Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Tonight's Movie: A Date with the Falcon (1942)

A DATE WITH THE FALCON is the second entry in the long-running series starring George Sanders as crime solver Gay Lawrence, aka "the Falcon."

This time around Gay is engaged to Helen Reed (Wendy Barrie), the spunky woman he met in THE GAY FALCON (1941). Gay and Helen are supposed to be leaving town to meet her family, but he becomes mixed up in a case involving murder and a formula to create fake diamonds. Needless to say, Helen's plans to get on a plane with Gay are thwarted at every turn, as he can't resist solving the crime.

This is a cute movie with some very good dialogue. It's not quite on a par with THE GAY FALCON, partly because Helen (Barrie) spends so much time being frustrated chasing Gay around town; her character is more shrill and less charming in this entry than in the original. Nonetheless, the film definitely has its moments.

A scene with Hans Conreid as a hotel clerk admiring Gay's way with the ladies is laugh-out-loud funny, as is the elegant Sanders pulling crazy faces at a policeman in hopes he'll be rescued from a taxi full of murderers. Sanders really makes the movie, with his glorious voice and droll way with dialogue.

The supporting cast is led by Allen Jenkins, returning as the Falcon's righthand man, and James Gleason as Inspector Mike O'Hara. Mona Maris, Edward Gargan, and Victor Kilian round out the cast. Roxane Barkley has a cute bit as a florist; she was only in three films, including THE FALCON TAKES OVER.

This film was directed by Irving Reis. It runs 63 minutes.

A DATE WITH THE FALCON is available on DVD-R in Warner Archive's Falcon Mystery Movie Collection, Volume 1. The set has the first seven titles in the series, including THE FALCON TAKES OVER (based on Raymond Chandler's FAREWELL, MY LOVELY) and THE FALCON'S BROTHER, in which Gay turns the crime-solving over to his brother Tom (played by Sanders' real-life brother, Tom Conway). Conway stars in the rest of the films in the set.

The film can also be seen on Turner Classic Movies.


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

There's a Falcon Mystery Collection? Oh, joy in the morning! I've grown quite fond of those pictures over the years.

5:40 AM  
Blogger Kevin Deany said...

A grand prize win to anyone who can tell me the difference between The Saint and the Falcon. I love 'em both, and no criticism was intended.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Aren't these fun movies? It's fascinating, Kevin, that RKO created the Falcon to try to get out of dealing with the creator of the Saint, then apparently had to settle with him out of court due to the similarities!

Best wishes,

9:58 PM  

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