producer Art Linson predicted the film would be the first in a series, according to the 26 Nov 1977 LAT. RKO Radio Pictures had previously produced a series of films based on the comic strip in the 1940s, including 1945’s Dick Tracy, 1946’s Dick Tracy vs. Cueball, and the 1947 releases Dick Tracy’s Dilemma and Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (see entries).
       A 26 Jan 1978 HR article cited the budget as $7 million. Mutrux was eyeing Harrison Ford to play the lead, and the 27 Jul 1979 DV stated the director planned to shoot two Dick Tracy feature films back-to-back. The story’s setting shifted from the early 1940s to late 1930s, and Dick Tracy was described as “a jazz buff” and fan of Nat King Cole, while the sequel was slated to take place in McCarthy-era Hollywood, CA. Lorenzo Semple, Jr. was hired to write a script in 1978, according to an 8 Apr 1985 DV news item.
       On 23 Sep 1981, an LAHExam item stated the project had moved to PolyGram Pictures, with John Landis set to write and direct. Eager to star as Dick Tracy, Clint Eastwood reportedly telephoned Landis in China, where the filmmaker was on vacation. In 1983, the project reverted to Paramount Pictures, and Universal Pictures came on board to co-produce, as noted in several contemporary sources including the 21 Oct 1983 LAT.
       Walter Hill replaced John Landis as director, after Landis was indicted on involuntary manslaughter charges in the deaths of actor Vic Morrow and two child actors on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983, see entry), according to an 8 Jul 1983 LAT brief. Around the same time, Joel Silver joined the project as producer. The budget was set at $25 million, and filming was expected to begin in Oct 1983. Although Warren Beatty was in negotiations to play the lead role, talks ended when the actor demanded a $5 million salary, plus fifteen percent of the film’s gross. Hill and Silver left the project, and Paramount-Universal planned to move forward with a less expensive approach. The budget, which had been reduced to $18 million, as stated in a 13 Jul 1983 Var item, was further reduced to $14 million, according to the 16 Nov 1983 Var, and Richard Benjamin was hired to direct. Despite rumors that both Paramount and Universal had dropped the project, the 2 Feb 1984 DV stated that Paramount would produce the film without Universal, at a cost of $12.5 million. Although no producer or lead actor was set, the production had to begin by mid-May 1984 according to the most recent contract extension on film rights. Warren Beatty was again in consideration for the lead role, along with Harrison Ford.
       A 5 Sep 1984 HR brief reported that Warren Beatty was now expected to produce and star in the film, still set up at Paramount. Beatty was allegedly working on a re-write with Elaine May, although May later denied any affiliation with the project, according to a 5 Feb 1989 LAT brief. Martin Scorsese was announced as director in an 8 Apr 1985 DV article, which named Elaine May and Herb Gardner as screenwriters. Scorsese planned a more serious version of the comic strip, in contrast to recent “tongue-in-cheek screen versions” of comics such as Superman (1978, see entry) and Popeye (1980, see entry). A 24 May 1985 HR brief stated that Beatty would earn $6.5 million and twenty percent of the gross. However, a 15 Jan 1986 LADN story reported the project was in turnaround, after Paramount president, Ned Tanen, deemed the $25 million budget too high. Beatty, who was now on board to direct, produce, and star, was asking for a salary of nearly $11 million, according to a 29 Jul 1988 HR article. In a 10 Jun 1990 interview in LAT, Beatty stated that, in addition to Martin Scorsese, he had reached out to Bob Fosse to direct before deciding to take on the job himself.
       Beatty took the project to Walt Disney Pictures, as noted in the Oct 1986 issue of Los Angeles magazine. There, the film received a green light from Disney’s Touchstone Pictures in summer 1988. Disney chairman Michael Eisner had previously given the project a green light at Paramount, according to the 6 Jun 1990 Var, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Eisner’s co-chairman at Disney and also a former Paramount executive, was quoted as saying, “This is a movie we wanted to make with Warren for many, many, many years.” Several sources, including a 6 Jan 1989 LAHExam brief, listed Beatty’s Mulholland Productions as a production company on the film, but Mulholland receives no onscreen credit.
       According to a 12 Jun 1988 LAT item, Bo Goldman was hired to write the screenplay, which took place in 1938 Chicago, and showed Dick Tracy flying airplanes and fighting Nazi spies as they attempted to “infiltrate the Manhattan Project...and kidnap J. Robert Oppenheimer.” Jim Cash and Jack Epps, Jr. were later brought on to write a new script, and the Nazi storyline was eliminated.
