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|Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome|
Actors: Boris Karloff, Ralph Byrd, Anne Gwynne, Edward Ashley, June Clayworth
Director: John Rawlins
Genres: Action & Adventure, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
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Matt B. from GETZVILLE, NY
Reviewed on 12/6/2010...
Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome
65 minutes/ B & W/ 1947
Open-minded and tolerant, I think it is improper to take too seriously movies that are based on comic strips, whether it be John Constantine or The Simpsons or, in the case of today's movie under review, Dick Tracy. I mean, creator Chester Gould firmly places himself in the long if low tradition of using funny names, naming scientists A. Tomic and I. M. Learned and a taxidermist Y. Stuffem.
Indeed, this 1947 movie calls to mind the action serial with its standard incompetent sidekick (Pat Patton, played by Lyle Latell) and goofy-looking and acting villain (X-Ray, played by Skelton Knaggs). More action movie than hard-boiled noir, it features the gun play and car chases of crime thrillers and the silly effects of old science fiction movies. A gang of criminals abuses a chemist's formula for a nerve gas that temporarily paralyzes anyone unlucky enough to breathe it. Instead of slumping to the floor in a faint, the victims go into a state of suspended animation. One guy freezes while opening his suit coat, another is caught in mid-sneeze. My inner seven-year-old felt mild amusement at such antics, though he did wonder why when they came out of their state after 12 minutes, no physical side effects were apparent, nor did they notice that they experienced missing time.
Boris Karloff puts in a fine performance as antagonist, Gruesome. He keeps his face flat, delivering cruel expressions with his eyes and mouth. He also does odd things with his voice, giving vicious ultimatums and sarcastic cracks tonelessly, which somehow has hints of culture and breeding, as if he were an English Duke's highly educated son gone decidedly off the rails simply because evil-doing was simply more amusing and whole lot unlike work. As usual, he uses his body too. He seems imposing, lumbering with a ex-convict's flabby softness but with a ramrod-straight spine, but he bounds through the sets with speed and agility.
Can Guru | Brisbane, Australia | 02/02/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Boris Karloff certainly looks the part as the recently released convict named Gruesome. The nerve gas story is corny as is the bank robbery scene especially when one bloke is frozen just as he is about to sneeze. Ralph Byrd returns as Dick Tracy and he later starred in the early 50's TV series. People who are familiar with the B movies of the 1940's will recognise character actors Milton Parsons and Skelton Knaggs as a professor and his assistant respectively. If you feel like going on a nostalgia trip watch this."
Boris Karloff Is The Main Attraction
Peter Kenney | Birmingham, Alabama, USA | 05/04/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In DICK TRACY MEETS GRUESOME the famous detective is able to trick Gruesome by placing a false story in the newspapers about another criminal who is going to squeal on Gruesome. Boris Karloff plays the part of Gruesome and he dominates the movie. Ralph Byrd has the role of Dick Tracy and Anne Gwynne is Tess Truehart.The film was a big success for a "B" movie in both the United States and in Great Britain."