Dick Tracy vs Crime Inc. (1941)

Article #1056 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-4-2004
Posting Date: 7-3-2004
Directed by John English and William Witney
Featuring Ralph Byrd, Michael Owen, Jan Wiley

Dick Tracy tries to discover the identity of a criminal called The Ghost who is doing away with members of a city crime council.

There are four Dick Tracy serials in this series; I’ve covered the first two (DICK TRACY, DICK TRACY RETURNS) but have yet to see the third. This, the fourth, dispenses with Mike McGurk and Junior, and you know, I don’t miss them a bit. For one thing, the villain in this one has the power to turn invisible, giving the movie a much stronger science fiction element, and also giving Tracy his most interesting foe. The opening cliffhanger is a doozy, but I would expect that of any cliffhanger that borrowed footage from DELUGE. In fact, there seems to be quite a bit of borrowed footage; several of the action sequences seem awfully familiar, and there are some recognizable moments from the other Tracy serials. Still, I’d rather have it do that than borrow footage from itself for one of those “remember-when-we-started-on-this-case” reminiscences that pop up in these serials occasionally. Incidentally, I thought episode six did an exemplary job of pacing its non-stop action, and the final fight scene is done in negative photography, which makes it a lot of fun. I definitely prefer this to the two others that I’ve seen of the series.

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