       A 9 May 1989 LAHExam brief listed Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, and Faye Dunaway as possible cameos, and a 29 Jan 1989 LAT item stated William Hickey would play “B.B. Eyes,” although none of these actors appear in the film. Brigitte Nielsen was named as a contender for the role of “Tess Trueheart” in a 15 Apr 1988 HR brief, and a 9 Jul 1990 Long Beach Press-Telegram article stated Kim Basinger, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathleen Turner, and Melanie Griffith were considered for “Breathless Mahoney” before Madonna, who was romantically involved with Beatty at the time, vied for the role. While the other actresses reportedly demanded too much money, Madonna agreed to work for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) scale fee of $1,440 per week, as stated in a 5 Jun 1990 LAT “Morning Report” column. A 12 May 1989 LAHExam brief stated Jack Nicholson was hired to play a cameo, but Nicholson does not appear in the film. Larry Meyers, a former executive at Lorimar Pictures whose 4’8” stature caught Beatty’s eye at a Santo Pietro, Italy, restaurant, was cast as “Little Face,” according to a 6 Jan 1989 DV.
       Principal photography began 1 Feb 1989, as stated in a 22 Jan 1989 LAT item, which announced the casting of Seymour Cassel as “Sam Catchem.” Filming took place at a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles, CA, and on the Universal studio back-lot, as noted in a 12 Apr 1989 HR item. During production, the budget was estimated at $28 million.
       After two days on set, actress Sean Young, who was cast as Tess Trueheart, came to a mutual agreement with Warren Beatty that her “casting wasn’t consistent with the way the rest of the film was going,” according to a 23 Feb 1989 DV brief. Young was replaced by Glenne Headly, and actors were called back to the set to re-shoot scenes from Young’s first two days, according to the 5 Mar 1989 LAT.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, costumes, production design and set design conformed to an aesthetic of “undistinguished simplicity.” Period automobiles, including Fords and Studebakers from 1936-1939, were fashioned into a nondescript fleet, with uniform grills and hoods without any visible carmaker insignia. A 10 Jun 1990 LAT article described the film’s limited color palette of seven primary-colored hues, an idea Beatty got from cartoonist-screenwriter Herbie Gardner, who once drew cartoons for a magazine that assigned numbers to every primary color for the purpose of coordination. Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro avoided prop smoke for a less realistic look. However, smoke rising from chimneys did appear in the film’s opening sequence, which entailed an eight-foot-by-twelve foot matte painting blended with two separate live-action scenes.
       The set was visited by Shel Dorf, an editor of Dick Tracy comics and “noted authority” on the character, as stated in a 2 Apr 1989 LAT brief. Dorf reported from the “closed set” that Beatty was eschewing Dick Tracy’s famed hooked nose and square jaw. Meanwhile, a 15 Jul 1990 Hartford Courant article detailed the elaborate make-up required for the film’s grotesque villains, designed by special character make-up artists John Caglione, Jr. and Doug Drexler, who recalled “Flattop” as the most challenging character. Drexler said Flattop’s look entailed fourteen prosthetic appliances, which initially required four hours to apply. With practice, Flattop’s time in the makeup chair was reduced to one hour and twenty minutes. “Pruneface” was modeled after President Ronald Reagan. Beatty had allegedly offered the role to Reagan, but the former president, whose last feature film appearance was in 1964’s The Killers (see entry), turned it down.
       A 28 May 1989 LAT item reported filming would end the following month, despite a ten-day work stoppage when Beatty contracted the flu. Beatty was rumored to look tired in close-ups, particularly in contrast to his younger co-stars, Madonna and Glenne Headly. However, despite reports that Beatty’s close-ups required re-shooting, Beatty denied the rumors, saying there were no re-shoots whatsoever.
       A 5 Jul 1989 Var news brief announced the end of filming, which went only two days over the eighty-five-day schedule. Claiming the production budget came in at $22 million, Disney was already in talks to produce a sequel, according to a 30 Jun 1989 HR item. Post-production was not expected to be special-effects intensive, since many effects were created in camera.
       Writing credits were determined by a Writers Guild of America (WGA) arbitration, which awarded Jim Cash and Jack Epps, Jr. sole credit. In turn, Beatty planned to give Bo Goldman a “Special Consultant” credit. However, the credit was challenged by Cash and Epps, Jr., as stated in a 15 Jun 1990 DV brief. Epps claimed the only Goldman contribution that remained in the final script was Breathless Mahoney’s line about mourning the death of “Lips Manlis,” in which she tells Dick Tracy, “I’m wearing black underwear.” If the WGA determined the “Special Consultant” title was given as a “consolation credit,” a dispute between the producers and the WGA would arise. No further mentions of the dispute have been found, and Goldman’s name did not appear in onscreen credits.
       An 18 Oct 1989 Var item reported Floyd Mutrux and Art Linson sued Warren Beatty and Universal Pictures, demanding a fee of at least $500,000 and executive producer screen credits on the film, based on a Dec 1981 settlement agreement with Universal and Paramount. Mutrux and Linson alleged that their deal with the studios promised them $545,000 and five percent of net profits. The pair were awarded fees, points, and credits, as stated in the 6 Jun 1990 Var.
