Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tonight's Movie: The Falcon in San Francisco (1945)

THE FALCON IN SAN FRANCISCO is a solid entry in the long-running series, featuring a bit of nice location photography along with a good story.

The movie starts with Tom Lawrence, also known as the Falcon, and his friend Goldie Locke (Edward Brophy) on a train to San Francisco.  As someone who loves "train movies," watching Tom and Goldie enjoy drinks while relaxing in the club car is a great start to the film.  Those were the days!

Tom and Goldie befriend a little girl, Annie (Sharyn Moffett), whose nursemaid is murdered in her berth. Annie has a pretty older sister in San Francisco, Joan (FALCON series veteran Rita Corday); Joan owns a shipping company and is mixed up with a strange smuggling scheme.

While part of the San Francisco setting is done via better-than-average back projections, I was impressed that a crew actually went to San Francisco and filmed Conway in spots such as on a cable car and at Coit Tower. These shots add some nice atmosphere.

This was Brophy's first time playing the Falcon's sidekick Goldie, a role previously played by Allen Jenkins and Cliff Edwards. While I especially liked Jenkins in the role, Brophy is fine. He would play the part again in THE FALCON'S ADVENTURE (1946), with Vince Barnett also playing the role that year in THE FALCON'S ALIBI (1946).

Sharyn Moffett was a talented child actress who also appeared in films such as THE LOCKET (1946) and MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE (1948). She also starred in BANJO (1947); at the recent TCM Festival actress Jacqueline White told an amusing story about working with the recalcitrant title dog in that film.

According to a 2009 Classic Images interview with Sharyn's brother Gregory, who was also a child actor, Sharyn and her husband have both served as Episcopalian ministers. Gregory said, "She is heavily involved in her church, probably one of the great prayer warriors or [sic] all time. She is a marvelous lady. She has had a great life."

The cast also includes Robert Armstrong, Fay Helm, Carl Kent, Dorothy Adams, and Myrna Dell.

THE FALCON IN SAN FRANCISCO runs 66 minutes and was directed by Joseph H. Lewis. The same year he directed the excellent "B" suspense film MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS (1945). He went on to direct titles such as GUN CRAZY (1950) and THE BIG COMBO (1955).

There are two credited cinematographers, Virgil Miller and William Sickner. Perhaps one of them did the San Francisco shots and the other did the rest of the film; it seems like a good guess, in any event.

This film is available on DVD in a very nice print in the Warner Archive's The Falcon Mystery Movie Collection, Vol. 2.

It's also had a release on Region 2 DVD.

Reviews of the earlier films in the series: THE GAY FALCON (1941), A DATE WITH THE FALCON (1942), THE FALCON TAKES OVER (1942), THE FALCON'S BROTHER (1942), THE FALCON STRIKES BACK (1943), THE FALCON IN DANGER (1943), THE FALCON AND THE CO-EDS (1943), THE FALCON OUT WEST (1944), THE FALCON IN MEXICO (1944), and THE FALCON IN HOLLYWOOD (1944).

2 Comments:

Blogger Robby Cress said...

I'll have to watch this one in the series for the location filming. Plus I love train stories too. I don't know why, but I was get these romantic notions of train travel in the past. I guess the old movies just make it appear so classy, simple, at times fun and leisurely.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I think you'd enjoy the locations, Robby -- they're brief but fun. Given it had a "B" movie budget I got a kick out of seeing Tom Conway riding a cable car, etc. :)

I agree about train movies! Ah, to ride in a club car in the '40s...maybe it was only that great in the movies, but it sure looks nice. :)

Best wishes,
Laura

2:07 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older