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RALPH BYRD AND BORIS KARLOFF IN 'DICK TRACY MEETS GRUESOME'

Title: DICK TRACY MEETS GRUESOME Year: 1947 Rating: **1/2

Despite the legendary Boris Karloff playing Gruesome, this is the last and weakest of the RKO four-picture series... mainly because it goes for physical comedy over dark noir-like aesthetic and frightful violence: the story taking place mostly in the daylight without the same amount of eerie shadow-play of its predecessors...

The silliness mainly derives from the weapon that Gruesome and his haphazard two-man posse (compared to effectively creepy inventor Skelton Knaggs)  use: gas pellets that freeze bank customers as the gang moves in...

Boris Karloff and Lyle Latell in DICK TRACY MEETS GRUESOME

Meanwhile Tess Trueheart, safe in a phone booth, witnesses everything... and when Tracy shows up, and the customers come out of their frozen comas, it's not only corny but the comedic scene lasts too long...

Overall Karloff's a one-note (Frankenstein-parody) villain that takes the franchise out with a whimper, far too aware of itself... at one point Lyle Latell's faithful lawman/sidekick Pat (cast in all four features) tells Tracy that Gruesome resembles... Boris Karlof! Thankfully, past heavies Dick Wessel, Mike Mazurki and Jack Lambert weren't that famous.

Boris Karloff and Skelton Knaggs in DICK TRACY MEETS GRUESOME
Ralph Byrd  in DICK TRACY MEETS GRUESOME
Boris Karloff and Tony Barrett in DICK TRACY MEETS GRUESOME
Anne Gwynne in DICK TRACY MEETS GRUESOME
Anne Gwynne and Ralph Byrd in DICK TRACY MEETS GRUESOME
From DICK TRACY MEETS GRUESOME
Boris Karloff in DICK TRACY MEETS GRUESOME
Boris Karloff in DICK TRACY MEETS GRUESOME

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