       In a 20 May 1990 LAT interview, Walt Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg detailed his ten-year history with the project, beginning at Paramount, and stated that Beatty required an “enormous amount” of input and support during the making of the film. Katzenberg recalled meeting Beatty countless times during the shoot late at night at the Hamburger Hamlet restaurant in West Hollywood. In Jan 1991, Katzenberg wrote a controversial twenty-eight-page memo lambasting the film industry’s “runaway costs” and restating his and Michael Eisner’s original model for Disney, which entailed low-cost stars and a focus on storytelling. The memo was leaked to the press and printed in full in Var, according to a 13 Feb 2011 LAT article, and included a “scathing assessment” of Dick Tracy in which Katzenberg stated the next time Beatty approached Disney with a project, the studio “‘should slap ourselves a few times, throw cold water on our faces and soberly conclude that it’s not a project we should choose to get involved in.” Beatty reportedly stopped speaking with Katzenberg after the leak.
       A 2 May 1990 DV article announced Warner Bros. Records’ plans to release the following three Dick Tracy albums: in May 1990, Madonna’s I’m Breathless, named after her character and including three of Stephen Sondheim’s original songs as well as music “inspired by” the picture; on 12 Jun 1990, “Music from the Motion Picture Dick Tracy,” including popular songs featured in the film as well as a “Dick Tracy” title song by rapper Ice-T; and in early Jul 1990, composer Danny Elfman’s original score. Elfman was reportedly unhappy that his all-instrumental soundtrack album would be released a month after the film. Singer-songwriter Harry Connick, Jr. also made public complaints about his experience working on the film, after he was hired to write six original songs but was dropped from the project over a pay dispute. According to a 5 Jul 1990 Long Beach Press-Telegram brief, Connick, Jr. stated, “I would like to publicly say that those are the most obnoxious and gross people I have ever worked with in my life,” specifically naming Madonna and Sire Records.
       The 14 Jul 1990 issue of TV Guide noted Madonna’s single, “Vogue,” from the I’m Breathless album, was used in a commercial for Dick Tracy. However, the song does not appear in the film, prompting TV Guide to condemn the commercial as false advertisement.
       Twelve books were released in conjunction with the picture, as stated in a 6 Jun 1990 Var item, including a novelization distributed by Bantam Books. According to a 2 Jun 1990 Long Beach Press-Telegram item, Bantam cited the novelization as its “biggest movie tie-in ever,” with nearly one million copies of the initial printing shipped to booksellers in late May 1990. Because Disney did not want to spoil the surprise ending of the film before it opened, a second printing revealing the identity of “The Blank” was arranged. Bantam also released a paperback titled Dick Tracy: The Making of the Movie, an audio version of the novelization, and three Dick Tracy paperbacks by comic strip writer Max Allan Collins. Three graphic novels, two of which were prequels to the film, were issued through Disney Comics, as stated in the 31 Dec 1989 LAT. In addition, a children’s series would be produced by Western Publishing; an updated version of Bill Crouch, Jr.’s Official History of Dick Tracy would be released by Citadel; and Chilton Books would distribute The Authorized Guide to Dick Tracy Collectibles. In London, England, Plexus Publishing released Dick Tracy: America’s Most Famous Detective on the day of the film’s 6 Jul 1990 London opening, as noted in a 26 Jun 1990 DV news item.
       Over 600 Dick Tracy products were licensed, according to a 22 Jun 1990 NYT article, including lunch boxes, shower curtains, walkie-talkies, lingerie, backpacks, and a wristwatch priced at $2,500. Disneyland and Disney World opened stores dedicated solely to Dick Tracy merchandise, and put on musical stage shows based on the film. The George W. Bollman Co., Inc., a hatmaker based in Adamstown, PA, produced 40,000 yellow fedoras, and planned to capitalize on the film’s release by shipping the hats to stores in Apr 1990. As noted in a 31 Dec 1990 Time item, one of the toys based on the film, a “Steve the Tramp” figurine made by Playmates Toys, was discontinued after Rev. Christopher Rose, an Episcopalian priest, campaigned against it, stating it was an “attack” on the homeless. A 17 Jun 1990 LAT article criticized the excess hype around the picture, and detailed further promotions including a McDonald’s “lottery-style contest” called the “Crimestoppers Game,” and advertisements on Quaker Oats products.
       A 28 Apr 1990 Screen International brief erroneously reported that Warner Bros. would distribute the film for Disney. However, Disney handled the release through its Buena Vista distribution arm. The 23 Apr 1990 Long Beach Press-Telegram stated a premiere was scheduled for 13 Jun 1990 in Woodstock, IL, the hometown of “Dick Tracy” creator Chester Gould, who died in 1985. The following night, the film had a second “premiere” at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, with 3,000 guests in attendance.
