Tracy's Villains

"Dick Tracy" is a stylish and strikingly beautiful film. For once the hype rings true. Yet, my young movie companion and I couldn't help but notice that a primary "color" is missing from the ensemble cast. No African-American actors are represented in the movie.

I told my young friend that the lack of black actors in the cast may be because the movie is strongly based on the '30s comic strip and it is unlikely that black characters appeared in comics 50 years ago. Her comment was, "Yeah, but this is a '90s movie!" She's right. We decided that 88 Keys could have been portrayed by a black actor. Amateur film critics that we are, we thought it would have brought a poignant twist to the character's love for Breathless.

To be fair, I've noticed the same "omission" of black actors in lead or major supporting roles in Woody Allen, Francis Coppola and Oliver Stone movies. I've come to the conclusion that these directors must not have any actor friends who happen to be African-American. This situation is an apparent impediment to casting persons of color in their films and seems to indicate the need to expand their film industry social circle.


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