Shake the Scene: Dick Tracy


Dick Tracy (1990)

Dick_tracy1The Scene: MOOOORE!!!

Why We Love This Scene: I always have to remind myself of the existence of Dick Tracy for some reason. Don’t get me wrong—I love this flick! Always have and still do. But it always seems to be swept under the rug and is barely remembered. In fact, I saw some site this week talk about Dick Tracy because it’s now 25-freaking-years old! I’m entering the phase now of these movies becoming quarter-century old that I saw in theatres—without an accompanied adult! Next year will be the 25th anniversary of Terminator 2 and I fondly remembering seeing that in the theatre with my little brother, just the two of us. But feeling and nostalgic about the naughty nineties isn’t so bad. I feel relieved that these movies still bring a huge smile to my face.

I remember the big deal that Warren Beatty’s opus was becoming. Probably more so since that same summer we vacationed at Disney World and Dick was everywhere! Every gift shop was full of Dick. Dick was splattered on every piece of Disney memorabilia that summer. You couldn’t walk two yards before coming upon Dick! I consumed so much Dick that summer that jizz was oozing out of my nostrils. Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick, DICK!

After Burton’s Batman, the superhero genre had a small recharge with the what I like to call the “minor-league” pulp heroes. Remember The RocketeerThe Phantom and The Shadow? Heroes that were all simple, pulpy and set in a way earlier time period. We were a long way from Spider-Man and X-Men with superhero film technology apparently. But Dick Tracy was a big deal or at least tried hard to be a big deal. 

Just look at the ambition and marvel at the cast Beatty put together for this seemingly unknown comic hero that kid’s in the late-80s never knew. Besides Beatty in one of his perfect roles, you have Madonna in all her sexy and talented prime, Dustin Hoffman, William Forsythe, James Caan, Henry Silva and of course the amazing scene-chewing Al Pacino playing head crime boss Big Boy Caprice. This movie was made more for our parents’ generation with that cast than it was for ours but marketed for both. This film even had Happy Meals and action figures!

It’s so strange that such a great looking, acted and written movie is seldom brought up these days. It’s a shame really. Ghostbusters, GremlinsBack to the Future and even The Goonies are all high fan-favorites and Dick Tracy is barely a footnote with the film geek community. Maybe it was lack of sequels but I just learned that Disney was disappointed by the earnings of the film. They were expecting Batman kind of money but I guess the arcane character wasn’t enticing with the kiddos in the summer of 1990.

While perusing the good ‘ol YouTube I was shocked to see a very lack of good clips for Dick Tracy. I haven’t seen the film in a good long while (reason enough to dust off my DVD copy) and needed to refresh my memory of a good clip. The most I remember were the Pacino bits because he hammed it up so well in this film. Seriously, if you haven’t seen Dick Tracy, you’re seriously missing out. Besides Pacino, the stand-out character with a great memorable scene is Mumbles played by Dustin Hoffman who, aptly named, mutters every word spoken out of his crooked mouth. This plays great especially when he’s interrogated.  

But the scene I really wanted to show off today is one where we can witness the frantic and wacky antics of Pacino berating and going nuts on Madonna while she’s rehearsing a song number. He sings/yells the words, slaps her around and makes a complete maniacal ass of himself just for this one song. It’s hilarious and entertaining and makes me want to see this again because I barely remember this scene. If this scene delights me this much there’s no telling what else I’ll enjoy more as an older viewer.

10 thoughts on “Shake the Scene: Dick Tracy

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