       To coincide with the U.S. opening, Nostalgia Television planned to air a Dick Tracy feature film, re-edited from the fifteen-episode 1937 Republic Pictures serial Dick Tracy, as noted in a 7 Jun 1990 DV item.
       According to an article in the 30 May 1990 LAT, Dick Tracy was the first theatrical release in Cinema Digital Sound (CDS), “a noise-free, deterioration-free, crystal-clear” six-track digital sound track. The technology was expected to be in at least 100 theaters by Christmas 1990. Producer Barry Osborne predicted CDS would become the industry standard within a year.
       A 10 Jun 1990 LAT article stated the Associated Press (AP) angered Disney by releasing its review sixteen days before the film’s 15 Jun 1990 opening. AP, which distributed its material through 1,400 newspaper, television, and radio outlets, claimed ignorance of an “embargo date” set by Disney, discouraging the press from printing reviews before 11 Jun 1990. Despite pressure from Disney to hold their reviews, HR and DV followed suit, printing reviews the day after AP on 1 Jun 1990.
       Critical reception was mixed, but technical credits, including Vittorio Storaro’s cinematography and special make-up by John Caglione, Jr. and Doug Drexler, were routinely praised. The film won Academy Awards for Art Direction, Makeup, and Music (Original Song) for “Sooner Or Later (I Always Get My Man)” by Stephen Sondheim, and received Academy Award nominations for Actor in a Supporting Role (Al Pacino), Cinematography, Costume Design, and Sound. The film also won British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards for Best Makeup Artist and Best Production Design, and received Grammy nominations for the following: Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television (Danny Elfman); and Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television (“More” and “Sooner Or Later (I Always Get My Man)” by Stephen Sondheim).
       The film opened with special midnight screenings on 15 Jun 1990. Midnight moviegoers were required to purchase a Dick Tracy T-shirt, priced $12-20, which doubled as an admission ticket. A 19 Nov 1989 LAT item noted Dick Tracy was co-billed with a new “Roger Rabbit” animated short, Rollercoaster Rabbit. The previous summer, Disney had used a similar strategy, releasing Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989, see entry) with a “Roger Rabbit” short titled Tummy Trouble.
       The film grossed $22.5 million in its opening weekend, and $35 million in its first week, as announced in the 22 Jun 1990 DV, beating Walt Disney Studios’ previous one-week record of $24,920,434, set by Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Although the opening marked a success for Disney, its stock fell $4.625 after the $22.5 million opening weekend earnings did not meet the expected $25-30 million predicted by analysts. The weekend revenues were also unfavorably compared to those of Batman (1989, see entry), which took in nearly twice the opening weekend box-office receipts of Dick Tracy.
       The 22 Jun 1990 NYT deemed Dick Tracy Disney’s “first truly big-budget film.” A 22 Oct 1990 Var article detailed the first “participation statement” from Disney, detailing the film’s overall costs. Negative costs, including studio overhead and interest, amounted to $46.5 million, while distribution expenses totaled an additional $54.7 million. Universal and Paramount were entitled to five percent of the film’s net profits. However, despite a cumulative domestic gross of over $103 million, to that time, Disney was said to have a deficit of $57 million. Beatty’s final salary was listed as seven million “against fifteen percent of the gross,” set to kick in after Disney grossed $50 million.
       Disney and Beatty’s Mulholland Productions were sued by Victoria Taft, a background actress who claimed she was injured performing “footfalls” on set, as noted in a 28 May 1990 LAT brief. Taft alleged she had to “violently throw herself to the ground repeatedly,” an action normally performed by a stunt person. The outcome of the lawsuit could not be determined. Another lawsuit, filed by Harold Steinberg against Beatty, Katzenberg, and Disney, was reported in the 4 Jun 1990 LAT. Steinberg claimed the filmmakers were presented with his idea for a musical based on the Dick Tracy comic strip in 1980 at Paramount, and stole the premise. The outcome could not be determined.
       According to a 16 May 2005 DV news item, Warren Beatty also filed a lawsuit related to the film, against Tribune Co., which claimed film rights to the comic strip had “unilaterally reverted” to Tribune in 2004. Beatty, who planned to make a second Dick Tracy film, argued his option on film rights had not expired due to a “multistep reversion process” Tribune failed to follow. Beatty sought $30 million in damages. A 25 Mar 2011 LAT article later reported Beatty won the lawsuit, having appeared in a half-hour interview about Dick Tracy with film critic Leonard Maltin, which aired in Jul 2009 on Turner Classic Movies, and fulfilled a “use-it-or-lose-it deadline” stipulated by Tribune in 2006.

