FALCON STRIKES BACK, THE(director: Edward Dmytryk; screenwriters: Edward Dein/Gerald Geraghty/from a story by Stuart Palmer/based on the character created by Michael Arlen; cinematographer: Jack Mackenzie; editor: George Crone; music: Roy Webb; cast: Tom Conway (Tom Lawrence/ “The Falcon”), Harriet Hilliard (Gwynne Gregory), Jane Randolph (Marcia Brooks), Edgar Kennedy (Smiley Dugan), Cliff Edwards (Goldy Locke), Rita Corday (Mia Bruger), Erford Gage (Rickey Davis), Wynne Gibson (Mrs. Geraldine Lipton), Andre Charlot (Bruno Steffen), Richard Loo (Jerry), Cliff Clark (Inspector Timothy Donovan), Olin Howland (Sheriff), Byron Foulger (Mr. Argyle – Hotel Clerk); Runtime: 65; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Maurice Geraghty; RKO; 1943)
“This is one of the better Falcon crime dramas in the series, which might not be saying much.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Edward Dmytryk (“Crossfire”/”Seven Miles from Alcatraz”/”The Young Lions”) helms this first and only Falcon adventure film he ever directed. Tom Conway, the brother of George Sanders, the original Falcon, makes his second appearance as the suave ladies man amateur sleuth Tom Lawrence, aka “The Falcon.” He was the Falcon in ten of that series’ entries. His costar is Harriet Hilliard, who became known to TV fans in the 1950s as Mrs. Ozzie Nelson. Edward Dein and Gerald Geraghty wrote the screenplay from a story by Stuart Palmer. It’s based on the character created by Michael Arlen. This is one of the better Falcon crime dramas in the series, which might not be saying much.
The Falcon is framed for murder and the bank robbery of $250,000 worth of war bonds, and spends the rest of the movie going after the real culprits to prove to Inspector Timothy Donovan (Cliff Clark) that he’s innocent. Sexy foreign lady Mia Bruger (Rita Corday) bursts into the Falcon’s bedroom and gets him to accompany her to a cocktail bar to locate her missing brother. The Falcon, for his troubles, gets knocked unconscious in the bar by a stranger waiting for him in the dark and awakens in the backseat of his car in a country meadow. Driving home he’s stopped by the police and turned over to Inspector Donovan, who tells him his car was identified by eyewitnesses at the scene of the crime where the bank messenger was shot and the bonds stolen. When the Falcon takes the inspector to the bar he was knocked cold in, it turns out to be a knitting circle run by Mrs. Geraldine Lipton. Under arrest, the Falcon’s sidekick Goldy Locke (Cliff Edwards) and his reporter friend Marcia Brook (Jane Randolph ) hook up with a plan to help him escape the cops and he speeds away from them in his car. The Falcon then smells something fishy in a swank hotel resort, Pine Crest, located in the country just outside the city, and checks in there and through some cheesy manipulation fools the nervous hotel manager Gwynne Gregory (Harriet Hilliard) into hiring Goldy to be the house detective. While snooping around the Falcon uncovers an unpatriotic war-bond racket run by a heartless criminal. His suspects include a rich foreigner in a wheelchair (Andre Charlot), an ex-con male nurse (Erford Gage), an odd acting puppeteer (Edgar Kennedy), the hotel manager and Mrs. Lipton. One of the suspects, Mia, is found dead in the hotel swimming pool.
REVIEWED ON 9/11/2007 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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