Lil' Blonde Darling: Madonna in Dick Tracy! ~ Darian Darling: A Guide To Life For Modern Blondes!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lil' Blonde Darling: Madonna in Dick Tracy!

Blonde Beauty Icon Madonna as Breathless Mahoney

Nothing leaves me more breathless than the epic looks Madonna featured as Breathless Mahoney in 1990's Dick Tracy! I vividly remember seeing this in the theater during the summer of 1990, as it was billed as that years epic comic book blockbuster à la Tim Burton's Batman the year before. This was my first real exposure to Madonna....and watching her Blond Ambition HBO special a month later sealed the deal: Madonna obsession for life! While the cinematography, set design, makeup and visuals were outstanding, it received mixed reviews from critics. For me, Madonna is really the only reason to watch the film. Cast as a seductive torch singer in the mob-run cabaret Club Ritz, who is out to snag the dashing police detective Dick Tracy, Madonna shines in the role. It is certainly one of her best acting roles, plus any excuse to have her sing and dance in a film is never a bad thing.

The comic strip Breathless Mahoney only appeared twice, and was very much inspired by 1940's film star Veronica Lake.

Madonna begged and pleaded with director/producer/star Warren Beatty to cast her in the role, but he had his mind set on Melanie Griffith. When Madonna offered to work at scale ($1,440 a week), she was finally able to win the part (starting to date him also helped, or course). The first thing Warren Beatty made her do was bleach her hair (she had recently grown it out to her natural color, see "Like A Prayer" video) and also gain 10 lbs, so it would appear as though she was "poured into her dresses". Her figure became so voluptuous that during her performance of "More" in the film, her breasts kept popping out of her silver lamé gown. The makeup department had to literally GLUE her into the dress, which made them extremely nervous because it hadn't been tested. If the glue had discolored her or caused any sort of allergic reaction they were quoted as saying, "we would be the guys that destroyed a national treasure"!

Madonna's role as Breathless Mahoney also inspired her to release a full length concept album, I'm Breathless: Music from and Inspired by the Film Dick Tracy. Although it only features 4 songs from the film, it is often relegated to the soundtrack bin and is usually left off her list of studio albums. It is a hidden gem from her back catalog and completely underrated. Featuring campy, 1930's jazz/big band influenced songs, all sung from the perspective of a gold digging gun moll, how can you go wrong? In 1990, Madonna was at the height of her popularity as the Queen of Pop, so for her to release an album of retro -jazz standards/showtunes was quite unexpected and shocking. In their review of the album, Rolling Stone magazine said: "No other pop star today could—or probably would - make an album like this." Very true....although it IS an album of pop music, only it's pop music from the 1930's/40's. It DID however include the house-infused #1 smash hit "Vogue", which besides it's references to old Hollywood film stars, is COMPLETELY out of place on the album.

again....the ONLY champagne glass to sip from. FUCK a flute!

Leave me Breathless

Silver Screen

"You don't know if you want to hit me or kiss me."

Quick curls


Got my diamonds. Got my yacht.


 Feeling blue

"Dick? That's an interesting name. My bottom hurts just thinking about it."

She always gets her man!

Her BEST live performance a Bob Mackie gown and $20 million worth of Harry Winston diamonds!

Nothing like a good spanky.


"He's a man...with a gun in his hand."

Hollywood couple

Gun moll

I don't want you to thank can just spank me!

Smoking is glamorous.

with Al Pacino

Breathless gives good face.

It's hard being this glamorous!

The only time Madonna was ever made into a doll (Oh, and she has nipples)!


  1. Ridiculously awesome post Darian. I LOVED Madonna in this. ALthough my Madonna obsessions started about 5 before this, I was so excited to see her in this type of role. I agree that Vogue was totally out of place but keep in mind that at least she kept the style of the video classic old school as well as name drop golden age movie stars, so in that way it sort of fits in. Loved this post!

  2. Man, it was good then but it's even better now. Fantastic post!

  3. These pictures are amazing!