Dick Tracy vs. Crime Inc. Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 25, 2013
Only the second serial I've seen. This is another one by Republic Pictures with some Lydecker effects and English and Witney directing. However, this was completely straight-laced to the point of being a bit dull. Unlike the Warren Beatty version this was not cartoonish or campy at all. The fifteen chapters were titled: 1) The Fatal Hour, 2) The Prisoner Vanishes, 3) Doom Patrol, 4) Dead Man's Trap, 5) Murder at Sea, 6) Besieged, 7) Sea Racketeers, 8) Train of Doom, 9) Beheaded, 10) Flaming Peril, 11) Seconds to Live, 12) Trial By Fire, 13) The Challenge, 14) Invisible Terror, and 15) Retribution. This was Ralph Byrd's fourth appearance as Dick Tracy. He is joined by Billy Carr (played by Michael Owen) in most of the fight scenes. Though plenty of furniture is smashed in the brawls, there is a lack of thrills in the fist fights. There is one cliffhanger with a crop duster that may have been an inspiration for Hitchcock. June (played by Jan Wiley) is Tracy's secretary. She hardly makes any contribution to catching the villains, except in one chapter where she reveals she is an audio expert. The super villain is called The Ghost and the actor is never credited to keep the identity a secret. It takes a long time for Tracy to piece together that The Ghost must be one of the six businessmen he has been conferring with to put a stop to crime in the city. It is a silly plot device, but we are kept guessing as each man is eliminated. The Ghost's henchmen are named Lucifer (John Davidson) and Corey (Anthony Warde). Lucifer has invented a ray machine that sends a signal to a medallion worn by The Ghost, allowing him to become invisible. The Ghost also wears a pretty cool black mask that cover his full head. So, there are a ton of invisible man effects with doors and windows opening and floating weapons. The final chapter includes a clever fight scene with the film negative printed instead of the positive. Overall, some fun moments, but more routine than fantastic.
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