This is the first of four Dick Tracy films made in the 1940’s, this one being released in 1945.
It is described as a film noir pulp action film on Wikipedia, and it is also very decidedly a B-grade flick. It features a chap named Morgan Conway as the titular detective, who does not really look like the comic strip version of Dick Tracy, but is at least rather tall and played Dick Tracy in a suave and confident manner.
Like most detective films of the time it is a procedural with Dick sniffing out clues, following hunches, having the occasional fisticuffs, and balancing all of this with his demanding girlfriend who constantly wants to go out for dinner. He didn’t seem to have a heater on him, so no shootouts at all. He also has a young adopted son who is an aspiring flatfoot, and gets in on the action to help catch the dastardly maniac slasher “Splitface”.
Splitface is played by a familiar face, Mike Mazurki who you may remember from films such as Comanche, Some Like It Hot, or Dick Tracy (1990) . Here he is in his underpants…
The story has plenty of twists and turns, but is pretty standard stuff. The acting at times is abysmal, especially the actor that plays the mayor, he was very amateur. The rest of the cast were adequate. One actor who played an undertaker named Deathridge looked familiar, and was perfect for the part. And like Mike Marzurki, had a long and busy career. Morgan Conway on the other had did not last much longer in Hollywood, he was basically spat out, poor guy.
The only actor from the cast still alive (apart from the boy) is Anne Jeffreys as the girlfriend. She played David Hasslehoff’s mother in Baywatch… props to her. Here is the only photo I could find of Anne and The Hoff together online…
“Careful with those fingernails, Ma!”
This is not essential watching at all, but at only 61 minutes long it is worth watching if only for the fact that it is Dick Tracy. I will see how the next film in the series, “Dick Tracy vs. Cueball” compares.
Date watched: January 10th
Film count 2017: 8