FALCON TAKES OVER / THE FALCON'S BROTHER
Falcon series was a constant fixture of afternoon TV
when I was younger, but for some reason, I never took to it
in the same was as the Thin Man, Charlie
Chan and Sherlock Holmes films that
were its contemporaries. The character never seemed that interesting
and the films themselves seemed to lack the sense of fun and
excitement delivered by those other series. A poor man's Saint
(Leslie Charteris even took legal action against the films),
the series never quite felt right.
these two new releases from Odeon, I found my opinion softening,
but not entirely changing. While both titles are passable enough,
they still lack a certain zest.
Falcon Takes Over is based - fairly loosely - on Raymond
Chandler's Farewell My Lovely, with the unfortunately
named Gay Lawrence aka The Falcon filling in for Philip Marlowe
in a tale of murder and blackmail. Lawrence, as played by George
Sanders, is an urbane private detective who gets caught up in
the hunt for escaped killer Moose Malloy and soon finds himself
in a much more complex case. With some clumsy attempts at humour,
the film tends to feel longer than its 63 minutes.
Falcon's Brother is better - marking Sanders last appearance
in the series, it introduces his real life brother Tom Conway
as Tom Lawrence, who appears on the scene just as Gay is struck
down by a car, and is soon embroiled in a case involving murder
and Nazi plots. I won't give away the ending, but Conway took
over the role after this film, so you can probably make an educated
guess as to the fate of Sanders' Falcon!
the two films reviewed here, this is the tighter, and Conway
is a little less annoying smug than Sanders, who took smoothness
to the point of being oily. They are, effectively, playing the
same character - a wealthy, womanising Englishman who seems
to stumble onto cases and then runs rings around the police
- but Conway seems a little less creepy.
of you with a taste for 1940's detective quickies will want
to check these out; the less committed might want to start with
the Chan films instead.
THE FALCON TAKES OVER
THE FALCON'S BROTHER