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Dick Tracy Returns

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Film series  Dick Tracy
Language  English
7.4/10 IMDb

Genre  Action, Romance
Country  United States
Dick Tracy Returns movie poster
Director  William Witney John English
Writer  Franklin Adreon, Ronald Davidson, Barry Shipman, Sol Shor, Rex taylor, Chester Gould
Release date  USA 20 August 1938 USA 17 July 1948 (re-release)
Directors  William Witney, John English
Screenplay  Franklin Adreon, Ronald Davidson, Rex Taylor, Sol Shor, Barry Shipman
Cast  Ralph Byrd (Dick Tracy), Lynne Roberts (Gwen Andrews), Charles Middleton (Pa Stark), Jerry Tucker (Junior), David Sharpe (Agent Ron Merton), Lee Ford (Mike McGurk)
Similar movies  The Green Archer, Hitman: Agent 47, Watchmen, Zorro Rides Again, Zorro's Fighting Legion, Mysterious Doctor Satan
Tagline  G-MEN VS. GUNMEN in an ALL-NEW thrill-packed series of adventures...with DICK TRACY...the greatest G-Man of them all leading the chase

1938 dick tracy returns movie edit

Dick Tracy Returns (1938) is a Republic Movie serial based on the Dick Tracy comic strip. It was the eleventh of the sixty six serials Republic produced and a sequel to the 1937 serial Dick Tracy, with Ralph Byrd reprising his role as the title character. It was successful enough that two further sequels were released, in 1939 and 1941, and Byrd become so connected with the character he went on the play him in a subsequent television series.


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This serial charts Tracy's efforts to capture the Stark Gang of Pa Stark (Charles Middleton).

Dick Tracy Returns 1938 Dick Tracy Returns Movie Edit YouTube

Dick tracy returns chapter 1 1938 serial


Dick Tracy Returns Dick Tracy Returns Ep 1 Dispatches

Tracy and his group must battle saboteurs and spies in his effort to bring down the Stark gang, a major crime family syndicate led by the vicious and brutal Pa Stark...


Dick Tracy Returns Dick Tracy Returns Shadow Cabaret
  • Ralph Byrd as Dick Tracy
  • Lynne Roberts as Gwen Andrews
  • Charles Middleton as Pa Stark. Pa Stark was based on the real criminal Ma Barker.
  • Jerry Tucker as Junior
  • David Sharpe as Agent Ron Merton, a newly trained agent.
  • Lee Ford as Mike McGurk
  • Michael Kent as Agent Steve Lockwood
  • John Merton as Champ Stark
  • Raphael Bennett as Trigger Stark
  • Jack Roberts as Dude Stark
  • Ned Glass as Kid Stark
  • Jack Ingram as Slasher Stark
  • Production

    Dick Tracy Returns Dick Tracy Returns Ep 2 3 Dispatches

    Dick Tracy Returns was budgeted at $156,991 although the final negative cost was $170,940 (a $13,949, or 8.9%, overspend). It was the most expensive Republic serial of 1938 and the most expensive Republic serial until The Lone Ranger Rides Again in 1939. It was the second most expensive of the four Dick Tracy serials (the most expensive was the last, Dick Tracy vs Crime Inc at $175,919).

    Dick Tracy Returns Dick Tracy Returns Shadow Cabaret

    It was filmed between 10 June and 18 July 1938 under the working title Return of Dick Tracy. The serial's production number was 791.

    As with the other three serials in the Republic series, Tracy is depicted as a West Coast FBI agent rather than as the local police detective for a large Midwestern city he is in the original comic strip.

    This serial, like all the sequels to the original 1937 Dick Tracy serial, was permitted by an interpretation of the original contract, which allowed a "series or serial". Therefore, Chester Gould was not paid again for the right to produce this serial.

    Special effects

    The special effects were created by Republic's in-house team, the Lydecker brothers


  • Earle D. Bunn
  • Yakima Canutt
  • George DeNormand as Dick Tracy (doubling Ralph Byrd)
  • Duke Green
  • George Magrill
  • Eddie Parker
  • Allen Pomeroy
  • Loren Riebe
  • Ted Wells
  • Bud Wolfe
  • Theatrical

    Dick Tracy Returns' official release date is 20 August 1938, although this is actually the date the seventh chapter was made available to film exchanges.

    The serial was re-released on 17 July 1948 between the first runs of Dangers of the Canadian Mounted and Adventures of Frank and Jesse James.

    Critical reception

    Cline states that the Dick Tracy serials were "unexcelled in the action field," adding that "in any listing of serials released after 1930, the four Dick Tracy adventures from Republic must stand out as classics of the suspense detective thrillers, and the models for many others to follow."

    Chapter titles

    1. The Sky Wreckers (29min 51s)
    2. The Runway of Death (16min 34s)
    3. Handcuffed to Doom (16min 20s)
    4. Four Seconds to Live (15min 39s)
    5. Death in the Air (16min 35s)
    6. Stolen Secrets (15min 23s)
    7. Tower of Death (14min 34s)
    8. Cargo of Destruction (16min 12s)
    9. The Clock of Doom (16min 4s) - a re-cap chapter
    10. High Voltage (16min 15s)
    11. The Kidnapped Witness/The Missing Witness (15min 45s)
    12. The Runaway Torpedo (15min 33s)
    13. Passengers to Doom (16min 19s) - a re-cap chapter
    14. In the Hands of the Enemy (16min 30s)
    15. G-Men's Drag-Net (16min 24s)


    Note: This was one of two 15-chapter Republic serials of 1938 (with The Lone Ranger). The other two were only 12 chapters long.


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