      End credits include the statements: “The following albums are available on Sire Records: Madonna’s ‘I’m Breathless,’ ‘Dick Tracy,’ ‘“Dick Tracy” The Original Score’”; “Special Thanks: Craig Baxley, Dr. Leroy Perry and The International Sportsmedicine Institute”; and, “Dick Tracy® is a registered trademark of Tribune Media Services, Inc.”
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
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DATE
PAGE
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Daily Variety
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Daily Variety
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Daily Variety
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Daily Variety
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Daily Variety
8 Apr 1985
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Daily Variety
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---
Daily Variety
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---
Daily Variety
2 May 1990
p. 3, 22.
Daily Variety
1 Jun 1990
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Daily Variety
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---
Daily Variety
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Daily Variety
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Film Journal
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Hartford Courant
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Hollywood Reporter
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Hollywood Reporter
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Hollywood Reporter
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Hollywood Reporter
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Hollywood Reporter
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Hollywood Reporter
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---
Hollywood Reporter
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---
Hollywood Reporter
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p. 1, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
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---
Hollywood Reporter
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---
Hollywood Reporter
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p. 4, 81.
Hollywood Reporter
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---
Hollywood Reporter
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---
LAHExam
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LAHExam
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---
LAHExam
9 May 1989
Section A, p. 2.
LAHExam
12 May 1989.
---
Long Beach Press-Telegram
15 Mar 1990.
---
Long Beach Press-Telegram
23 Apr 1990.
---
Long Beach Press-Telegram
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---
Long Beach Press-Telegram
9 Jun 1990
Section B, pp. 1-2.
Long Beach Press-Telegram
5 Jul 1990.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
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---
Los Angeles Magazine
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---
Los Angeles Times
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Los Angeles Times
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Los Angeles Times
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Section G, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
29 Jun 1983
Section G, p. 1, 6.
Los Angeles Times
8 Jul 1983
Section G, p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
21 Oct 1983.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 Jun 1988
Calendar, p. 30.
Los Angeles Times
22 Jan 1989
Calendar, p. 31.
Los Angeles Times
29 Jan 1989
Calendar, p. 43.
Los Angeles Times
5 Feb 1989
Calendar, p. 20.
Los Angeles Times
7 Feb 1989
Calendar, p. 2.
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5 Mar 1989
Calendar, p. 32.
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28 May 1989
Calendar, p. 24.
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19 Nov 1989
Calendar, p. 21.
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31 Dec 1989
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16 Feb 1990
Section E, p. 11.
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20 May 1990
Calendar, p. 18.
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27 May 1990
Section F, p. 23.
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28 May 1990
Section D, p. 2.
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30 May 1990
Calendar, p. 3.
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1 Jun 1990
Calendar, p. 14.
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4 Jun 1990
Calendar, p. 2.
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10 Jun 1990
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10 Jun 1990
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17 Jun 1990
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Calendar, p. 2.
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15 Jun 1990
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Section D, p. 1.
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6 Jun 1990
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Section B, p. 1.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Starring (In order of appearance):
William Forsythe
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Touchstone Pictures Presents
In Association With Silver Screen Partners IV
A Warren Beatty Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
DGA trainee
Dir, 2d unit
Dir, 2d unit
Dir, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Addl 2d asst cam
Video assist
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Rigging gaffer
Dimmer op
Elec
Elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
Video assist, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Storyboard illustrator
Matte layout illustrator
Set illustrator
Art dept asst
Graphics artist
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Addl asst ed
Addl asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Lead set des
Lead set des
Set des
Leadman
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Sculptor
Const coord
Const foreman
Const foreman
Const foreman
Paint foreman
Prop master, 2d unit
Prop master, 2d unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Assoc cost des
Head cost supv
Men's cost supv
Women's cost supv
Costumer
Costumer
Costumer
Costumer
Costumer
Cost, 2d unit
Cost, 2d unit
Cost made by
Dick Tracy rain coats made by
Furs by
of Beverly Hills
MUSIC
Orig songs by
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Addl orch
Supv copyist
Contractor
Score cond by
Score rec by
at Columbia Studios
Score mixed by
at CBS Television City
Songs performed by Madonna rec by
at Ocean Way Recording
Mixed by
at CBS Television City
Dick Tracy album exec prod
Prod [Dick Tracy album]
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd mixer
Boom op
2d boom
Supv sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Supv dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
1st asst sd ed
Asst dial ed
Asst foley ed
Asst foley ed
Asst ADR ed
Asst ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eng
Sd re-rec
Sd re-rec
P.D.L.
P.D.L.
