A gang of criminals, which includes a piano player and an imposing former convict known as 'Gruesome', has found out about a scientist's secret formula for a gas that temporarily paralyzes anyone who breathes it. When Gruesome accidentally inhales some of the gas and passes out, the police think he is dead and take him to the morgue, where he later revives and escapes. This puzzling incident attracts the interest of Dick Tracy, and when the criminals later use the gas to rob a bank, Tracy realizes that he must devote his entire attention to stopping them. Written by
Filmed April 1-late April 1947, the last of RKO's four classic Dick Tracy features, and the only one in which Ralph Byrd takes second billing. He would continue playing the character on television, until his untimely death in 1952. See more »
My first introduction to Dick Tracy was the cartoon series of the 1950s (60s?) and then later the Sunday comics. I saw the big screen Warren Beatty/ Madonna effort and was curious about these earlier efforts. I wasn't expecting much but was pleasantly surprised by this adaptation. Gruesome, played by Boris Karloff, looks as if he just stepped out of the Chester Gould strip (without the lavish makeup of the 1990s version) and several supporting characters also have the grotesque look that made the comic popular. The story revolves around a mysterious gas that can temporarily freeze people. While they're in suspended animation, the baddies can rob the bank (the perfect plan huh?) Anyway, it's up to Dick Tracy (Ralph Byrd) to solve the mystery and put an end to Gruesome's crime spree. It's all good fun with more plot than you'd expect and a solid amount of screen time to Karloff. Humour peppers the thrills to make it an enjoyable film.
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