Late at night three men rob the vault of the Flawless Furs warehouse, Steve “The Claw” Michel (Jack Lambert), Sam (Tony Barrett) and Fred (Tom Keene). In the process the night watchman is kidnapped and murdered. The local patrolman sees that the night watchman is gone so he calls the precinct. Dick Tracy (Ralph Byrd) and his partner Pat Patton (Lyle Latell) end up being assigned the case.
The owner of the furs, Mr. Humphries (Charles Marsh) comes down to the warehouse to check things out. Soon Peter Premium (William B. Davidson) from the Honesty Insurance Company and Mr. Cudd (Al Bridge), the insurance company detective, arrive on the scene. The insurance company has twenty-four hours to investigate and recover the furs or they will have to pay the insurance claim.
Claw, Sam and Fred head back to their hangout at the Blinking Skull Bar to await instructions from their boss. The three hoods begin squabbling about Claw killing the watchman. Claw got his name due to his missing his left hand and having it replaced with a hook. With a murder overhead, the furs are going to be harder to fence.
Tracy’s stoolie, Sightless (Jimmy Conlin), eavesdrops on their conversation. Sightless almost gets caught but he manages to get his information to Vitamin Flintheart to pass along to Tracy. Flintheart mucks things up a little but manages to remember enough to let Tracy know where the crooks are going to meet a fence. Tracy and Patton snag Longshot Lillie (Bernadene Hayes) but Lillie knows less than nothing about the heist itself.
Tracy and Patton go to Sightless’s place to see if he has any more information but they get there too late. Claw has already killed him but is stuck in the building. When he tries to hide out on the roof he is wounded by Patton. Claw is still on the loose but the three crooks are beginning to turn on each other and Tracy is still looking for whoever planned the heist.
“Dick Tracy’s Dilemma” AKA “Mark of the Claw” in Britain, was released in 1947 and was directed by John Rawlins. It is an American crime film. The film is the third of four films done by RKO that were based on the comic strip character Dick Tracy. This is Ralph Byrd’s first of the four films playing the square jawed detective. Byrd played Tracy in four Republic serials between 1937 and 1941.
Movie houses complained about Morgan Conway being cast as Dick Tracy. They preferred Ralph Byrd since he played the detective in all four serials and they considered Byrd as the one and only Dick Tracy. RKO took note and hired Byrd to finish the movie series. Chester Gould, the creator of the comic strip, preferred Conway believing he represented his idea of Tracy better. Byrd went on to play Tracy in the television show and ended up type cast.
Ann Jeffreys was also replaced by Kay Christopher as Tracy’s girlfriend, Tess Trueheart. Ian Keith reprises his role of Vitamin Flintheart from “Dick Tracy vs Cueball” 1946. Lyle Latell, who played Tracy’s bumbling partner, would reprise his role for all four of the Dick Tracy movies.