LA Confidential Cast and Crew: Director: Curtis Hanson Jack Vincennes: Kevin Spacey Ed Exley: Guy Pearce Bud White: Russell Crowe Lynn: Kim Basinger Sid Hudgens: Danny DeVito Captain Smith: James Cromwell You guys probably know the cast better than I, so I will forego the typical cast and crew discussion. This is a film about the LAPD in the 1950s. No single crime dominates the film, as in the tradition of a typical “whodunit.” Rather, the department addresses a series of seedy criminal activities that constitute evidence of larger societal—and departmental—corruption. The film relates to this class in a multitude of ways. First, it is modeled after a classic noir. The setting is wholly appropriate. Moreover, central to the plot is a brothel that markets whores that look like Hollywood stars of the time. Kim Basinger, for example, is given plastic surgery to resemble Veronica Lake; others are made to look like Rita Hayworth and Lana Turner (or perhaps not(!)). In other words, the characters are littered with look-alikes of old noir stars. Similarly, following the noir tradition, the film is littered with flawed protagonists, none of which are purely good in any sense. It will be a real problem for you to identify what type of leadership skills they possess. Moreover, the film is characterized by a host of other noir elements: shadows, violence, night-time action, isolation, and a general unseemliness. Third, the film addresses the corruption of politics, much like a machine, or, as in your readings, what is typical of an individualistic culture. Fourth, the film captures the racism endemic in many societies in the 1940s. Notes: 1) Warner Brothers produced the film, which is appropriate because this studio produced many of the gangster/noir films of the 30s and 40s. 2) The script comes from the novels of James Ellroy, who was inspired by the pulp fiction of James M. Cain (Double Indemnity), Raymond Chandler (The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep), and Dashiell Hammet (). 3) There was a real Bloody Christmas, where seven Hispanic youths were arrested for inciting a riot in a downtown diner. The police beat them, followed by a beating by drunk cops at the Christmas party. 4) The director told Kevin Spacey to act like Dean Martin, because he wanted to capture the “coolest” person he could think of. 5) Badge of Honor is a takeoff of Dragnet. Memorable Quotes: Captain Smith: I admire you as a policeman, particularly your adherence to violence as a necessary adjunct to the job.
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