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Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome - Ralph Byrd As Dick Tracy, Featuring Boris Karloff (1947)

Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (original title)
Approved | | Action, Crime, Drama | 26 September 1947 (USA)
Dick Tracy goes up against a villain who robs banks using a nerve gas.


John Rawlins


Robertson White (screenplay), Eric Taylor (screenplay) | 3 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Boris Karloff ... Gruesome
Ralph Byrd ... Dick Tracy
Anne Gwynne ... Tess Trueheart
Edward Ashley ... Dr. L. E. Thal
June Clayworth ... Dr. Irma M. Learned
Lyle Latell ... Pat Patton
Tony Barrett ... Melody
Skelton Knaggs ... X-Ray
James Nolan ... Dan Sterne (as Jim Nolan)
Joseph Crehan ... Chief Brandon
Milton Parsons ... Dr. A. Tomic


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 Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


SLEUTH TRACY CLASHES WITH HIS DEADLIEST FOE! (original poster-all caps) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Several of the character initials combined with the last name are a play on words: Dr. L.E. Thal (Dr. Lethal), Professor I.M. Learned (Prof. I'm Learned), and Dr. A. Tomic (Dr. Atomic). See more »


Pat Patton: I tell you, if I didn't know better I'd swear we were doing business with Boris Karloff.
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Follows Dick Tracy, Detective (1945) See more »

User Reviews

Boris Karloff Elevates This Dick Tracy Film
5 April 2008 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

This was my first look at one of these old Dick Tracy movies. I believe most of them were very short, like those, a little over an hour long, and pretty fast-moving. Apparently, this is the fourth and last one of the films. I read where many people think it's the best, so I started here....and wasn't disappointed. It was entertaining.

What I found, at least in this movie, was a mixture of crime and some humor. Here, too, was a little sci-fi thrown in as someone invented a gas that would freeze anyone near it for about 15 minutes. The crooks, of course, freeze everyone at the First National Bank, and then go in and rob it. (These were the days before video cameras.)

Early on, one of the characters mentions something about a creepy-looking guy, "someone like Boris Karloff." The guy WAS Boris Karloff. Later, a doctor who could help the police figure out this mystery gas goes by the name of "Dr. A. Tomic," physicist. Still later, there is a dramatic scene in a room with a big sign that reads, "Y. Stuffem, taxidermist." The film is full of these little corny things making it a crime-comedy type of story.

Yet, the bad guys are tough guys. Karloff is convincing as a big thug who would kill without remorse. To me, he really makes this movie and elevates the crime angle of it beautifully. He was one-of-a-kind: had the perfect look and voice for scary roles on film. Skelton Knaggs, as "X-ray," as a frightening face.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

26 September 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dick Tracy vs. The Gruesome Gang See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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