THE FALCON IN SAN FRANCISCO
(director: Joseph H. Lewis; screenwriters: Robert Kent/Ben Markson/from a story by Robert Kent/characters based on Michael Arlen; cinematographers: Virgil Miller/William Sickner; editor: Ernie Leadlay; music: Paul Sawtell; cast: Tom Conway (Tom Lawrence/The Falcon), Edward Brophy (Goldy Locke), Rita Corday (Joan Marshall), Sharyn Moffett (Annie Marshall), Fay Helm (Doreen Temple), Hermine Sterler (Carla Keyes), Robert Armstrong (DeForrest, also known as Duke Monette), Carl Kent (Rickey), George Holmes (Dalman), John Mylong (Peter Vantine), Eden Nicholas (shipping line clerk), Jason Robards Sr.(Loomis, the butler); Runtime: 66; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Maurice Geraghty; RKO; 1945)
“The story stinks like the smells at Fisherman’s Wharf, but the effortless direction and acting make it an easy watch.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Joseph H. Lewis (“Gun Crazy”/”A Lawless Street”/”A Lady Without Passport”) directs with an eye on comedy the seventh in the Falcon series, his only Falcon effort. Though the Robert Kent story is thin, veteran B film director Lewis does a nice job keeping things both lighthearted and suspenseful.
Debonair Manhattan sleuth Tom Lawrence aka The Falcon (Tom Conway) and his dopey but loyal Brooklyn slang talking sidekick Goldy Locke (Edward Brophy) are on vacation and are going to San Francisco by train, with the Falcon advisingGoldy he can reduce his income taxes by getting married, when an uncaring nurse (Hermine Sterler) caring for a Shirley Temple-like cute little girl orphan, Annie Marshall (Sharyn Moffett), is murdered and the Falcon is obligated to become her nursemaid after the girl tells him she’s treated as a prisoner in her house by the late nurse and the butler (Jason Robards Sr.). Accompanying Annie home to Nob Hill, the Falcon, on a phone tip by a stranger (John Mylong) on the train, is arrested for kidnapping the girl, but is bailed out of jail by a mysterious woman (Fay Helm). This leads to the Falcon interrupting his vacation to investigate a steamship, owned by Annie’s grown-up sister Joan (Rita Corday), called the S.S. Citadel, and of an ex-bootlegger named Duke Monette (Robert Armstrong) who used to own the steamship line. The Falcon eventually tracks down a bunch of silk smugglers who are holding the wealthy heiress ship owning sisters as prisoners in their mansion. When the bickering gang betray each other, the Falcon leads the innocent sisters to safety from the exploding liner.
The story stinks like the smells at Fisherman’s Wharf, but the effortless direction and acting make it an easy watch.
REVIEWED ON 7/6/2013 GRADE: B https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/