Spec sd processing
Foley by
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley rec by
Sd mixer, 2d unit
Boom op, 2d unit
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff prod by
Visual eff prod by
Spec eff coord
Spec eff supv
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Visual eff prod
Visual eff prod supv
Supv visual eff coord
Opt supv
Eff cam supv
Line-up supv
Matte artist
Matte artist
Matte artist
Matte artist
Asst matte artist
Eff cam op
Eff cam op
Eff cam op
Eff cam op
Eff cam op
Eff cam op
Eff anim
Eff anim
Eff ed
Eff ed
Opt cam
Opt cam
Opt cam
Opt cam
Visual eff coord
Opt librarian
Dir of photog, Miniature shoot
Prod assoc, Miniature shoot
Cam op, Miniature shoot
Gaffer, Miniature shoot
Elec, Miniature shoot
Key grip, Miniature shoot
Grip, Miniature shoot
Addl miniature photog, Miniature shoot
Miniatures provided by, Miniature shoot
Miniature supv, Miniature shoot
Chief mechanical des, Miniature shoot
Chief modelmaker, Miniature shoot
Modelmaker, Miniature shoot
Modelmaker, Miniature shoot
Modelshop coord, Miniature shoot
Title des
Opticals
DANCE
Mus numbers staged by
MAKEUP
Spec char make-up by
Spec char make-up by
Make-up consultant
Make-up artist
Asst make-up
Hairstylist
Asst hairstylist
Key char make-up artist
Spec char make-up artist
Spec char make-up artist
Lab crew
Lab crew
Lab crew
Lab coord
Make-up, 2d unit
Hairstylist, 2d unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod supv
Prod assoc
Prod assoc
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod secy
Loc mgr
Asst accountant
Payroll accountant
Prod assoc
Post-prod assoc
Admin asst
Spec catering
Asst to Richard Sylbert
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Post-prod asst
Post-prod asst
Studio teacher
Unit pub
Unit pub
Casting asst
Extras casting
Cenex Casting
Extras casting
ADR voice casting
Post-prod controller
Auditor
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Mechanic
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Craft service
Scr supv, 2d unit
Post-prod accounting
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col processing and E.N.R. prints by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by Chester Gould for the Dick Tracy® Comic Strip distributed by Chicago Tribune Media Services, Inc. (Oct 1931--).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Sooner Or Later (I Always Get My Man)," written by Stephen Sondheim, performed by Madonna, arranged by Jeremy Lubbock, strings arranged by Shirley Walker, courtesy of Sire Records
"More," written by Stephen Sondheim, performed by Madonna, arranged by Jeremy Lubbock, courtesy of Sire Records
"What Can You Lose," written by Stephen Sondheim, performed by Madonna and Mandy Patinkin, arranged by Shirley Walker, courtesy of Sire Records
+
SONGS
"Sooner Or Later (I Always Get My Man)," written by Stephen Sondheim, performed by Madonna, arranged by Jeremy Lubbock, strings arranged by Shirley Walker, courtesy of Sire Records
"More," written by Stephen Sondheim, performed by Madonna, arranged by Jeremy Lubbock, courtesy of Sire Records
"What Can You Lose," written by Stephen Sondheim, performed by Madonna and Mandy Patinkin, arranged by Shirley Walker, courtesy of Sire Records
"Live Alone And Like It," written by Stephen Sondheim, performed by Mel Torme
"Back In Business," written by Stephen Sondheim, performed by Janis Siegel, Cheryl Bentyne and Lorraine Feather, arranged by Jeremy Lubbock, vocal arrangement by Janis Siegel
"Die Schlumpf" (Opera Sequence), composed and conducted by Thomas Pasatieri, performed by Marvelee Cariaga and Michael Gallup
"Pep, Vim And Verve," written by Bill Elliott, Ned Claflin and Andy Paley, performed by Jeff Vincent and Andy Paley
"You're In The Doghouse Now," written by Andy Paley, Jeff Lass, Mike Kernan and Ned Claflin, performed by Brenda Lee, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
"Some Lucky Day," written by Mike Kernan and Andy Paley, performed by Andy Paley
"Rompin' & Stompin'," written by Jeff Vincent and Ned Claflin, performed by Al Jarreau, courtesy of Reprise Records
"Now I'm Following You," written by Andy Paley, Jeff Lass, Ned Claflin and Jonathan Paley, performed by Andy Paley
"It Was The Whiskey Talkin' (Not Me)," written by Andy Paley, Ned Claflin, Jonathan Paley and Mike Kernan, performed by Jerry Lee Lewis
"Ridin' The Rails," written by Ned Claflin and Andy Paley, performed by k.d. lang and Take 6, k.d. lang courtesy of Sire Records, Take 6 courtesy of Reprise Records
"Looking Glass Sea," written by Vince Clarke and Andy Bell, performed by Vince Clarke and Andy Bell of Erasure, Vince Clarke and Andy Bell courtesy of Mute Records
"Blue Nights," written by Andy Paley, Jeff Lass and Jonathan Paley, performed by Tommy Page, courtesy of Sire Records.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 June 1990
Premiere Information:
Woodstock, IL premiere: 13 June 1990
Orlando, FL premiere: 14 June 1990
Los Angeles and New York openings: 15 June 1990
