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Producer-director-star Warren Beatty brings the square-jawed comic-strip cop to big-screen life in this spectacularly stylized adventure.
Producer-director-star Warren Beatty donned the comic-strip cop's lemon-yellow trench coat and fedora for this elaborate adaptation that ambitiously blows up Tracy creator Chester Gould's seven-colour aesthetic to big-screen proportions. While mob boss Big Boy Caprice (a heavily made-up Al Pacino) rallies the elite of the city's underworld to get rid of their arch-nemesis Tracy, the dedicated detective finds himself torn between love and duty as he tries to maintain his romance with devoted Tess Trueheart (Glenne Headly) and dodge the advances of sultry saloon singer Breathless Mahoney (a PG-pushing Madonna). Epically scaled and unabashedly artificial in its emulation of the original strip's bold primary colours and exaggerated architecture (the film picked up an Academy Award for its outstanding art direction), Dick Tracy was ultimately overshadowed by Tim Burton's Batman (despite being a box-office hit in its own right) but remains "a masterpiece of studio artificiality . . . one of the most original and visionary fantasies I've seen on a screen" (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times).