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Dick Tracy (I) (1937)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 395 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 7 critic

A master criminal called The Spider puts the famous detective's brother under a hypnotic spell and turns him against Dick.

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,

Writers:

(based on cartoon strip by), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: Dick Tracy (1937)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ralph Byrd ...
Kay Hughes ...
Smiley Burnette ...
Lee Van Atta ...
Junior
John Picorri ...
Moloch (as John Piccori)
Carleton Young ...
Fred Hamilton ...
...
John Dilson ...
Ellery Brewster [Chs. 1, 12]
Richard Beach ...
Wedgwood Nowell ...
H.T. Clayton [Chs. 8-9]
Theodore Lorch ...
Patorno [Chs. 1, 12]
Edwin Stanley ...
Walter Odette / The Spider
Harrison Greene ...
Cloggerstein / Durston
Herbert Weber ...
Tony Martino [Ch. 1]
Edit

Storyline

A master criminal called The Spider puts the famous detective's brother under a hypnotic spell and turns him against Dick.

Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on cartoon strip by CHESTER GOULD (original poster) See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 February 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Adventures of Dick Tracy  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(15 episodes)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor High Fidelity Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The background comic art (panels) shown on most of the original posters for this serial came from the Sunday "Dick Tracy" comic page of December 6, 1936. See more »

Quotes

[the Spider's henchmen have kidnapped Gordon, Dick Tracy's brother, and Moloch prepares to begin a mind-altering medical procedure]
The Spider: Hmm, his condition seems critical.
Moloch: What if should die?
The Spider: Then we will eliminate a very dangerous enemy.
Moloch: He won't die, but by means of this operation - a simple altering of certain glands - he will be unable to distinguish between right and wrong.
The Spider: In that event, he will be very useful to us, Moloch, very useful.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Oscar & Elmer" are given final cast credits in the opening sequence. See more »

Connections

Followed by Dick Tracy Returns (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Exciting Comic Strip Adaptation!
27 April 2004 | by (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

"Dick Tracy" was the first of three serials based on Chester Gould's popular comic strip produced by Republic Pictures in the late 30s. The title character was played by Ralph Byrd in all three films.

In this installment Tracy and his assistants Steve Lockwood (Fred Hamilton), Junior (Lee Van Atta) and Mike McGurk (Smiley Burnette) are up against a terrorist organization known as the Spider Ring. The gang is led my a mysterious shadowy figure known only as the Lame One.

The gang tries among other things, to destroy the Golden Gate Bridge with a sonic sound wave machine, take over a gold mine and steal the plans for a new high speed aircraft. Tracy and his pals are kept busy trying to foil the gang's moves over 15 fast-paced chapters. Co-directors Ray Taylor and Alan James keep the action moving and provide us with plenty of excitement. There is a least one fight in every chapter. There is also the requisite "flashback" chapter which Republic used in most of their serials. The unmasking of the Lame One in Chapter 15 is almost anti-climatic. I challenge you to remember who the character was who turns out to be the Lame One.

The DVD which I purchased was produced by Marengo Films. The print from which it was duplicated was apparently borrowed from a collector so IT WAS NOT duplicated from the fuzzy public domain print that has been used for several years. The picture quality is very good and the sound crisp and clear.

Some interesting notes. The shooting down of a dirigible foreshadowed the real life Hindenberg disaster the following year. The high speed plane forecast the development of jet planes by some ten years. The Flying Wing used by the gang almost reminds one of the Stealth Bomber even though this was the 30s. And yes there's those great vintage 30s cars too. The running time of 290 minutes makes this I believe, the longest running serial of all time.

Francis X. Bushman who plays G-Man chief, Clive Anderson had been in films since 1911 and was one of the first matinee idols. He is probably best remembered for his role as Messala in the silent "Ben-Hur" (1927). Lee Van Atta and Smiley Burnette both appeared in the serial "Undersea Kingdom" (1936). Burnette of course would go on to be one of the best known "B" western sidekicks riding with Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Charles Starrett (The Durango Kid).

Also in the cast in assorted roles, are Roy Barcroft as an air crewman on The Flying Wing, Milburn Morante as "Death Valley Johnny", I. Stanford Jolley as an intern and veteran silent heavy Walter Long in a bit. Future serial director William Witney served as a film editor on this project.

Followed by "Dick Tracy Returns" (1938) and "Dick Tracy's G-Men" (1939).


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