[box cover]

Devil in a Blue Dress

Denzel Washington stars as Easy Rawlins, one of a handful of black homeowners in 1940s Los Angeles. Unfairly laid-off from his honest factory job, Easy hardly has time to fret over his late mortgage payments before an unusual job lands in his lap, as he's hired to find a white woman with a predilection for juke-joint jazz and colored company. Easy smells trouble, yet the money is so big he accepts. But before he knows it, the dead bodies are piling up around him and he must progress from amateur snoop to expert sleuth to keep himself out of prison. Adapting the first of Walter Mosely's color-coded detective novels, writer-director Carl Franklin whips up a tight, exciting, intelligent tale that keeps its focus on mystery while also delivering subtly poignant observations on mid-century racial politics. Washington is superb, making Rawlins the smartest, sharpest, most likable P.I. of the 1990s, let alone the 1940s. Don Cheadle makes an electric debut as Easy's unpredictable gun-crazy sidekick, Mouse. Also with Jennifer Beals. Franklin's colorful period-detail is captured beautifully in this 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, with both 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 Dolby Surround audio tracks. Also includes a commentary by Franklin and Cheadle's screen-test. Keep case.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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