The Falcon Takes Over (1942)

2012 #70
Irving Reis | 60 mins | TV | 4:3 | USA / English | PG*

The Falcon Takes OverQuite outside of the Falcon film series, this third entry is notable for being the first screen adaptation of a Raymond Chandler novel. Ditching Chandler’s then-unknown Philip Marlowe in favour of the Falcon in the lead role, this is a version of the character’s second mystery, Farewell, My Lovely — which would be adapted straight just two years later. And they say things get remade quickly nowadays.

Maybe it’s just because I knew, but The Falcon Takes Over does feel like a Chandler tale. But then of his original work I’ve only read and seen The Big Sleep, so maybe it’s just passingly like that. Still, there’s something in the intricacy of plotting and the kind of settings it inhabits that is either coincidentally like The Big Sleep or is Chandleresque.

Story aside, this is otherwise much the same as the other Falcon films. Sanders is a bit Saint-like while not being quite as good; there are several women for him to fawn over, including a coda where a new one turns up to attract his attention away from this film’s main dame; the police are bumbling comedy extras; as is sidekick Goldie…

Dangerous dateAs usual, it doesn’t have the same je ne sais quoi that makes the Saint films particularly entertaining (yeah, you know I mean wit); and I can well believe it has “none of the atmosphere of Chandler’s book”; and that it lacks the quality of the second film adaptation, an acknowledged film noir classic (which I really should see). But for those faults, it’s still a good yarn reasonably well told.

3 out of 5

* As with the vast majority of the Falcon series, The Falcon Takes Over hasn’t been passed by the BBFC since its original release. Nonetheless, it’s available on DVD, rated PG. ^

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