|Pop Culture Gadabout|
Saturday, July 25, 2009 |
( 7/25/2009 08:28:00 AM ) Bill S.
SPLITFACE: Recently, TCM ran the four "Dick Tracy" B-movies produced by RKO in the 1940's, followed by Warren Beatty's big-budget misfire released in 1990. Watched the first 'un, simply titled Dick Tracy, this a.m. and found it be a decent little matinee time-passer: truer to the look of the black-and-white dailies than Beatty's weirdly colored Touchstone production managed with the Sunday "Tracy"s. Director William Berke makes maximum use of flat backgrounds and shadows to recreate the look of the strip. Actor Morgan Conway plays Tracy with more of a wink than perhaps is appropriate, though venerable movie thug Mike Mazurki plays the movie's nemesis Splitface (so named because of a deep facial scar) effectively.
The movie's plot (which requires us to believe that one of Splitface's potential victims doesn't remember the guy threatened to kill him until late in the picture) is pretty contrived, but no more so than many of Gould's daily strip adventures. Only place where it truly falls down is in the way it dispatches its bad guy. The original strip was known for its inventive mistreatment of its villains -- so much so that Al Capp would parody this tendency in his "Fearless Fosdick" strips -- but the only thing that happens to the murderous Splitface is his arrest and cuffing at the hands of comic relief Pat Patton. Bet there were a lotta disappointed bloodthirsty kids in the matinee audience when this first ran in the movie houses.
Labels: psychotronic psinema# |