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RALPH BYRD WITH JACK LAMBERT IN 'DICK TRACY'S DILEMMA'

Title: DICK TRACY'S DILEMMA Year: 1947 Rating: ****

It's true that comic book heroes are only as good as the villains, even way back in the 1940's with the Dick Tracy films, where this the third and penultimate by RKO, and the second with returning star Ralph Byrd... and is where Jack Lambert's Claw not only steals the picture, but is pretty much everything...

The longest, most suspenseful scene... combining dark film-noir aesthetic and impending horror-genre doom... takes up almost half the picture as Lambert's eerie, limping heavy... with a hunched gait and hiding his clawed-hand in a seedy jacket until revealing it before he kills... hunts down a mousy, fake-blind beggar named Sightless...

Jack Lambert in DICK TRACY'S DILEMMA

After which, while Byrd's somewhat passively on the case of a fur heist, Lambert... even more dilapidated after getting beaten up... makes a more sinister foe, even going after his own henchman...

And by the time it's the inevitable face-off with the hero, DICK TRACY'S DILEMMA felt like the continuous plight of a formidable killer played by a busy noir-baddie... in a franchise not considered noir yet with all the shadowy attributes intact, and then some.

Ralph Byrd in DICK TRACY'S DILEMMA
Jack Lambert in DICK TRACY'S DILEMMA
Jack Lambert in DICK TRACY'S DILEMMA
Jack Lambert in DICK TRACY'S DILEMMA
A hunted Jimmy Conlin in DICK TRACY'S DILEMMA
Ralph Byrd in DICK TRACY'S DILEMMA

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