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Film / Dick Tracy vs. Cueball

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Dick Tracy vs. Cueball is a 1946 American film based on the 1930s comic strip character of the same name created by Chester Gould. The film stars Morgan Conway as Dick Tracy in the second installment of the Dick Tracy film series released by RKO Radio Pictures.

Diamonds are stolen but before the thief can safely hide them aboard an ocean liner he is strangled by ex-conman Cueball. Cueball takes the diamonds and is given refuge by Filthy Flora, madam of the Dripping Dagger Bar, and then continues on murdering people that he believes are trying to double-cross him. Dick Tracy allows his girlfriend Tess to act as a buyer for the diamonds but is put in grave danger when Cueball vows to eliminate her.

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  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Dripping Dagger, owned by Filthy Flora, is a gathering place for the criminal element of the city. It includes hidden rooms for criminals on the run that Flora rents out at an exorbitant rate.
  • Bald of Evil: Psycho for Hire Cueball gets his nickname because he is completely bald.
  • Bookcase Passage: Simon Little has a secret passage concealed behind a bookcase in his basement. Cueball uses it on multiple occasions to slip out when the building is under police surveillance.
  • Canon Immigrant: Decades after this film—in 2011—Cueball would appear in two storylines in the Dick Tracy comic strip.
  • Car Meets House: While chasing Cueball from The Dripping Dagger, Pat—who is recovering from yet another Tap on the Head—drives his police car into a shopfront.
  • Clothing Combat: Cueball strangles his victims to death with his braided leather hatband.
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  • Here We Go Again!: The movie starts with Dick and Pat leaving Dick's birthday party after getting a phone call about a murder. At the end of the movie, Tess throws a second belated birthday party for Dick, and says this time the phone is staying off the hook. Then a shooting occurs outside the window, and Dick and Pat leave to investigate; much to Tess's frustration.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Cueball gets on board the ship by slipping into the middle of the gang of stevedores coming aboard to unload her.
  • Meaningful Name: The movie features a jeweler named "Jules Sparkle".
  • Mistaken for Drunk: A possibly concussed Pat Patton crashes his police car. The first cop on the scene starts questioning him, and Pat's confused and unhelpful answers lead to assume Pat is drunk and arrest him.
  • Not My Driver: Cueball poses as a taxi driver to abduct Tess when she is posing as socialite Diane Belmont.
  • Off Bridge, onto Vehicle: Cueball jumps from a footbridge on to the top of an (unmoving) freight train, and then to the ground to escape into the rail yards. Dick follows him.
  • Pretty in Mink: Tess wears a white mink coat when she is posing as a wealthy socialite.
  • Psycho for Hire: Percival Priceless, Simon Little and Mona Clyde hire Cueball to do their dirty work and steal the diamonds coming in the ship. Cueball proves to be a loose cannon and kills the courier.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: The climax is a running shootout between Tracy and Cueball in the rail yard. While attempting to escape, Cueball gets his foot wedged in the railroad tracks and is run down by a train as tries desperately to free it.
  • So Much for Stealth: While keeping The Dripping Dagger under surveillance, Pat knocks over some garbage cans; making a loud clatter and alerting Cueball to the police presence.
  • Tap on the Head: Cueball knocks out Pat Patton with one quick blow on the back of the neck with a sap. However, Pat having a hard head and being unaffected by repeated blows is a Running Gag in the film.
  • Throwaway Guns: During the shootout in the rail yard, Cueball throws his gun away when it runs out of bullets.
  • Would Hit a Girl:Cueball slaps Filthy Flora around and then strangles her with his hatband when he learns she has taken his diamonds.


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