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Dick Tracy vs Cueball

USA 1946
produced by
Sid Rogell, Herman Schlom (executive) for RKO
directed by Gordon Douglas
starring Morgan Conway, Dick Wessel, Anne Jeffreys, Rita Corday, Byron Foulger, Lyle Latell, Douglas Walton, Esther Howard, Ian Keith, Joseph Crehan, Milton Parsons, Skelton Knaggs, Trevor Bardette, Harry Cheshire, Jimmy Crane, Jimmy Clemons, Phil Warren
screenplay by Robert E.Kent, Dane Lussier, based on a story by Luci Ward & the comic strip by Chester Gould

Dick Tracy, Dick Tracy (Morgan Conway), RKO's Dick Tracy

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Jewel importer Abbott (Trevor Bardette) is supposed to deliver a priceless gem to his employer Sparkle (Harry Cheshire), but instead he is killed by a thug (Dick Wessel) called Cueball (guess why - because he's bald), & the gem is stolen.

Dick Tracy (Morgan Conway) immediately figures that someone from Sparkle's company must be behind it, & immediately suspects Sparkle's secretary Mona Clyde (Rita Corday) & his diamond cutter Simon Little (Byron Foulger), whom Dick & his partner Pat Patton (Lyle Latell) immediately start following around ... & of course Dick is right, too, as the pair of them are in cahoots with antiques dealer Priceless (Douglas Walton), who has the right contacts to sell the stone. However, despite Tracy's & Patton's best efforts, any hard evidence fails to show up & Cueball stays elusive ...

But then Priceless tries to pull a fast one on Cueball, who is far less naive than he looks, & later Cueball's landlady Filthy Flora (Esther Howard) tries to steal the stone ... Cueball strangles both of them in cold blood ... but through the hatband he has strangled them with, Dick can at long last find out Cueball's identity - but not his whereabouts.

So Dick has to retreat to one of these typical B-crimethriller-plans to get hold of Cueball, & Mona Clyde & Simon Little too ... he has his girlfriend Tess (Anne Jeffreys) disguise as a society lady & try to buy some priceless gem or the other from Sparkle, but leave unsatisfied ... all in earlength from Mona, who then tries to sell the diamond she has to her ... it sould all have been so perfect, wouldn't Cueball have had other ideas ... he kills Little & snatches Tess from right under Dick tracy's nose, & - believing her pretense that she wants to buy the diamond - tries to make the deal on his own ... only at the very last moment can Dick find out where Tess & cueball are, save her (Cueball has already started strangling her) & chase Cueball across some railroad tracks, until Cueball (another B-thriller mainstay) catches his foot in a switch & is neatly run over by a train.

 

Despite some nice elements (like the brutish thug who strangles with a hatband & stays on top of the game almost till the very end), this is a rather boring crimethriller, & Morgan Conway in his second & last appearance as Dick Tracy again fails to bring any kind of charisma to the story's hero.

The main heavy (Dick Wessel as Cueball) & some supporting players (like Esther howard as dishonest landlady, Ian Keith as eccentric Englishman) do give solid performances though to sve the film from total failure.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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starring
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