Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tonight's Movie: The Falcon Out West (1944)

THE FALCON OUT WEST is a solid, entertaining entry in the long-running detective series.

Texas millionaire rancher Tex Irwin (Lyle Talbot) keels over dead in a New York City nightclub -- apparently done in by a rattlesnake bite! Stranger still, there's no snake found anywhere on the premises.

Tom Lawrence (Tom Conway), aka the Falcon, happens to be in the nightclub, meeting with Tex's jealous ex-wife (Joan Barclay). Also present is Tex's new fiancee, lovely model Vanessa (Carole Gallagher).

The Falcon and both ladies soon head for Texas, followed by Inspector Donovan (Cliff Clark) and hapless Detective Bates (Ed Gargan). Tex's business partner (Minor Watson) and his lovely daughter Marion (Barbara Hale) soon enter the picture...and the situation grows more alarming when Tex's attorney (Don Douglas) also dies of snakebite.

This eighth FALCON film isn't especially distinguished, but it has the plus of the charming young Barbara Hale, who would also show up in the next movie, THE FALCON IN HOLLYWOOD (1944), in a completely different role. The film moves along quickly, has an interesting twist or two, and manages to keep the viewer guessing whodunit until fairly late in the film. Those who like the series should find it pleasant entertainment.

The outdoor scenes were filmed at the Corriganville Ranch, with this film at times seeming to be a bit of a cross between a FALCON movie and the RKO "B" Westerns of the period.

The movie runs 64 minutes. It was directed by William Clemens.

The previous seven entries in the series were released by the Warner Archive in the Falcon Mystery Movie Collection, Volume 1. In a recent interview with Lou Lumenick of the New York Post, Archive head George Feltenstein said that the studio had just gotten back the rights for THE FALCON IN HOLLYWOOD, so the remaining films in the series, including THE FALCON OUT WEST, should be released by the Archive in 2013. (February 2013 Update: THE FALCON OUT WEST is now available from the Warner Archive in The Falcon Mystery Movie Collection, Vol. 2.)

The movie has previously had a release on Region 2 DVD. It will be shown on Turner Classic Movies March 14, 2013.

Reviews of the earlier films in the series: THE GAY FALCON (1941), A DATE WITH THE FALCON (1942), THE FALCON TAKES OVER (1942), THE FALCON'S BROTHER (1942), THE FALCON STRIKES BACK (1943), THE FALCON IN DANGER (1943), and THE FALCON AND THE CO-EDS (1943).

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