Production Date:
1 February--late June or early July 1989
Copyright Claimant:
Touchstone Pictures, a.a.d.o. the Walt Disney Company
Copyright Date:
20 June 1990
Copyright Number:
PA467384
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo® in selected theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
110
Length(in feet):
9,446
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30562
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Hiding from police, a street urchin spies on an illegal card game in a warehouse. The boy witnesses as “Flattop” and “Itchy,” two thugs working for local crime boss “Big Boy” Caprice, ambush the card players and shoot them dead. Before making an escape, Flattop spells out a message in bullets on the wall that reads, “Eat lead, Tracy.” Elsewhere, police detective Dick Tracy, wearing his trademark yellow fedora and trench coat, gets a call about the crime on his two-way radio wristwatch and abruptly leaves an opera performance. Surveying the scene of the crime, Tracy suspects Big Boy Caprice, who is busy kidnapping Lips Manlis and his girl friend, “Breathless” Mahoney, a sultry singer at Club Ritz, the illegal gambling establishment owned by Lips. Tracy returns to his girl friend, Tess Trueheart, at the opera, but is drawn away again when he witnesses the street urchin stealing a man’s watch. Tracy trails the boy to a shack, where Steve the Tramp demands the child’s loot and beats him. Tracy appears in the doorway and retaliates. He takes the boy to a diner, where Tess awaits. When asked for his name, the boy says he is called “The Kid.” He admits he has no parents but refuses to return to the orphanage. Tracy decides to watch over him for the time being. Across town, at the Southside Warehouse, Big Boy Caprice, a blowhard with a penchant for misquoting famous men, coerces Lips to sign over the Club Ritz, then forces him into a box and buries him alive in wet cement. Tracy is called to the warehouse, where he finds a pile of walnuts and an earring. Knowing walnuts ... +


Hiding from police, a street urchin spies on an illegal card game in a warehouse. The boy witnesses as “Flattop” and “Itchy,” two thugs working for local crime boss “Big Boy” Caprice, ambush the card players and shoot them dead. Before making an escape, Flattop spells out a message in bullets on the wall that reads, “Eat lead, Tracy.” Elsewhere, police detective Dick Tracy, wearing his trademark yellow fedora and trench coat, gets a call about the crime on his two-way radio wristwatch and abruptly leaves an opera performance. Surveying the scene of the crime, Tracy suspects Big Boy Caprice, who is busy kidnapping Lips Manlis and his girl friend, “Breathless” Mahoney, a sultry singer at Club Ritz, the illegal gambling establishment owned by Lips. Tracy returns to his girl friend, Tess Trueheart, at the opera, but is drawn away again when he witnesses the street urchin stealing a man’s watch. Tracy trails the boy to a shack, where Steve the Tramp demands the child’s loot and beats him. Tracy appears in the doorway and retaliates. He takes the boy to a diner, where Tess awaits. When asked for his name, the boy says he is called “The Kid.” He admits he has no parents but refuses to return to the orphanage. Tracy decides to watch over him for the time being. Across town, at the Southside Warehouse, Big Boy Caprice, a blowhard with a penchant for misquoting famous men, coerces Lips to sign over the Club Ritz, then forces him into a box and buries him alive in wet cement. Tracy is called to the warehouse, where he finds a pile of walnuts and an earring. Knowing walnuts are Big Boy’s favorite snack, Tracy brings Flattop and Itchy in for interrogation, but they refuse to talk. Tracy questions Mumbles, another of Big Boy’s henchmen, whose fast, slurred speech is nearly unintelligible. Finally, he has Big Boy brought in, but, with insufficient evidence to hold him, the gangster is released in the morning. Outside the police station, Big Boy tells reporters he has been unfairly arrested five times and demands an end to police harassment. Tess helps Tracy watch over “The Kid” while the detective continues to go after Big Boy. Hearing of Big Boy’s arrest, District Attorney Fletcher warns Tracy to stop being a “maverick,” and asks Chief of Police Brandon to keep the detective in line. One night after dinner, Tracy walks Tess to her doorstep. He begins to ask her to move in with him, but they are interrupted when Big Boy’s thugs shoot at them from a speeding car. No one is hurt, but Tess expresses concern for Tracy’s safety. Later, Breathless Mahoney attempts to seduce Tracy at his office. He produces the earring she left behind at the Lips Manlis murder scene, but Breathless refuses to risk her life testifying against Big Boy. Tracy secretly follows her back to the Club Ritz, where Big Boy is holding a meeting with representatives from all the rival gangs in town. Tracy