Dick Tracy meets Gruesome..an RKO radio picture preduction..1947
All eyes are on the villains in this film (an unusually cool Boris Karloff as Gruesome, and craggy faced Skelton Knaggs as X-Ray) who are far more captivating than the heroes Dick Tracy, Tess Truehart et al. This is a little different from some B-movies, in which everyone is dull as dishwater. Ralph Byrd played Dick Tracy for much of his career but frankly, I just didn't think he had the jaw OR the nose for the part! Playing a blandly assuaging type, he parades around with a smirk for many scenes, poking fun at the Irishness of Pat Pattin, Plainclothesman (who swears he hasn't had a single beer since he started the job). Anyway, Gruesome stumbles across nerve gas which he and dive-bar pianist Melody use to rob a bank, killing a guard while making their hasty exit. All the scenes with the veteran character actors move swiftly, but the story sags when it gets to Tracy. In one spot, he alternately whines and threatens a woman who is an unwitting accomplice in the crime. Nice tactics, Dick! Well, at least this one didn't have a lot of rubber prosthetics flapping off of Al Pacino's mug!