The script is based on an excellent book of Elroy which is considered a classic of the detective series. The director B. De Palma seemed ideal for realizing this project. His long admiration of Hitchcock and his career on mystery film create the impression that the project would be well executed. After all these facts one can only wonder what went wrong.
Every time a book is transferred into screen there is a great risk. Will the film be a able to concise the usually extended plot of the book maintaining the important parts and keeping the necessary coherence? Will it manage to transfer the atmosphere of the book? The more known and loved the book the greater the risk. In Black Dahlia’s case the film ended up with no atmosphere and no twists and turns in the plot that would have made the film interested. Everything was flat. The murder story was no sensational. The love story wasn’t believable. The sexual story wasn’t intriguing. Even worse De Palma’s directing never leaves the boundaries of convention. Where are the pictures that were so perfectly though and planned that became fetish for his funs. Where are the shoots that imitated Hitchcock’s cunning? A complete disappointment. A good opportunity for a sensational film has gone into the drain. In other word read the book and make your own film in your own mind.