spies as Big Boy suggests the gangsters form a crime syndicate. One of the men, Spaldoni, refuses to join after Big Boy appoints himself leader. However, when Spaldoni gets in his car to drive away, it explodes. The next day, Flattop and Itchy kidnap Tracy from his apartment. The Kid jumps onto the rear bumper of the gangsters’ car and follows them to Tess’s apartment building, where Big Boy awaits Tracy in the boiler room. He offers the detective $15,000 in hush money, but Tracy refuses. The gangsters set the boilers to explode and leave Tracy tied to a chair, but the Kid rescues the detective in the nick of time. Chief Brandon presents the Kid with an honorary badge and temporary certificate, promising a permanent certificate when he chooses a proper name for himself. D.A. Fletcher, who is in cahoots with Big Boy, refuses to believe Tracy’s claims that Big Boy tried to bribe and murder him, insisting that Big Boy was giving dance lessons at the Club Ritz when Tracy was abducted. Breathless Mahoney returns to Tracy’s office and acknowledges Big Boy’s guilt but claims the gangster will kill her if she testifies. She draws Tracy in for a kiss, but they are interrupted by Tess and the Kid. Tess retreats to another room to cry while the Kid ogles Breathless on her way out. “88 Keys,” a piano player at the Club Ritz, receives a call from “The Blank,” a mysterious, blank-faced gangster, who employs him as a middleman to deliver a letter to Big Boy. In the letter, the Blank offers to kill Tracy in exchange for ten percent of the syndicate’s profits. Big Boy rejects the offer, admonishing 88 Keys for doing business with the Blank, someone he has never seen before. Tracy organizes a police raid on the Club Ritz in order to plant a listening device in Big Boy’s office. “Bug” Bailey sneaks into an empty room directly above the office and listens in on Big Boy’s meetings. Soon, Bug tips off Tracy to several crimes before they occur, and Tracy is able to arrest numerous gang members. Big Boy cannot believe Tracy’s luck until he discovers the bug in his light fixture. He fakes a call about a meet-up at the Southside Warehouse, and Bug reports the information to Tracy while he is at dinner with Tess and the Kid. Frustrated by Tracy’s reluctance to settle down, Tess tells Tracy she is leaving him. Promising to resume the conversation when he returns, Tracy goes to the warehouse. There, he finds “Pruneface” and “Influence,” two of Big Boy’s thugs, burying Bug Bailey in wet cement. A shootout ensues, and the Blank arrives just as Tracy rescues Bug. The Blank shoots Pruneface, prompting Influence to flee. Elsewhere, Big Boy panics and says he wants both Tracy and the Blank killed. Tracy returns to the diner but finds Tess gone. She goes to her parents’ home and nurses her broken heart. At the docks, Breathless tells Tracy she will do anything for him if he tells her he wants her. However, Tracy rebuffs Breathless and tells her he is in love with Tess. Meanwhile, Tess’s mother, Mrs. Trueheart, advises her daughter that Tracy will never take a desk job, and requires a very understanding woman. The Blank forges a letter from Tracy to D.A. Fletcher, demanding $10,000 in exchange for evidence that will destroy the D.A.’s career. Tess returns to town, and the Blank uses her to lure Tracy, whom he kidnaps and drugs. The Blank goes to the Midway Hotel where he kills Fletcher, then places Tracy at the scene of the crime, along with the blackmail letter. Tracy is arrested. The Kid visits Tracy in jail and reveals the name he has chosen for himself: Dick Tracy, Jr. Later, Sam Catchem, Tracy’s friend on the police force, sneaks him out of jail. Tracy rushes to find Mumbles, who reveals that Big Boy paid 88 Keys to set him up. Next, Tracy sneaks onto the roof of the Club Ritz and sees Tess through a skylight. At the same moment, Big Boy discovers Tess and realizes he has been framed for her kidnapping. Big Boy takes her hostage and makes an escape as police swarm the club. Breathless tips off Tracy to Big Boy’s underground escape route. Closely followed by the Kid, Tracy tracks down Big Boy and Tess at a drawbridge engine house. Big Boy ties Tess to a gear and holds up Tracy, demanding he drop his gun. The Blank intervenes, ordering Big Boy to kill Tracy. The Kid barges in and topples the Blank, who is shot by Big Boy. Tracy knocks Big Boy down the gear shaft and frees Tess. Realizing the Blank is still breathing, he removes the gangster’s mask and discovers Breathless Mahoney’s face. She admits she could never shoot Tracy and kisses him before dying. Tracy finds Tess outside and embraces her. Later, at the diner, Tracy gives Dick Tracy, Jr. his own two-way radio wristwatch. Tracy again starts to propose to Tess but gets called to another crime scene. Before he leaves with Junior, he tells Tess she is “one in a million” and tosses her a diamond engagement ring. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.