Hollywoodland stars Ben Affleck as George Reeves, the original TV Superman who was found dead of an apparent self inflicted gunshot to the head (for the morbidly curious, the exact location is 1579 Benedict Canyon). Adrien Brody plays the private investigator hired by Reeve’s family to investigate if the 1959 death was a suicide or foul play (an official inquiry concluded Reeves shot himself, but this is still debated). Hollywoodland is scheduled for a September 8th release. (trailer available at Yahoo!).
One week later, on September 15th, Brian DePalma’s adaptation of James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia finally brings Elizabeth Short to the silver screen… or at least Mia Kirshner’s portrayal of her. Short, who had moved to Los Angeles with the hope of becoming a famous movie star, was found cut in half in an empty lot off Norton Ave. in January 1947. Ellroy’s novel is a fictional account of the criminal investigation that followed, which remains an unsolved and open case nearly sixty years later. (more on the Black Dahlia case can be found at 1947 Project blogger Larry Harnisch’s site “Heaven Is Here”.)
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Both films feature at least a handful of actual Los Angeles locations along with foreign stand ins (A large part of Hollywoodland was shot in Canada, while The Black Dahlia used sets in Bulgaria).
The Hollywood Stock Exchange is currently predicting that neither film will be a blockbuster. A very light $11.75 million opening is being handicapped for Hollywoodland, while The Black Dahlia is expected to pull in $27 million.
While George Reeve’s death is eternally linked to Superman, Elizabeth Short’s case is certainly the more gruesome, if not fascinating, of the two cases. Regardless, having two films about Hollywood lore is going to be decadent treat.
But the question is open for debate… what is Hollywood’s most notorious unsolved mystery?