Dick Tracy's on my mind.
It's one of my favorite movies for a few reasons, despite the fact that it concerns a comic strip character that few people remember now, and that it's been accused in some quarters of being nothing but absolute camp.
Sooner or later you're gonna be mine,
Sooner or later you're gonna be fine.
Baby, it's time that you face it,
I always get my man.
I'll admit that the dialogue needs work, and that the casting director could have gotten some better actors in some cases - the makeup does most of the work anyway. But for me, a writer who tends to dwell on plot and characterization as the most important elements in a story, this movie is a revelation.
Sooner or later you're gonna decide,
Sooner or later there's nowhere to hide.
Baby, it's time, so why waste it in chatter?
Let's settle the matter.
Baby, you're mine on a platter,
I always get my man.
Dick Tracy is a unique movie in that it creates an atmosphere that has never been equaled. It's that atmosphere that makes it ultimately watchable, if only because you just can't help marvelling at everything. The set designers resolved to use only primary colors to set the tone of the gangster-era comic strip, and the extensive painted backgrounds only served to highlight the artistic feel of the set.
But if you insist, babe, the challenge delights me.
The more you resist, babe, the more it excites me.
And no one I've kissed, babe, ever fights me again.
If you're on my list, it's just a question of when.
When I get a yen,
Then baby, Amen.
I'm counting to ten, and then...
Adding to the visual atmosphere is - of all people - composer Stephen Sondheim, who is very well-known for his Broadway musicals. What makes his part in this movie interesting is that, where you expect a comic-based gangster-era movie to be fast-paced, Sondheim contributes a number of pieces that alternate between fast and slow, reckless and thoughtful, exultant and depressed. His pieces end up fleshing out the characters and the settings significantly, allowing them to laugh and cry just as we do.
Maybe it shows,
She's had clues, which she chose to ignore.
Maybe though she knows,
And just wants to go on as before.
As a friend, nothing more
So she closes the door.
Dick Tracy took home three Academy Awards, none in any of the acting categories: Best Song (in a category traditionally dominated by Disney), Best Art Direction / Set Design, and, appropriately, Best Makeup. To this day, I still look upon it as one of the best examples of effective mood and setting in live visual media.
Quite interesting, I think, for a movie that's actually an adaptation of a comic strip. Eat that, Garfield. :)
I'm gonna love you like nothing you've known,
I'm gonna love you, and you all alone.
Sooner is better than later but lover,
I'll hover, I'll plan.
This time I'm not only getting,
* "I'm On My Way" promotional poster from http://www.impawards.com .
* "Sooner or Later" lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. It's a nice song. Don't sue me.