Rupert Pupkin Speaks: WAC'd Out Sets: THE FALCON Mystery Movie Collection Vol.2. Tom Conway! ""

Monday, March 25, 2013

WAC'd Out Sets: THE FALCON Mystery Movie Collection Vol.2. Tom Conway!

I was aware of the the original group of FALCON Mystery films(in WAC's Vol.1 set) starring George Sanders as the titular bird, but I'd never seen any of them. Having heard a few folks(including some of the Warner Archive guys themselves) say that they preferred Tom Conway's FALCON to Sanders' I decided to start with this set and perhaps work my way backwards. I'll certainly get around to the Sanders films at some point because my viewing of these six movies has me intrigued. Tom Conway reminds me a bit of Errol Flynn, but with a bit less charisma. That's not meant as a dig against the man really. After all, how many Errol Flynn's can there be? But yeah he resembles Flynn and bit but just comes off a bit drowsier or something.

THE FALCON OUT WEST(1944; William Clemens)
The death of a rich Texan in a NYC nightclub leads Tom back to the lone star state to find the murderer. Enjoyable slice of fried fish out of water. Sort of a mini-reversed COOGAN'S BLUFF. Tom Conways is...(not) Johnny Mack Brown. That being said, this was still one of my favorites in the set.

THE FALCON IN MEXICO(1944; William Berke)
Tom can't go 5 minutes without stumbling across a body. In this case, all the hubbub is about a mysterious stolen painting. Said painting causes a lot of ruckus for Tom as he's forced to make off with it himself to try to clear himself of the initial murder. Is the supposedly deceased artist who painted it really dead? 

THE FALCON IN HOLLYWOOD(1944; Gordon Douglas)
What starts as a simple racetrack purse swap mixup quickly escalates into a murder case at a movie studio for Tom Lawrence.  Light and fluffy like an omelette. The Hollywood backdrop helps make this one pretty fun. Director Douglas is also responsible for the giant ant classic THEM!(as well as VIVA KNIEVEL!, SLAUGHTER'S BIG RIP-OFF, IN LIKE FLINT, ROBIN AND THE 7 HOODS, LADY IN CEMENT, SKULLDUGGERY and several GILDERSLEEVE films...)

Tom meets a little girl on a train and her nurse is found dead. When Tom tries to take the girl home, he is arrested for kidnapping. Once cleared, Tom goes to see the little girl to investigate something she'd mentioned on the train about being imprisoned in her own home.
I'm a pretty big Joseph H. Lewis fan. Seeing Gun Crazy and THE BIG COMBO in close proximity will have that effect on you. He's a stylish auteurish director who made a lot of solid B pictures. So naturally when I saw that he had helmed this entry in the FALCON series, I was very excited. This is a relatively subdued film style-wise. I do love most films set in San Francisco though, so the locale helps.

THE FALCON'S ADVENTURE(1946; William Berke)
What starts as a fishing trip for Tom and Goldie turns into a kidnapping rescue and, of course, a murder. At the heart of the murder is a man's formula for a substitute for industrial diamonds. Through awkward happenstance, Tom is blamed for the man's murder and must flee(yet again) to Miami with the valuable secret. Lotsa folks want this formula and its a twisty-turny ride to the end.

THE FALCON'S ALIBI(1946; Ray McCarey)
A high society lady that Tom assists with a bet at the racetrack throws a big birthday soirĂ©e and invites him. During the festivities,  he learns of some missing pearls and yet another obligatory murder. Tom is obliged to set a trap for the murderer with the pearls as bait.
This entry has the best supporting players in a gorgeous Jane Greer as a female crooner and Elisha Cook Jr. as her hubby, a late night radio DJ. Both of them are great here, and their participation makes this my favorite film in the set. Cook's character here has some common ground with a certain other guy he played in a certain Kubrick film I love.
Note to self: I want to one day use Tom's trick here of pretending to be writing a letter when in fact he is actually writing detailed numbered instructions for his sidekick.

1 comment:

grandoldmovies said...

Somehow I can't picture Jane Greer & Elisha Cook Jr as a couple - that kind of casting, in and of itself, makes this film, and the series, sound interesting.