I love to watch documentaries about unsolved murders. I can easily spend 2 hours watching a very interesting documentary, where one case show you the timeline of what happened, from the murder took place, and the evidence that was found. There are so many interesting cases to go through, and i am planning to go back to London within the next couple of years to have a look at the streets where Jack The Ripper killed prostitues in 1888. I recently found a book that goes through a lot of evidence on Jack The Ripper, and who some people believe did these horrific murders. There is especially one case that i have been very interested in for many years, and that is the case known as The Black Dahlia, the murder of Elizabeth Short. For those of you who have not heard about this case, i will tell you about this mysterious murder case. Elizabeth was found murdered on January 15th, 1947 in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. Elizabeth´s body was completely severed at the waist and drained of blood. The killer had slashed from her corners of her mouth to her ears, creating an effect known as the " Glasgow Smile ". There have been several suspects in this case, and so far it does not seem to be solved. Considering how brutal Elisabeth was murdered, they have sugested that the murderer could be a surgeon, or someone with knowledge of surgery, who murdered her. I have tried listening to many different theories surrounding this case, and i do have a very good suggestion for you, if you are interested. There is a very interesting interview with author Steve Hodel, who wrote the book Black Dahlia Avenger, on the YouTube channel Most Notorious, where he tells us about the investigation he did on this case, that his own father could have been behind the murder. It is a 2 part audio video interview called The Black Dahlia Murder with Steven Hodel, and i suggest you check it out. The Black Dahlia case have not only been brought up in crime documentaries, but 15 years ago a film was released, simply called The Black Dahlia. I have not seen this film since the film came out, but i was very intrigued at that time, since the film does tell the story of the investigation of this case. I decided to get the DVD from the UK to watch it again, 15 years later, to see if this film is still good. Have this film become better within these years, or is The Black Dahlia a film that have aged too much?
On January 15, 1947, Elizabeth Short's ( Mia Kirshner ) dismembered body is found and she is dubbed " The Black Dahlia " by the press. LAPD detectives Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert ( Josh Hartnett ) and Lee Blanchard ( Aaron Eckhart ) takes on this case. They will soon discover that Elizabeth Short lived a life, filled with mysteries.
It is quite amazing when you can revisit a film 15 years later, and enjoy it just as much as i did, when i saw the film in cinema. The Black Dahlia is not only a good crime thriller, but this film manage to capture the time period of Hollywood in the 1940´s, with great looking costume design, and characters that fit in with the story. Knowing that this film is based on the investigation of Elizabeth Short, this film feels a bit special, considering that this mystery have never really been solved completely. Let´s be clear about one thing though, this film also tries to tell the story of Detective Dwight, his personal life, and how the investigation surrounding the death of Elizabeth Short affected him. You can tell that he is trying to deal with the situation, as good as he can. It is pretty clear that this case must have been very unique, since no one have ever seen a face beeing slashed from ear-to-ear. I instantly thought of the comicbook character The Joker, that he would do something similar to this. Of course, we are talking about a real killer here, but you have to wonder if the killer was inspired by the insane mind of The Joker, slicing a smily face on a human head? After all, the first comic book with The Joker was released in 1940, 7 years before the murder. It is just a theory from me, and it may not be connected at all to the case, i still find it very interesting. When it comes to the cast of this film, you have a lot of great performances. I have never been a huge fan of Josh Hartnett, but i have to say this may be one of his better acting performances as Detective Dwight. There is no doubt that one of the best acting performances in this film comes from actor Aaron Eckhart ( who can forget his fantastic performance in the 2005 film Thank You For Smoking ) as Detective Lee. Aaron have a screen presence that is hard to describe, but he almost feels like old school actors, that he can make any character feel interesting, no matter what the genre is. Of course we have wonderful actress Scarlett Johansson here as well as Katherine, and i don´t need to explain how good she is, i think most of you already know. One of the things i do think this film could have done better, is dig deeper into the murder case, instead of telling different stories about certain characters. I understand that they probably wanted to try and tell the story, from different personalities, and how they experienced this horrific crime, while dealing with personal issues. Somehow, i feel like we could have had more details about the murder, and actually see more of what happened to Elizabeth Short. I still think this is a good crime thriller though, and that is thanks to legendary director Brian De Palma, who knows how to make quality films. This may not be one of his classics, but it´s definetely an interesting film, in a very mysterious murder case. The Black Dahlia is worth picking up on DVD, if you love to dig deeper into famous murder cases of the past. A well made film that will continue the legacy of Brian De Palmas amazing film career.