Dick Tracy (1937)

Approved  |   |  Action, Comedy, Crime  |  20 February 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 432 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.




(based on cartoon strip by), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kay Hughes ...
Lee Van Atta ...
John Picorri ...
Moloch (as John Piccori)
Fred Hamilton ...
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
Harrison Greene ...
Cloggerstein / Durston
Herbert Weber ...
Tony Martino [Ch. 1]


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"You've put me on the spot - you've killed my friends...now I'm striking for revenge! EXCITEMENT in 15-trigger-fast chapters! (original poster) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 February 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Adventures of Dick Tracy  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(15 episodes)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor High Fidelity Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Chapters: 1. The Spider Strikes, 2. The Bridge of Terror, 3. The Fur Pirates, 4. Death Rides the Sky, 5. Brother Against Brother, 6. Dangerous Waters, 7. The Ghost Town Mystery, 8. Battle in the Clouds, 9. The Stratosphere Adventure, 10. The Gold Ship, 11. Harbor Pursuit, 12. The Trail of the Spider, 13. Fire Trap, 14. The Devil in White, 15. Brothers United. See more »


After discovering The Wing's hangar, Dick Tracy does nothing about it until the last chapter. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in Puerto Vallarta Squeeze (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Cool, well-made, old serial (free for download too)
29 August 2005 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Now I've never read a Dick Tracy comic. They were before my time. But I had a good time watching this serial. It moved well and wasn't all just crashes and fight scenes.

There are a lot of pretty cool effects considering when this was made. The flying wing was my favourite. It looked like an old Northrop YB-35 with the props in front---and was obviously supposed to be bigger. Nice model though. Some other notable effects were the zeppelin crash and the shaking Golden Gate bridge.

Some other decent stuff I liked was the speeded-up secret message on the phonograph disc, the mad doctor with the cat (he was cool), the little belt morse code transmitter (reminded me of Batman's utility belt), and Gwen (I liked how she could fly a plane, and do most other stuff the men did---what surprised me is that they didn't have her get captured by the spider gang at some point).

One particularly goofy effect gave me a laugh: At the end of one chapter Dick Tracy's plane crashes into a bridge. The beginning of the next chapter shows the crash and then Dick getting up out of the plane wreckage, brushing off his clothes, and walking off. Pretty hokey there. And it seems Dick was fond of double-parachuting to get out of trouble---sorta funny.

The stories were not bad. There was plenty of plot to keep me interested and it was plausible---except maybe for a couple of the escapes after the disastrous endings of the previous chapter like I mentioned above. Now it seems the spider gang tried its hand at almost every type of crime before finally getting squashed by Dick Tracy. Let's see...there was bridge-wrecking, plane-motor-stealing, counterfeiting (attempted anyway), illegal brain surgery (on Tracy's bro), gold stealing (2 instances of this...the prospector's mine and the ship), and stealing jewellery.

And of course there are the typical fist fights that everyone expects. As usual, everyone involved gets up and walks away unharmed, without even any dirt or wrinkles on their clothes (as per the unwritten code of all serials it seems). Gun battles occur frequently, but no one notable ever gets hit (well Dick got hit at the end of one chapter, but by the next chapter he was miraculously healed). Additionally, there is no lack of car, boat, airplane, and zeppelin crashes.

I really did have a good time with this serial. I gave it an 8 because it had decent stories along with some better-than-average effects. Old movie fans, and anyone who likes serials, shouldn't miss this one.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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