7 January 2007 | blanche-2
First of the Falcon series
George Sanders is "The Gay Falcon," a 1941 film, the first entry into the Falcon series. The title has a double meaning, as the Falcon's first name is Gay. Though it's a programmer, "The Gay Falcon" has quite an uptown cast, including Gladys Cooper, Allen Jenkins, Turhan Bey, and Wendy Barrie.
The Falcon and his sidekick Goldie (Jenkins) are insurance brokers in this, and Gay is, as usual, engaged. After turning down an invitation to a fancy party, Helen, secretary to a Perle Mesta type named Maxine who is giving the party, begs him to attend in order to prevent a jewel robbery. Maxine's events have been the scene of a string of jewel robberies. So Gay attends. A woman who insisted on wearing a huge diamond is murdered. Gay is on the case.
George Sanders makes a very appealing Falcon - he's tall, elegant, and smooth, with a great voice and off-the-cuff delivery. He gives the role a light, breezy quality. The rest of the cast is very good. Turhan plays a swarthy, suspicious type - this was pre-Maria Montez and Sabu. It's always great to see the Turhan Bey, one of the actors who benefited from the man shortage in Hollywood during World War II. Though he eventually returned to his native Vienna to work as a photographer, he did quite a few television appearances in the '90s.
Alas, there is a bit of casting that sort of gave the denouement away for this viewer, but the mystery is not really the point of The Falcon series. The point is to have fun, which you will.