(director: Gordon Douglas; screenwriter: Gerald Geraghty/based on the characters by Michael Arlen; cinematographer: Nicholas Musuraca; editor: Gene Milford; music: C. Bakaleinikoff; cast: Tom Conway (Tom Lawrence/The Falcon), Barbara Hale (Peggy Callahan), Veda Ann Borg (Billie), Jean Brooks (Roxanna), Rita Corday (Lili D’Alio), Sheldon Leonard (Louie Buchanan), John Abbott (Martin Dwyer), Konstantin Shayne (Alec Hoffman), Emory Parnell (Inspector McBride ), Frank Jenks (Lieutenant Higgins), Useff Ali (Nagari), Chester Clute (Hotel Manager), Walter Solderling (Ed), Robert Clarke (Perc Saunders); Runtime: 67; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Maurice Geraghty; RKO; 1944)

“A snappy and enjoyable crime drama.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The tenth Falcon in the series is a snappy and enjoyable crime drama, as directed by Gordon Douglas(“Dick Tracy vs. Cueball”/”Sincerely Yours”/”Rio Conchos”) and written by Gerald Geraghty. It features good back lot Hollywood location shots and a great scene at the LA Coliseum.

Society amateur sleuth, the Falcon (Tom Conway), vacations in Los Angeles, and while at the race track meets Inspector McBride (Emory Parnell) and Detective Higgins (Frank Jenks). They warn him that they’re after (Louie Buchanan (Sheldon Leonard), someone the sleuth was involved with in NYC and had arrested but now is reportedly in LA with his actress girlfriend. When the cops leave, the Falcon runs into Louie, his supposed actress girlfriend Peggy Callahan (Barbara Hale), and also the wealthy numerologist actress Lili D’Allio (Rita Corday). When Peggy accidentally takes Lili’s purse, the Falcon rides in the cab driven by stunt rider Billie (Veda Ann Borg) and follows Peggy to Sunset studio. There the Falcon hears a shot fired from a sound stage and finds the corpse of leading man Ted Miles, but the body disappears when reported to the studio. Later it’s found in the prop room. Miles is married to costume designer Roxanna (Jean Brooks), who hates him and wants a divorce. The icy Roxanna left her hubby and plans to marry the film’s harried autocratic director Alec Hoffman (Konstantin Shayne), but is surprised when Lily claims Alec is her man.

Despite the Falcon’s insistence that he’s here on vacation and wants no part in the murder investigation, he gets drawn into the investigation when he locates the missing murder weapon in a plaster statue on the studio grounds. That turns out to be the stolen gun of the Shakespeare-quoting British producer Martin Dwyer (John Abbott), who claims the picture is jinxed and worries he’ll lose all his money because of shooting delays.

Before solving the mystery, the Falcon also uncovers info about a valued ruby ring from India owned by Dwyer, that the wealthy womanizer Miles was an investor in the film and had accumulated large gambling debts he couldn’t meet, that the gun-toting Louie was also an investor in the film, and that Lily was upset that Peggy got her part.

It ends as neatly as all the Falcon films do, but if the story is a familiar one then the lively presentation trumps that and keeps the predictable thriller watchable.

REVIEWED ON 6/30/2013 GRADE: B    https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/