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Dick Tracy RKO Classic Collection: Dick Tracy Detective; Dick Tracy vs. Cueball, Dick Tracy's Dilemma & Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The comic-strip crimefighter Dick Tracy, created by Chester Gould, was part of the Saturday matinee serials, starring Ralph Byrd. In 1945, RKO revived the Tracy series, and Morgan Conway was chosen to portray Tracy in a pair of feature films: Dick Tracy and Dick Tracy vs. Cueball. RKO's earliest publicity photos posed Conway in profile, hoping to imitate Gould's square-jawed caricatures. Although Conway s screen Tracy didn't resemble the print Tracy in the flesh, Conway's dramatic interpretation was faithful; he gave the role a humble, businesslike quality while keeping with police procedure. Morgan Conway is considered by many to be the best on screen Dick Tracy. Although Conway's Tracy was praised by critics as the closest to Gould's original concept, the public seemed to prefer Byrd, who returned in the role for the final two RKO features. To them, Ralph Byrd was Dick Tracy. RKO accepted this and hired Byrd to finish the series. Dick Tracy's Dilemma and Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome. Boris Karloff spices up the final RKO feature as the fearsome bad guy known as Gruesome. All four movies had many of the visual features associated with film noir: dramatic, shadowy photographic compositions, with many exterior scenes filmed at night. In addition, RKO stocked the films with familiar faces, creating a true rogues' gallery of characters. Max Allan Collins -- who took over the writing of the TRACY strip from Chester Gould, and went on to create ROAD TO PERDITION -- provides informative on-screen introductions to each film, exclusive to this VCI release. Bonus Features Scene Selection, Chapter 1 of Dick Tracy Returns serial, Chapter 1 of Dick Tracy's G-Men serial, Photo Gallery - RKO Lobby Cards, Intros by Max Allan Collins, Trailers, Adlets Product Specs 2-DVD9s; Dolby Digital; 250 minutes; B&W; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA NR; Year 1945, 1946 & 1947; SRP - $14.99.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Morgan Conway, Ralph Byrd, Anne Jeffreys, Mike Mazurki, Lyle Latell
  • Directors: William Berke, Gordon Douglas, John Rawlins
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: VCI Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 24, 2008
  • Run Time: 250 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0018AB802
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,753 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Lasiuta on November 24, 2010
The RKO Dick Tracy collection is remarkable.

Consisting of four films, Dick Tracy Detective, Dick Tracy Vs Cueball, Dick Tracy's Dilemna, and Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome, each production is digitally restored up to exacting standards. The tones are rich and deep, the soundtrack is clean and clear of any distractions. Even the Max Allan Collins introduction is far better than most I have seen, mind you Mr Collins has a vested interest in the detective.

To the films. As a younger viewer, I saw them first during university when a Seattle station presented two hours of classic noir/cliffhangers 5 days a week.I lost sleep, but it was worth it. I was hooked and part of the reason is Mr Conway and these for films. Detective is titilating, but my favorite film is Gruesome with Boris Karloff. It must be the villain in that film.

Special features include two sample chapters, a RKO lobby card gallery, film trailers, and of course, Mr Collins himself.

Viewed from this side of the 1940's, the comic strip/cameo introduction smacks true with many of today's comic book inspired productions.
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These are the 4 movies made in the 40s by RKO studios. The first two star Morgan Conway who does a good job being Tracy he just does not look the part. Dick Tracy the movie was a good attempt to make a noir story with Dick the hero. Solid B movie all the way. Next was DT vs Cueball story lacked some punch but the criminal was a good creation and would have fit in with the original comic strip.
Next up was Ralph Byrd who protrayed Tracy in 4 serials earlier in his career. He not only acts the part but also looks it with his wide strong jaw and solid build he was definitely more than any other actor to look the role and was the closest to acting the most like Tracey. His movies were Dick Tracy's Dilemma and DT meets Gruesome which stars Boris Karloff as Gruesome. The movies were more B than the first two but still worth a look and definite good time fillers.
Karloff always lifts a movie up from the mundane to make it a good viewing enjoyable time. The four movies are fun and at a reasonable price. The films are presented here by VCI and are a solid fun set that look fine and have good sound. I do not have a complaint of any film I have purchased from VCI they do a really fine job at presenting the forgotten films of long ago.
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These films have been kicking around for years. Many of the prints have been fair to horrible. VCI does an excellent job with this box set. All 4 films look like their struck from 35mm elements, and look beautiful. They even have the RKO logo!
If you love thses Dick Tracy films as I do, get the VCI Box Set ASAP before it's gone.
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I'm finding I enjoy the old serials (and when I mean old, I mean ones produced c. 1940) and they are a great way to enjoy something on tv w/my 5 year old. However, the Dick Tracy movies are ones to hold back for the little ones. They *are* film noir, the fight scenes serious, murders are abundant. This is some gritty realism here, along with great lighting and night scenes.

For adults, great viewing. I loved Boris Karloff as Gruesome in the final film. As for the two actors in the role of Dick Tracy, I liked Conway Morgan's style and treatment of the character, but RKO went with Ralph Byrd for the last two films, perhaps because he had done the role for the earlier DT serials and was well-liked by audiences. I really liked the child actor who was DT's son in the first film, not too impressed with the talent for that role beyond that.

Great stuff, definitely PG-13.
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You get four movies with this set.
The picture quality for each is great considering how old they are.
Dick Tracy Detective and vs Cueball feature Morgan Conway.
Dick Tracy's Dilemma and Dick Tracy meets Gruesome feature the more popular Ralph Byrd.
All four films are great and have a great balance of action and criminal detective work.
I recommend these to fans like myself who enjoy vintage cops and robbers type films.
These are well filmed, great camera angles and capture the magic of Film Noir.
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Dick Tracy RKO Classic Collection is on a two disc DVD set and is four hours and eight minutes long. The collection has all four Dick Tracy movies released by RKO Pictures. RKO did not use any of the villains from the comic strip and instead went with their own villains. Each movie is given a brief history by former Dick Tracy writer Max Allan Collins. Below is the list of the movies in the order that they appear.

Dick Tracy, Detective is one hour and one minute long and was released in theaters on December 1, 1945. Morgan Conway is the second person to portray the famous detective. In this movie the killer goes by the name of Splitface; who is not an original Dick Tracy comic strip character. Splitface is killing the jurors who sent him prison. It is up to Dick Tracy to find and to rescue Junior and Tess Trueheart from Splitface. In this B movie, Pat Patton is portrayed as a smart and not a helpless sidekick to Dick Tracy. The movie version stays true to the comic strip.

Dick Tracy vs. Cueball is one hour and two minutes and was released in theaters on December 18, 1946. This is the second of four Dick Tracy movies release through RKO studios. Harry "Cueball" Lake has just been released from prison and is being paid to steal uncut diamonds. Cueball kills Lester Abbott the guy who has the diamonds. A quick note; Trevor Bardette who played Professor Starling in the first Dick Tracy makes a cameo appearance as the doomed Lester Abbott. Cueball goes into hiding until he gets his money for the diamonds. Cueball kills Percival Priceless because he believes that he brought the cops in on this and Cueball also kills Filthy Flora for trying to steal his diamonds. Cueball eventually meets his death on the railroad tracks.
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