(director: William Berke; screenwriters: George Worthing Yates/Gerald Geraghty; cinematographer: Frank Redman; editor: Joseph Noriega; music: C. Bakaleinikoff; cast: Tom Conway (The Falcon/Steve Lawrence), Nester Paiva (Manuel), Fernando Alvarado (Pancho), Bryant Washburn (Humphrey Wade), Cecilia Cellejo (Dolores Ybarra), Pedro De Cordoba (Don Carlos Ybarra), Emory Parnell (Winthrop “Lucky Diamond” Hughes), Mary Currier (Paula Dudley), Martha MacVicar(Barbara Wade), Mona Maris (Raquel), Joseph Vitale (Anton), Frank Mayo (Inspector O’Shea); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Maurice Geraghty; RKO; 1944)

The so-so Falcon crime drama trades in its usual Manhattan location for Mexico.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

William Berke(“Dick Tracy”/”Jungle Jim”/”Betrayal From The East”) directs in a workmanlike way the ninth entry in the Falcon series. It’s written by George Worthing Yates and Gerald Geraghty, who try for some comedy, to establish some local color and tack onto a murder mystery a few weak musical numbers. Hollywood lore tells us that the location footage was borrowed from Orson Welles’s documentary It’s All True.

The so-so Falcon crime drama trades in its usual Manhattan location for Mexico, as it heads south of the border when The Falcon (Tom Conway) stumbles upon the murder of an art gallery owner while walking home at night. In the gallery, a young lady named Dolores (Cecilia Cellejo) tells The Falcon she came to retrieve a portrait she modeled for recently for the supposedly long-dead artist Humphrey Wade (Bryant Washburn). When the cops arrive and attempt to arrest The Falcon for the murder, Dolores splits undetected and later The Falcon escapes from the cops after stealing the painting. After locating the main Wade collector, Lucky “Diamond” Hughes (Emory Parnell), in his apartment, The Falcon’s told by the collector to ask his neighbor Barbara Wade (Martha MacVicar), the daughter of Humphrey Wade, about the painting. After The Falcon meets the daughter, he agrees to team up with her to find out if her father might still be alive and who is the killer. The two trek together to Mexico, but once in Mexico Barbara shakes loose from the Falcon. Meanwhile The Falcon stays at the same inn her dad used when he was painting, and finds Barbara is also there.

At the inn, The Falcon runs into the hostile inn proprietress Paula (Mary Currier), who secretly loved the artist and is accused of forging his paintings; the artist’s former wife Raquel (Mona Maris) and stepmother of Barbara, now married to the dancer Anton (Joseph Vitale); and, a local taxi tour guide named Manuel (Nester Paiva) and his young son Pancho (Fernando Alvarado), who insist on helping The Falcon with his investigation despite his reluctance. The more the investigation goes on, the more evidence mounts that the artist might still be alive and had faked his death. The Falcon begins to unravel the mystery after Dolores’s body is found by the fishermen and Barbara is poisoned but lives. In the climax, during a local festival celebration, the killer will be revealed as The Falcon becomes the bait to draw out the killer. Also the motive for the murders will surface.

Though there’s a lot taking place in this busy episode, the suspense never builds and the story is way too tepid to have much of an impact.

REVIEWED ON 6/1/2013 GRADE: C+    https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/