The Falcon in Hollywood (1944)

2013 #82
Gordon Douglas | 65 mins | download | 4:3 | USA / English | PG*

The Falcon in HollywoodAfter leaving his New York base to investigate some co-eds, travel out west, and visit Mexico, the Falcon takes a well-earned vacation to the moviemaking capital of the world, Hollywood. But naturally trouble finds him there too, in the shape of a villain he once put away, his girl, a mistaken handbag, a cocky cab driver, a troubled film production, and — of course — murder.

By this point you should know what you’re in for with a Falcon film: a solid murder mystery plot with some light fun and mischief on the way to its solution. In this one, the plot is actually quite simple to follow for quite a while, making a change from recent Falcons. It’s still an engrossing enough mystery, but clearly told. But then someone throws a bunch of extra suspects and machinations into the mix and you’re left to fend for yourself, as ever.

Highlights here include a sassy sidekick taxi-driver played by Veda Ann Borg, who makes for playful comic relief alongside star Tom Conway. Though an array of the girls here are repeat performers (and as we’ll see most of them again, I’ll get into that then), Borg isn’t one of them, which is a distinct shame. Another memorable guest star is John Abbott as the movie’s producer, who quotes Shakespeare at the slightest provocation — even when he’s alone.

Sassy sidekick taxi-driverStand-out sequences include a bit where the police detectives move through a crowd of suspects, all relaxing near the pool on a location shoot, while outlining each one’s possible motivations, essentially to their face. It’s a simple sequence, not exactly high on drama or humour, but there’s a pleasant structural touch to it. Or the finale: the Falcon is, as ever, drawn into the case by a mysterious woman… but by the end he has four of them grouped around him!

With the series’ usual mix of mystery and humour firing on all cylinders, coupled with what I suppose you’d call an insider’s take on the movie business adding some additional charm, in Hollywood is certainly amongst the Falcon’s better outings.

3 out of 5

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

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