"L.A. Confidential" Is Released

L.A. Confidential is a 1997 feature film based on the 1990 crime fiction novel of the same title by James Ellroy, the third in his L.A. Quartet novel cycle.

Both the book and the film tell the story about a group of Los Angeles police in the 1950s, and police corruption bumping up against Hollywood celebrity. The film adaptation was produced and directed by Curtis Hanson and co-written by Brian Helgeland and Hanson.

At the time, both Australian actors Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce were relatively unknown in North America, and one of the film's backers, Arnon Milchan, was worried about the lack of established stars in the lead roles. However, he supported Hanson's casting decisions and this gave the director the confidence to approach Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger, and Danny DeVito.

Critically acclaimed, the film holds a 99% rating at Rotten Tomatoes with 73 out of 74 reviews positive, as well as an aggregated rating of 90% based on 28 reviews on Metacritic. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won two, Basinger for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and Hanson and Helgeland for Best Screenplay - Adapted.

Based on the best-selling novel by James Ellroy and directed by Curtis Hanson, this award-winning crime drama explores both the dark side of the Los Angeles police force and Southern California's criminal underbelly in the early '50s, when Hollywood was still seen as America's capital of sophistication, glitter, and glamour. Dudley Smith (James Cromwell) is the head of the LAPD and is loyal to his officers and eager to turn a blind eye to violence or corruption within his department, as long as it's the "bad guys" who are getting hurt. Bud White (Russell Crowe) is a police detective whose violent and cynical nature is often at war with his basic sense of decency and justice. Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) is a beat cop-turned-detective whose strict by-the-book philosophy and willingness to blow the whistle on other officers is balanced by a shrewd and opportunistic understanding of the internal politics of the department. And Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) is a flashy "Hollywood" detective who serves as technical advisor for the TV series Badge of Honor. He is also in cahoots with Sid Hudgeons (Danny DeVito), publisher of the scandal sheet Hush Hush, who throws kickbacks to Vincennes in exchange for being brought along when showbiz figures get busted. White, Exley, and Vincennes find themselves drawn into a tangled and sticky web of violence and betrayal following a multiple murder at a coffee shop that is believed to be part of an effort by Mickey Cohen (Paul Guilfoyle) to consolidate his hold on organized crime in L.A. This lead appears to be connected to the discovery of a bizarre pornography and call-girl ring operated by Pierce Patchett (David Strathairn), whose women are given plastic surgery so that they more closely resemble well-known movie stars. White's role in the investigation is complicated when he falls for Lynn Bracken (Kim Basinger), one of Patchett's prostitutes, who is the spitting image of Veronica Lake. L.A. Confidential was nominated for nine Academy Awards and netted two, with Brian Helgeland honored for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Kim Basinger taking home a statuette as Best Supporting Actress. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide