28 August 2003 | django-1
quirky first-of-three films with John Calvert as The Falcon
This was the first of three films made by the small "Film Classics" company in 1948-49 starring actor-magician John Calvert as The Falcon, and it's very much unlike the latter two films. In this one, Calvert does magic tricks at various times throughout the movie (!!) AND his co-star is a dog named Brain Trust (!!!) who is listed as playing "himself." Calvert actually talks to the dog in some scenes. Perhaps the dog was a nod to the successful Thin Man films, but fortunately the dog routine was dropped in the latter two films, as were the magic tricks (which are a pleasant distraction,actually!). The film starts, and ends, with Calvert sitting in his bathtub! In the first scene, a man named Ramon Delgado comes to see The Falcon and confesses that he killed a man last night because the man was involved with his wife. Delgado feels that the killing was in self-defense and asks the Falcon to help him turn himself in to the police and see that his rights are respected. Of course, as this is a murder mystery, things are obviously not as simple as that, and the plot unfolds in a fascinating way. As in the other films in the series, the resolution is unexpected and quite exciting. This film was directed by John Link, a journeyman who mostly worked as an editor, and it also features some nice location shooting in 1948 L.A. A fine supporting cast of veterans--Roscoe Karns as the police lt., Rochelle Hudson as the seductive Mrs. Delgado, Theodore Van Eltz as a seedy attorney, Lyle Talbot as a mysterious "business man",
and comedian Tom Kennedy, who often played a dim-witted copy, as a dim-witted thug! Trivia note: supporting actor Michael Mark appears in small but significant roles in all three Falcon films... in this one, he's the man working at the Salvation Army. Calvert's smooth, laid-back, but witty approach to the Falcon role is a refreshing change-of-pace, and it's a shame they only made three of these films. This is by far the quirkiest of the three, the latter two being more straight-forward detective films minus dog routines and magic tricks. All three Calvert Falcon films are recommended to fans of low-budget 40s murder mysteries/detective films.