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Dick Tracys G Men

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First episode date
September 2, 1939


United States


Action, Mystery, Crime

Film series
Dick Tracy


Dick Tracys G Men movie poster

William Witney John English

Franklin Adreon
Ronald Davidson
Barry Shipman
Sol Shor
Chester Gould

Release date
USA 2 September 1939 USA19 September 1955 (re-release)

William Witney, John English

Ralph Byrd
(Dick Tracy),
Irving Pichel
(Nicolas Zarnoff),
Ted Pearson
(Agent Steve Lockwood),
Walter Miller
(Henchman Robal),
George Douglas
(Henchman Sandoval),
Kenneth Harlan
(FBI Chief Clive Anderson [Chs. 13-15])

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Dick Tracy's G-Men (1939) is a 15-Chapter Republic Movie Serial based on the Dick Tracy comic strip by Chester Gould. It was directed by William Witney and John English.


Dick Tracy's G-Men 1939 Dick Tracys GMen Movie Edit YouTube

This serial was the fifteenth of the sixty-six produced by Republic and the third Dick Tracy serial (there would be one more, Dick Tracy vs Crime Inc, in 1941). As with all four Dick Tracy serials, Ralph Byrd plays the lead. This time he faces Irving Pichel as the spy with a vendetta, Zarnoff. Future Academy Award winner Jennifer Jones co-stars as Gwen Andrews.

"G-Man" is a contemporary slang term for an agent of the FBI. In the comic strip, Dick Tracy is actually a detective in the police force of an unnamed Midwestern city resembling Chicago. This was changed for the serial.


International spy, Zarnoff, in the employ of "The Three Powers" (presumably a fictionalized reference to the Axis) is captured by Dick Tracy at the start of the serial, tried and sentenced to death. However, through the use of a rare drug embedded by his agents in the evening newspaper, he escapes from the gas chamber. His men pick up his "corpse" by ambushing the hearse and administering another counter-drug. He continues his espionage plans, while taking the opportunity of revenge on Tracy.


  • Ralph Byrd as Dick Tracy
  • Irving Pichel as Nicolas Zarnoff
  • Ted Pearson as Agent Steve Lockwood
  • Phyllis Isley as Gwen Andrews. Phyllis Isley went on to win an Academy Award for best actress four years later in 1943 for The Song of Bernadette, under the screen name Jennifer Jones.
  • Walter Miller as Robal, one of Zarnoff's henchmen. This was Walter Miller's last serial, he died shortly afterwards.
  • George Douglas as Sandoval, one of Zarnoff's henchmen
  • Production

    Dick Tracy's G-Men was budgeted at $159,876 although the final negative cost was $163,530 (a $3,654, or 2.3%, overspend). Although the previous serial, Daredevils of the Red Circle, came in under budget that was an exception to the rule. Most Republic serials were slightly overbudget and this one was not significantly so in comparison.

    It was filmed between 17 June and 27 July 1939 under the working title Dick Tracy and his G-Men. The serial's production number was 896.

    This serial, like all the sequels to the 1937 original 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.


    Dick Tracy's G-Men's official release date is 2 September 1939, although this is actually the date the seventh chapter was made available to film exchanges.

    The serial was re-released on 19 September 1955 following the release of Republic's final serial, King of the Carnival. Dick Tracy's G-Men began a series of re-releases that accounted for all of Republic's remaining serial releases, finishing with a re-release of Zorro's Fighting Legion in March 1958.

    Critical reception

    Movie serial historian William C. 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 Master Spy (29min 55s)
    2. Captured (16min 42s)
    3. The False Signal (16min 38s)
    4. The Enemy Strikes (16min 44s)
    5. Crack-up! (16min 39s)
    6. Sunken Peril (16min 39s)
    7. Tracking the Enemy (16min 40s)
    8. Chamber of Doom (16min 41s)
    9. Flames of Jeopardy (16min 37s)
    10. Crackling Fury (16min 40s)
    11. Caverns of Peril (16min 39s)
    12. Fight in the Sky (16min 39s)
    13. The Fatal Ride (16min 40s) - a re-cap chapter
    14. Getaway (16min 38s)
    15. The Last Stand (16min 41s)



    Dick Tracy's G-Men Wikipedia
    Dick Tracys G-Men IMDb Dick Tracys G Men