The Black Kino Fist: Black life as depicted in film history

Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

"For avid readers of mystery and crime novels, the stories of African-American novelist Walter Mosley featuring his detective hero Easy Rawlins were a unique and welcome addition to an overly familiar genre. And it was no surprise when Devil in a Blue Dress, the first of a quartet of novels featuring Rawlins, was optioned by a Hollywood studio and later brought to the screen in 1995 by director Carl Franklin and Denzel Washington, who not only played the lead but helped finance it; it was the first film for his production company, Mundy Lane. 
Prior to filming Franklin scouted out locations for the film and found a four block section of Main Street in downtown Los Angeles, near Pico, that could be redressed for period city scenes. But Easy's neighborhood had to be recreated since the original community had long since been destroyed in the Watts riots.
When Devil in a Blue Dress opened theatrically, it received mostly positive reviews from the nation's leading critics. Time reviewer Richard Schickel wrote "Carl Franklin's cool, expert adaptation of Devil in a Blue Dress...evokes the spirit of '40s film noir more effectively than any movie since Chinatown [1974]" and added that Denzel Washington as Easy "gracefully reanimates a lost American archetype, the lonely lower-class male absorbing more cigarette smoke, bourbon whiskey and nasty beatings than is entirely healthy, as he pursues miscreants and moral imperatives down mean, palm-lined streets." Washington's performance deserved to be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar® but the film was virtually ignored by the Academy voters, even Don Cheadle's scene-stealing supporting role as the wildly unpredictable Mouse."
- Jeff Stafford for TCM
Status: Available for purchase

Source 1
Source 2