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Dick Tracy - 75th Anniversary Edition Original Serial

4.4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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75th Anniversary Edition
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Editorial Reviews

Based on the famous cartoon strip by Chester Gould, this was the initial entry of the Dick Tracy serials from Republic Pictures in 1937. In this super thriller, a clubfooted criminal known only as the "Lame One" masterminds a war on G-men. One of his villainous plans is to destroy the new Bay Bridge by bombarding it with high-frequency sound waves from his stratospheric aircraft, "The Wing". In the meantime, Dick Tracy s brother is kidnapped and forced to aid the notorious Lame One, who turns out to be...? This serial features 15 chapters of fistfights, car chases and aerial stunts, as only Republic Pictures could stage them. Bonus Features: New Special Video Introduction by Max Allan Collins (Writer of the Dick Tracy comic strip for 15 years after Chester Gould s retirement), Commentary by Max Allan Collins (plays only during Chapter 1 &2), Photo Gallery, "Dick Tracy in B-Flat" a special Armed Forces radio program broadcast in 1945, featuring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and many others, Rare Episode from the 1950 TV Series Product Specs: 2-DVD9s; Dolby Digital 2.0; English Language; English Subtitles; RT - 290 minutes; MPAA - NR; B&W; Aspect Ratio - 1.33:1 / 4x3; Year - 1937; SRP - $19.99

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Ralph Byrd, Kay Hughes, Smiley Burnette, Lee Van Atta, John Picorri
  • Directors: Ray Taylor, Alan James
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: VCI Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 6, 2012
  • Run Time: 290 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0091WYUYA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,202 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a great treat for Dick Tracy fans. Before television we had to go to the Saturday morning movie matinees to see our action heros.
Cartoonist Chester Gould created this action hero in the early 1930's and by the middle 30's the FBI and gangsters were in all the newspaper & radio headlines. So Gould countered with Dick Tracy G-man (in the movie serials) & Dick Tracy cop hero in the comic strip.
The "Dick Tracy" (1937) Republic Pictures 15 episode action serial launched Ralph Byrds career as the super crime solving G-man/Sherlock Holmes sleuth. The movie version was always the international view while the comic strip was the local city crime storyline.
Thanks to VCI Entertainment for a great restoration job & super loaded 2 DVD package.
This 15 episode action packed serial is over 290 mins long and is presented with great picture & sound.
Extra features include: a background Commentary by famous Dick Tracy writer Max Allan Collins who penned the comic strip for 15 years after Goulds retirement. Special photo montage & Photo Gallery. Bonus 1945 Radio Show: Dick Tracy in B-Flat - a musical rendition of Dick Tracy with the voice of Bing Crosby as Tracy, Dinah Shore as Tesh Trueheart, Bob Hope as Flathead and many more big radio stars of the 40's. This is fun stuff.
Summary: Action serials are always more about the action packed journey & how our hero escapes the bad guys at the cliff hanging ending chapters than the actual story. We need to have a thrill filled 20 minutes each week and then painfully wait until next week for the continuing saga to take us to more excitement until the finale on chapter/week 15.
Dick Tracy delivers all we expect in an action hero and this being one of the first serials gives us a taste of the world of 1937. Enjoy.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
There are lots of familiar faces in this one, such as Smiley Brunette, Lee Van Atta, Carleton Young (who was Ellery Queen on radio), Francis X. Bushman. But part of the charm of this serial comes from the sprinkling of rather bizarre characters such as the clown, the demented scientist, the miner, and of course the principal bad guy, the Lame One.
Anyone who has seen FIGHTING DEVIL DOGS will notice lots of similarities and for this reason, I suggest getting DICK TRACY first. The other serial used a lot of footage from this one. The flying wing, the hunchback scientist, Carleton Young, the crushing ship chapter ending are all in the later serial.
Ralph Byrd is the definitive Dick Tracy. I didn't remember his being a G man, but the serial does predate my acquaintance with the comic strip.
All in all, this is definitely one of the better serials. As an earlier Republic serial, you won't see as much stunt action, choreographed fights and telegraphed chapter endings as in the later ones, but the elements are still there. This is one of the times I wish there was a 4 and a half star designation.
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Format: DVD
IF YOU ARE A SERIAL FAN... THEN THIS IS A GREAT DVD FOR YOU. THERE ARE ENOUGH CLIFF-HANGERS TO SATISIFY ANY BUFF AND IT IS WONDERFUL TO SEE THESE OLD MOVIES MAKING A COMEBACK ON DVD. MARENGO FILMS HAS DONE A GREAT JOB OF RESTORING THIS OLD FILM THE VIDEO PORTION IS NEARLY PERFECT AND THE SOUND QUALITY IS EXCELLENT... I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE WHO LOVES SERIALS.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Dick Tracy" is a 15-chapter Republic serial, the first of four based on Chester Gould's comic strip with Ralph Byrd in the title role, released in February of 1937. The story was written by Morgan Cox and George Morgan, with screenplay by Barry Shipman and Winston Miller. Unlike the others it was directed by Ray Taylor and Alan James.

Republic's writers made a number of changes from the comic strip, with Dick Tracy as an FBI agent. In this serial he is on the trail of the Spider Ring, a gang led by a mysterious criminal known as "The Lame One." The FBI becomes involved due to a series of murders of disloyal associates of The Lame One, each marked with the image of a spider. The gang has also abducted Tracy's brother Gordon (Richard Beach), attorney for one of the murder victims. The Spider Ring's scientific aide, Moloch (John Piccori) performs an operation on Gordon's brain which erases his memory and renders him unable to tell good from evil, making him subject to The Lame One's will, and altering his appearance (to Carleton Young) so even his brother will be unable to recognise him.

This is my favorite of the four Dick Tracy serials for its darker atmosphere, weird villains and science-fiction elements, though it lacks the polish of the later Republic serials with their better-choreographed fist fights, pulse-pounding music and elaborate if sometimes far-fetched cliffhangers. While some of the dialogue is awkwardly written, the story is presented well, the acting is generally good and having Dick Tracy unaware that he is in conflict with his own brother provides a better mystery than the usual question of the chief villain's identity.
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By A Customer on June 20, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Ralph Byrd defined the role of America's favorite G-Man by playing Dick tracy in over 10 films and a television series. Dick Tracy (Republic, 1937) was his first foray into the role that became his. The Lame One, head of the Spider Ring is attempting to take over North America, but first he must get rid of Dick tracy. The Lame One has captured Gordon, Dick's brother and through a Brain surgery has made him his slave. The Lame One and Co. navigate the skies using the Flying Wing, a miniture version of the Stealth Bomber (later re-used in the Fighting Devil Dogs). Dick and his G-Men must foil the Spdier Ring's attempts throguh 15, 20 minute chapters of pulse pounding excitement
Solid Gold for a classic film lover!
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