Monday, November 19, 2012

Tonight's Movie: The Falcon and the Co-Eds (1943)

THE FALCON AND THE CO-EDS is a fun entry in the long-running FALCON series.

Number 7 in the series has the usual RKO stock company, including Tom Conway as the Falcon and Cliff Clark and Edward Gargan as Inspector Donovan and Detective Bates. Jean Brooks and Rita Corday, who appeared in different roles in five FALCON films apiece, both have leading roles, and Amelita Ward and Ian Wolfe, who were in the previous film THE FALCON IN DANGER, both show up again here.

Student Jane Harris (Ward) believes a teacher at her girls school, Bluecliff Seminary, has been murdered and goes to great lengths to have the Falcon come investigate. Suspects include several teachers (Brooks, Isabel Jewell, and George Givot) and a student with "second sight" (Corday).

The campus setting is fun, especially as the alert viewer will notice future Oscar-winning actress Dorothy Malone in a background role as one of the students. This was Malone's second screen credit.

The caretaker's young daughters who sing and aid the Falcon in his detective work are played by Juanita Alvarez (later known as Nita Hunter), Ruth Alvarez, and Nancy McCollum. They add a nice dose of energy to the film without being obnoxious. The scene where they track down Vicky (Brooks) and the Falcon rewards them with ice cream money is quite cute.

As a side note, I feel sure I've seen the mansion which is the main school building in at least one other film noir, but I haven't been able to remember which one.

Those who enjoy the FALCON films will find this an agreeable way to pass 67 minutes.

This was the second of three FALCON entries directed by William Clemens. The cast also includes Barbara Brown and Olin Howlin.

This is the seventh and final film included in The Falcon Mystery Movie Collection, Volume 1, from the Warner Archive.

It's also available on a 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), and THE FALCON IN DANGER (1943).


Blogger dfordoom said...

The Falcon movies are always fun, although Tom Conway was not as good as George Sanders in that kind of role.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Rick29 said...

Laura, great choice! This is my favorite of the Falcon movies (it's even been reviewed on the Cafe). The seaside setting, the three girls, and the snappy mystery make it one of the finest "B" detective pics. I, for one, prefer Tom Conway as the Falcon over his brother.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks to you both for your feedback! I agree, this one was especially good. I'll take a look for your review, Rick! Always fun to read someone else's take on a movie.

As for me, I like both Sanders and Conway! :)

Best wishes,

8:29 PM  
Blogger barrylane said...

Tom Conway much more handsome and much more The Falcon. My opinion.

9:14 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

I know you recently dipped into Val Lewton-land though horror films are not really your style. But this particular Falcon film is often discussed amongst us horror fans for its strong Lewton connections. Of course since it was made at the same time and the same studio (RKO)there would be some similarities. But there's a lot going on here.
The three top-billed stars, for instance. Tom Conway appeared prominently in three of Lewton's horror films. Jean Brooks was in a couple, including a striking appearance in THE SEVENTH VICTIM. And Rita Corday had a prominent supporting role in THE BODY SNATCHER.
There's also a lot of crossover among the behind-the-camera talent.
FALCON AND THE COEDS cinematographer J. Roy Hunt also shot I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE. Some of ZOMBIE's music was even recycled for this film. And, most tellingly, COEDS was the only non-Lewton credit for screenwriter Ardel Wray.
It's also been pointed out that a lot of stuff in the COEDS script would have fit very comfortably into a Lewton film -- predestination, premonitions, an air of morbid obsession,the whispering voice from the trees, the spooky psychic, a call coming from a dead man's room...
There's even been some theorizing amongst horror fans that the script might have been originally intended for Lewton's unit. Who knows? But there are some awfully strong connections.
By the way, I should credit folks over at the Classic Horror Film Board for some of these notions. That's where the connections were first pointed out to me and that's where some of these above comments originated.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Rick, I love this info. I had noted that there is a lot of cast crossover among the FALCON films themselves -- it's rather fascinating that Brooks and Corday each appeared in *six* FALCON films, always as a different character! -- and I knew a couple of the actors such as Conway and Brooks from the only couple Lewton films I've seen thus far (I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE and THE LEOPARD MAN). But your background info is much more detailed! Thanks much for filling me in on the screenwriter and cinematographer. It's interesting to note the Lewton connections.

I hadn't even thought of it as I watched, but now that you mention it, you're right, there really *is* a lot of Lewton-esque stuff happening in this movie! I can totally see that now. What an interesting idea that perhaps the original script could have been planned for the Lewton unit.

Side note, I also loved the first scene with Ian Wolfe as the undertaker and the Falcon's humorous exchange with him. One notable little moment among many such good moments in the movie.

One of the things I love about classic-era films is that even a "little" B movie has history and an interesting context in the place of other films. Thanks so much for helping me to appreciate the film on a deeper level.

Best wishes,

11:05 PM  
Blogger dfordoom said...

I like Conway as well, in fact I like him a lot. It's just that I like Sanders even more - he's one of my all-time favourite actors.

1:45 AM  
Blogger dfordoom said...

Rick's comment about the Val Lewton connections of this movie have made me determined to see it. I'm pretty sure I have a copy somewhere - I think I have all the Falcon movies.

1:47 AM  
Blogger Caftan Woman said...

Oh, that Falcon. What will he get into next?

1:20 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

does anyone know the name of the lighthouse in the background when they are on the cliff of the pacific ocean ………..

3:41 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm afraid I don't know, but perhaps at some point in the future someone will come across this and be able to answer!

Best wishes,

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not positive but two possibilities spring to mind for the lighthouse. Piedras Blancas north of San Simeon and Pigeon Point north of Santa Cruz. If I had to pick one of those two I'd go with Pigeon Point.

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like to see all Falcon movies on blu ray.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you for the suggestions on the lighthouse location!

It would be fun to see these on Blu-ray, but in the meantime I'm grateful they made it to my shelves on DVD!

Best wishes,

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to see all the falcon movies put on blu ray. They are all great. especially the coeds

6:21 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

They are indeed wonderful, very entertaining movies!

Best wishes,

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe the Blue Cliff Seminary in The Falcon and the Co-eds, shown at the start of the film, is Hill Grove, also known as the George Lewis Mansion. It’s most famous movie appearance is in the film Sabrina, as The Larrabee Mansion.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes,that would be great.who releases them ? Warner Bros.?

9:25 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Anonymous, thank you so much for the information on Hill Grove and Sabrina!

Anonymous #2, as mentioned near the top of this review, the films were originally released by RKO, and near the bottom of the review you will find a link for the Warner Archive Collection DVD set which makes them available now. Enojoy!

Best wishes,

9:19 AM  

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