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The Falcon Mystery Movie Collection, Vol. 1 [3 Discs] [DVD]

Release Date:10/18/2011
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    The Falcon's Brother
    When George Sanders announced that he was leaving the "Falcon" series, RKO Radio came up with the perfect replacement: Sanders' own brother, Tom Conway. The transition was handled with style in The Falcon's Brother, with private detective Gay Lawrence (Sanders), aka The Falcon, incapacitated early in the proceedings. Anxious to break up an Axis spy ring, Gay calls upon his brother Tom (Tom Conway) to help out. The villains intend to foment a rift in the relationship between North and South America, which Tom, with the aid of intrepid heroine Marcia (Jane Randolph) and dopey sidekick Goldy (Don Barclay), hopes to prevent. By film's end, Tom Lawrence has assumed his brother's mantle as the Falcon, and the Falcon he would remain for the next eight entries in the series. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    The Falcon in Danger
    In this entry, the detective must find two missing industrialists. They and $100,000 suddenly vanished while flying in a passenger plane. It does not take long for the supersleuth to discover that their disappearance is part of a conspiracy against the government. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

    A Date with the Falcon
    This second entry in RKO Radio's "Falcon" series begins with Gay Lawrence (George Sanders), aka the Falcon, promising to give up his private-eye activities for the sake of fiancee Helen Reed (Wendy Barrie). This resolves lasts for about eight minutes, whereupon Lawrence tackles the case of a missing scientist named Waldo Sampson (Alec Craig), the inventor of a synthetic-diamond process. Kidnapped by Sampson's abductors, Lawrence manages to escape, only to be kidnapped again and later accused of murder. The resolution of the plot hinges on the old mistaken-identity device (one of the principal characters has an identical twin, and that's all that can be said without giving the game away). Carryovers from the first "Falcon" film include Allen Jenkins as Lawrence's dimwitted sidekick Goldie and character actor Hans Conried, here cast as a snotty hotel night clerk. A Date with the Falcon was unofficially remade as The Falcon's Adventure, the final entry in the RKO series. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    The Falcon and the Co-Eds
    When an instructor dies mysteriously at an exclusive girl's school, Tom Lawrence (Tom Conway), a devil-may-care sleuth known as "The Falcon," reluctantly agrees to investigate. The death appears to have been induced by a heart attack, but the instructor's roommate (Rita Corday) had predicted that the victim would be murdered. The school's dean (Barbara Brown) dies shortly afterward, and suspicion falls upon the fencing instructor (Jean Brooks), who'd been in line to inherit the school. Other suspects include a foreign psychology professor (George Givot), who'd once courted the fencing teacher, and a meek music teacher (Isabel Jewell), to whom the foreign prof is secretly married. The murderer is revealed in a heart-stopping climactic scene played out on a perilous cliff overlooking the ocean. The Falcon and the Co-Eds is the sixth film in RKO Radio's "Falcon" series. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    The Falcon Takes Over
    The plot of the RKO Radio programmer The Falcon Takes Over will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has seen the 1944 Philip Marlowe mystery Murder My Sweet: indeed, both films were based on the same Raymond Chandler novel, Farewell My Lovely. It all begins when brutish prison escapee Moose Malloy (Ward Bond) forces nervous Broadwayite Goldie Locke (Allen Jenkins) to drive him to a posh nightclub, where Moose hopes to be reunited with his old girlfriend. Unable to find his elusive sweetheart, Moose tears the joint apart, obliging Goldie to flee for his life. As it happens, Goldie is the assisant of private eye Gay Lawrence (George Sanders), aka The Falcon, who has been hired by foppish socialite Lindsey Marriot (Hans Conried) to ransom a necklace stolen from Marriot's lady friend Diane Kenyon (Helen Gilbert). Shortly afterward, Marriot is murdered, and the Falcon discovers that there's an inextricable link between the dead man and the inimitable Moose Malloy. The rest of the film follows the plot convolutions set down by Chandler in Farewell My Lovely, carefully retailed to suit the breezy urbanity of George Sanders as the Falcon. Though Murder My Sweet is the better of the two versions of the Chandler novel, The Falcon Takes Over has a few advantages of its own, notably the casting of future Oscar winner Ann Revere as blowzy murder suspect Jessie Florian. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    The Falcon Strikes Back
    Tom Conway makes his second appearance as amateur sleuth Tom Lawrence, aka "The Falcon", in RKO Radio's The Falcon Strikes Back. Framed for the theft of valuable war bonds, Lawrence hides out at a country resort. Here he discovers that Mia Bruger (Rita Corday), who engineered the frame, has been murdered by persons unknown. Snooping around a bit, Lawrence uncovers an insidious and widespred war-bond racket. The revelation of the murderer's identity will come as a jolt to fans of old 2-reel comedies. Atmospherically directed by Edward Dmytryk (who obviously had his eye on bigger projects), The Falcon Strikes Back costars Harriet Hilliard, better known to TV fans as Mrs. Ozzie Nelson. As a bonus, there's a plug for Walt Disney, who was then releasing his product through RKO. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    The Gay Falcon
    When the film rights to its "Saint" series proved too expensive to renew, RKO Radio came up with a lookalike property in the form of "The Falcon", even engaging George Sanders, the best of the "Saint" impersonators, to play the studio's newest gentleman detective. The Gay Falcon opens as Gay Lawrence (Sanders) -- aka the Falcon -- is hired to guard a priceless diamond. When the owner of the gem is murdered, suspicious immediately falls upon Lawrence's ex-con chauffeur Goldie (Allen Jenkins). Two more killings occur before Lawrence is able to uncover the insurance scam behind it all. Along the way, he romance a pair of toothsome leading ladies, Helen (played by series regular Wendy Barrie) and Elinor (Anne Hunter). Hans Conried contributes a sparkling bit as a snide police sketch artist. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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