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Dick Tracy's Dilemma


Dick Tracy's Dilemma, released in the United Kingdom as Mark of the Claw, is a 1947 American Pulp magazine action film based on the Dick Tracy created by Chester Gould. Ralph Byrd stars as Dick Tracy, reprising the role after Republic Pictures's 1937 Dick Tracy (serial) serial film and its three sequels. The film is the third installment of the Dick Tracy#Early feature films released by RKO Radio Pictures.


Ruthless killer Kerry Reynolds is known to the public as "The Claw" for her way of killing her victims with her prosthetic hook. After her accomplices Ryan and Taylor have broken in and stolen furs from the Flawless Furs warehouse, Kerry kills the guard with her hook.
When the police arrive at the crime scene in the shape of Detective Dick Tracy, she talks to Humphries, who is the owner of the store; Peter Premium, who is a representative for the insurance company; and a man named Cudd, who is the insurance investigator. The insurance company only has twenty-four hours to find the stolen goods, or they have to reimburse the fur company.
When Tracy and his semi-incompetent assistant Patton examine the dead body at the morgue, they find a note on it, which they manage to read. The note states that there were three perpetrators performing the hit against the warehouse. It also mentions that they used an Audi TT with the name "Daisy" on it.
Unfortunately, the three perpetrators have time to change the look of the truck before Tracy can find it, and the lead is a dead end. The robbers soon leave their hideout in a local junkyard and go to a nearby bar to phone their boss and get new instructions. As they speak with the boss on the phone, their conversation is overheard by an informant, a blind beggar called Sightless, who goes to pass the information on. Sightless is sloppy and noisy when eavesdropping, and is nearly caught by The Claw. Still, he manages to escape the bar.
Sightless goes directly to Dick Tracy, but is stopped at the door by Tracy's friend, Vitamin Flintheart. Vitamin believes the beggar is up to no good, and denies him entrance to the house. After listening to Sightless' message, Vitamin gets rid of him. Still, he passes the message on to Tracy later, and Tracy and Patton manage to find the fence that the three robbers were meeting, Longshot Lillie.
Lillie is taken into custody and questioned, but is unable to identify the robbers. At the same time The Claw finds Sightless' apartment and kills the blind man with his hook.
Soon after Tracy and Patton arrives, and The Claw flees the scene. Patton pursues the killer, fires a shot and wounds him, but still, The Claw manages to escape.
Tracy notices that The Claw had tried to make a phone call from Sightless' phone, and can identify the first digits from hook scratches on the phone dial. He sends Patton to find the rest of the phone number. Tracy himself goes to the insurance company and accuses them of stealing the furs from the warehouse. They protest against the charges when Patton arrives and tells them that the number leads to the store owner Humphries.
Humphries' plan was all along to sell back the furs to the insurance company after the twenty-four hours had passed and collect the penalty fee stated in the policy. He calls the robbers at the same bar as before, instructing them to tell the insurance company to come to the bar with $50,000.
Feeling guilty about sending Sightless off to a certain death before, Vitamin goes to the bar to find the killer, pretending to be a blind beggar himself. Sam and Fred make an attempt to steal the money for themselves, but The Claw, wounded but still capable of fighting, manages to kill them both. The killings are witnessed by Vitamin, who also hears The Claw talk on the phone to Humphries, telling him the furs' whereabouts.
Meanwhile, Patton and Cudd have gone to Humphries and are watching him as he talks to The Claw. Humphries tells The Claw over the phone about his predicament, and The Claw becomes suspicious towards Vitamin and his blind beggar performance.
Tracy arrives to the bar just in time to save his friend from The Claw, and there is a chase back down to the junkyard. Tracy chases The Claw to a high-voltage generator, and the killer is killed by an electric shock when he touches a wire with his hook.<></>


  • Ralph Byrd as Dick Tracy, the tough, square jawed detective.
  • Kay Christopher as Tess Trueheart, Tracy's love interest.
  • Lyle Latell as Pat Patton, Tracy's bumbling assistant.
  • Jack Lambert (actor) as Steve 'The Claw' Michel, A quiet, compulsive killer. His right hand is a steel hook, and his left leg is lame. He has an extreme fondness for cats.
  • Ian Keith as Vitamin Flintheart, Tracy's thespian friend, who joins him because of guilt over the death of Sightless.
  • Bernadene Hayes as Longshot Lillie, the Fence.
  • Jimmy Conlin as Sightless the 'Blind' Begger, a little beggar who fakes blindness to sell pencils. Participates as Tracy's paid spy and is exposed and killed by The Claw.
  • William B. Davidson as Peter Premium, V.P. Honesty Insurance
  • Tony Barrett as Sam, a henchman.
  • Tom Keene (actor) as Fred, a henchman. (as Richard Powers)

Category:1947 films
Category:Black-and-white films
Category:Film noir
Category:Films directed by John Rawlins
Category:Dick Tracy films
Category:Films about organized crime in the United States
Category:RKO Pictures films
Category:1940s crime films

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