DICK TRACY

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DICK TRACY. Warren Beatty, dir., prod., star. USA: Touchstone (dist.), 1990. Based on the comic strip created by Chester Gould.

Climactic battle between Tracy and villain occurs amid machinery for raising and lowering a bridge; the machinery is explicitly and correctly compared by the villain to a clockwork. Note huge, slowly moving gear to which the villain ties the heroine. Significantly, the setting for the climax is mostly irrelevant for the plot; Beatty wanted the Gothic clichés of the bound and endangered heroine and the literal fall of a villain—and he placed them in a mechanized environment recalling saw-mills and railroad tracks of silent movies of the cliffhanger variety.