I can't really imagine what he's going to do with it but Deadline reported yesterday that Hollywood legend Warren Beatty (who turns 74 years old next week) has managed against the odds to retain the t.v. & film rights to the Dick Tracy comic strip detective, blocking attempts from Tribune Co to reclaim them after a quarter of a century of Beatty's ownership which has resulted in just one film, the notorious 1990 adaptation. Nikki Finke says;
U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson granted summary judgment in the producer/director/actor's favor yesterday, ruling that the fact Beatty had begun work on a half-hour TV special, which had Warren dressed as the Dick Tracy character answering questions from film critic Leonard Maltin, satisfied a use-it-or-lose-it clause in an agreement with Tribune to produce a Dick Tracy movie or TV show or lose the rights to the character.
I'm no legal expert but how on Earth that was enough to retain the rights to Dick Tracy is just beyond me. If this is the legal precedent, Fox have nothing to worry about with getting a Fantastic Four movie off the ground anytime soon to block Disney's attempts to reclaim. So what exactly does the retired Beatty want to do with Dick Tracy in the modern day film climate where almost every pulp noir and comic strip character has either had a movie released recently, or has screenwriters/producers trying to make one? Surely at 74 years old he's way past fighting the aging process to star in a sequel, but perhaps he could produce a reboot... or something. He clearly has plans or he wouldn't have gone to this trouble, right? Unless he's an megalomaniac and is one of those guys... you know the ones... collectors who are so obsessed with the subject of their obsession that they don't want anyone else to get their claws on it. Like the guy who supposedly has a copy of the lost film London After Midnight but won't go public. I've only ever seen Warren Beatty's two decades old Dick Tracy he made at Disney (which he starred, produced and directed) once and I know much more about it's notoriety as a very light hearted, with a big cast ensemble (Madonna, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman) comic book film than I do it's quality. I always preferred Tim Burton's gothic cartoonish version of Batman than Beatty's own cheesy cartoonish detective. As a big pulp detective fan, I would love to see a new attempt at a Dick Tracy movie though and there's a certain Mad Men actor who exudes a kind of Dick Tracy charm who could do something very special with it.