Bone up on 'The Black Dahlia'

153756__black_lWith the film version of James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia opening on Sept. 15, now’s the time to check out the gruesome true-crime story as it was initially reported, thanks to the Los Angeles Times, which has posted its archive of contemporaneous articles about the case online here. I’m a little leery of this film, not for the gore factor, but because the actors — Josh Hartnett and Scarlett Johansson (pictured) and Hilary Swank — look like kids playing dress-up in 1940s clothes. Even The L Word‘s Mia Kirshner, the 31-year-old actress who plays the unfortunate victim, looks like a little girl compared to the real Elizabeth Short, who was just 22 when she died. So I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that director Brian De Palma can pull this one off. After all, if anyone can do homicidal kink, it’s the guy who made Femme Fatale, Body Double, and Dressed to Kill.


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  • california

    I first heard about this case from one of the crime shows on Discovery, A&E or Crime TV. Wish I could remember which series it was on, but if you are really interested you should definitely try to find it – I’m sure they will air it again since the movie is coming out. It aired while the film was in its developing stages. I haven’t read the book, but I’m really interested to see the movie and hear what their theory is. I can’t believe its still unsolved after all this time!!

  • Ep Sato

    Wasn’t De Pama also responsible for Scarface and the Untouchables? Let’s not sell the brother short, as it seems he’s already done a period piece that was awesome, and has proven himself capable of a good crime movie and a good thriller director (the first mission impossible movie was also his baby).
    So when’s the movie going to be made about the Anthrax attacks on the US Senate? Seems to me that’s a great unsolved crime to make a movie about. Plus, you could have someone like Leslie Nielson play incompetent boob, former AG, and candidate who lost to a dead guy John Ashcroft.

  • Sally

    For a huge amount of information about the case, including information about all the suspects, reviews of the books, etc. – and lots about Elizabeth Short herself – a great site is .

  • jon

    It’s childish, I know, but come on:
    A movie with Scarlett Johansson, Hilary Swank and Josh Hartnett under the headline “Bone up on ‘The Black Dahlia'” is just hilarious!

  • Ron Mwangaguhunga

    Brian Di Palma can do anything. Two words: Blow Out

  • heidi

    There was a great 48 hour mistery piece last night on CBS regarding this case. really creepy

  • RayT

    Excuse you! When have Hilary Swank and Scarlett Johansson ever “played dress up” in their films before?! If anyone can make this film great, these two will. Josh Hartnett… well… he may have some work to do!

  • step

    Scarlett Johansson ruins every movie she’s in for me, so I won’t be seeing it, but I completely agree on the dress-up comment. It just looks fake.

  • C

    I’m with heidi, that 48 Hours special was great.
    As far as Scarlett goes, the only movie I liked her in was Match Point. It seems that the character she plays in this one is similar so she should be ok. And not for nothing, Swank is a two time Oscar winner (!!!), she can pull this one off. Harnett scares me a bit but I have faith in DePalma, he knows what works. I’m excited to see this one.

  • Ceballos

    Should be a good movie…I’m just a little surprised it’s being released in mid-September (along with “Hollywoodland”)…it seems to me pretty early to release two movies that, at least going in, looked like they had Oscar potential. Oh well, if either film is THAT good, they should still be there by the end of the year. (“Crash” won despite coming out in April)

  • Brett Colbo

    What this movie will be remembered for is Mia Kirshner. She has always stolen the show from Kiefer on ’24’, everyone on ‘The L Word’ and even saved the few scenes of funny in ‘Not Another Teen Movie’. Her presence, her eyes, that VOICE– COME ON MANDY, YOUR COMING OUT PARTY HAS ARRIVED!

  • Rose

    I saw a trailer for Hollywoodland and at first glance I thought it was Black Dahlia, so they do look very similar. If I were going to one it would be Black Dahlia, because of Ellroy and DePalma. Of all the actors, Hillary Swank and Mia Kirshner are very good, not too crazy about Scarlett Johannsen or Josh Harnett, but maybe DePalma will get good performances out of them.

  • california

    Has anyone else been seeing the Hollywoodland ads and been thinking that they are advertising The Black Dahlia? I just figured out that these are two seperate movies!!

  • maria

    Mia Kirshner stole so much the L word that 99% of the fans
    will be glad not to see her anymore!!!!!
    Have you ever seen some L word pool ?
    Only 1 % loved her carachter!
    The L word will be great even without her!

  • Nikki

    I don’t know about anybody else but I think this will be a great movie. I love Scarlett Johansson and think she’s a great actor and very beautiful. As for Hilary Swank, I’m not a big fan of hers but maybe she will do a great job and prove me wronge. I just think she gets to much hype for any movie she’s in. Brian De Palma is great so it should be a good.

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