The Falcon Out West (1944)

2013 #71
William Clemens | 61 mins | download | 4:3 | USA / English | PG*

The Falcon Out WestWith each passing entry, the Falcon films become less reminiscent of their Saint forebears and more akin to the Poirots and Marples of this world: a gently comical murder mystery, with a finite location and a finite number of suspects, where the ‘game’ of solving the plot is the point.

This instalment sees the Falcon more removed from his original New York environs than ever before, as he heads out to The West to solve a murder committed in NY. While that might sound illogical, the plot just about swings it, and provides all the Western action it can muster: runaway coaches, shootin’, horseback riding, gentle racism about Native Americans… This is the West of the 1940s, theoretically 50 years or whatever on from The Wild West, but conceptually almost unchanged. Whether that was true in reality I’ve no idea, but it makes for a more entertaining film.

That said, this isn’t quite up to the high bar set by the exemplary preceding film, but it had its moments. Most importantly, it’s another good mystery for the series — hence my Christie comparison. I genuinely didn’t guess who the murderer was; in fact, my suspect was someone else entirely, and there were numerous other red herrings along the way too. A definite success in that department.

Out West isn’t my favourite Falcon film, then, but it is still among the series’ best efforts.

3 out of 5

* As with the vast majority of the Falcon series, The Falcon Out West hasn’t been passed by the BBFC since its original release, when it was cut. Nonetheless, it’s available on DVD, rated PG. Naturally I have no idea if it’s uncut, or if that even really matters. ^

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