Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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This is a surprisingly good, well-acted bit of pulp fiction. The story is good enough to keep one's interest, and one gets the feeling that the performers had a rollicking good time during filming. I've seen other Dick Tracy films. None were as good as this.
There's plenty going on here for fans of RKO type serials, like the punny names of incidental characters, or the constant repartee between the leads (yuck-yuck-yuck-yuck), or the silly comic page situations played seriously, but the real draw here is Karloff's total immersion into his bad guy persona. What villainy will he perpetrate next? He's the reason to see this.
Low budget serial that was soon to move to TV, featuring Ralph Byrd as the fabled detective. Here, he comes face-to-face with Boris Karloff as Gruesome, a nasty thug who gets his hands on a scientist's new chemical that has the power to freeze people in their tracks, virtually unconscious (but actually freeze-framed). This enables a major bank robbery but fortunately Dick's girlfriend Tess is in the phone booth at the bank, impervious to the gas and able to call the cops. The comic book action is writ large and fairly silly but not so much as Batman the 1960's TV series (for example). So, things might be a bit dull if the proceedings weren't lifted by Karloff's special touch. Somehow I thought Tracy would be a bit sterner but he seems a fun-loving joe here. No gadgets anywhere in sight.
Maybe the best of the Dick Tracy series this movie has humor, science, and the very appealing Lex Barker and June Clayworth.
Karloff Excels in a Solid Dick Tracy Feature--Dick Tracy vs Boris Karloff!!
I own this on DVD in a two movie pack along with:
* Dick Tracy Vs Cueball (1946)
A gang of crimals, 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 paralyses anyone who inhales it. When Gruesome accidentally breathes in 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 realises that he must devote his entire attention to stopping them.......
The Dick Tracy series in the 1940's was a very interesting contribution to the film industry. Unique in many ways. Low budget, as most series were but always interesting. They never achieved the greatness of Charlie Chan, Sherlock Holmes, Andy Hardy or Blondie, but they are fascinating to watch.