6.7/10
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14 user 12 critic

Dick Tracy (1937)

Approved | | Action, Comedy, Crime | 20 February 1937 (USA)
A master criminal called The Spider puts the famous detective's brother under a hypnotic spell and turns him against Dick.

Directors:

Alan James, Ray Taylor

Writers:

Chester Gould (based on cartoon strip by), Barry Shipman (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ralph Byrd ... Dick Tracy
Kay Hughes ... Gwen Andrews
Smiley Burnette ... Mike McGurk
Lee Van Atta Lee Van Atta ... Junior
John Picorri ... Moloch (as John Piccori)
Carleton Young ... Gordon Tracy, After
Fred Hamilton Fred Hamilton ... Steve Lockwood
Francis X. Bushman ... Chief Clive Anderson
John Dilson ... Ellery Brewster [Chs. 1, 12]
Richard Beach Richard Beach ... Gordon Tracy, Before [Chs. 1, 12]
Wedgwood Nowell ... H.T. Clayton [Chs. 8-9]
Theodore Lorch ... Patorno [Chs. 1, 12]
Edwin Stanley Edwin Stanley ... Walter Odette
Harrison Greene Harrison Greene ... Cloggerstein / Durston
Herbert Weber Herbert Weber ... Tony Martino [Ch. 1]
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

ACE G-MAN --- WAGING A ONE-MAN WAR ON CRIME! (original 11x14 lobby card) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 February 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Adventures of Dick Tracy See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(15 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono (R C A Victor "High Fidelity" Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 »

Goofs

Despite Dick Tracy had two encounters at The Old Beachwood Hotel, nothing has been done until the final chapter. 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

Version of Dick Tracy (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cool, well-made, old serial (free for download too)
29 August 2005 | by Travis_MoranSee 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.


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