Skip to main content

You can't pin nothin on me until you prove Corpus Delicious!


George Sanders is The Falcon
The Gay Falcon
(1941)

George Sanders, forced to jumps ship on Simon Templar, lands a new series that had Leslie Charteris suing RKO as being The Saint in all but name. 

A fair complaint, but this is breezier and lively than all but Sander’s first Saint outing. He’s called upon to investigate jewel thieves working insurance frauds while at the same time acting something of a cad (surprise!) in respect of his fiancé (Elinor Beford, very funny); whenever her back is turned he’s smooth-talking the ladies including former Saint star Wendy Barrie. 

As such, the plot’s really secondary to the interactions between the characters, be it plodding police, high society or criminal lowlifes. Sanders is a rakish delight as ever, but (again, as with The Saint) it’s his sidekick who steals the spotlight. Allen Jenkins as Jonathan G “Goldie” Locke.

Cop: You know me, I gotta heart.
Goldie: Yeah, Michael, I know you have, and I only wish you hadda brain to go wid it.

As for the title, Gay is the Falcon’s first name (his last is Lawrence).

***1/2

A Date with the Falcon
(1942)

Second Falcon outing sees the Falcon on the trail of a gang that has kidnapped a scientist with a formula for creating synthetic diamonds. Wendy Barrie and Allen Jenkins return, but the highlights this time are all Sanders’. 

These include getting himself arrested to evade his captors and climbing out onto a ledge five stories up to avoid the police; the onlookers seem very keen for him to jump. By the time Sanders meets Mr Big, solving the case is firmly in second place to comic set pieces and as such it’s a bit of a letdown.

***

The Falcon Takes Over
(1942)

The best of Sander’s Falcon films involves him in a plot partly inspired by Chandler’s Farewell My Lovely. Setting events in motion is a none too bright wrestler, Moose Malloy, busted out of prison and looking for a dame who said she’d wait for him. Before long there’s a trail of bodies and a fortune telling racket to investigate.

Moose is clearly played by an actor in a padded costume (reminiscent of Russ Abbot’s gangster character), but the more atmospheric scenes are highly effective and there’s a clearer divide between the serious plot and the larks than in previous installments. 

Allen Jenkins is on great form as sidekick Goldie, in perpetual fear of Moose putting his hands round his neck and squeezing the life out of him. And, as with the first film, his grillings by the police result in some highly amusing exchanges. Inspector O’ Hara’s repartee with his dimmer than dim assistant Detective Bates also provides yuks. As for the Falcon, he’s engaged here but not averse to disreputable behaviour whenever the situation provides an opportunity.

***1/2

The Falcon’s Brother
(1942)

Disappointing final outing for Sanders. He’s bashed on the head early on, and his brother Tom (played by Tom Conway, Sanders’ actual brother) takes over the investigation. 

Conway’s at best passable and he doesn’t even have the support of Goldie to lessen the blow. Instead we get the going through the motions Lefty (Don Barclay). Inspecter O’Hara’s also gone, with only Detective Bates remaining. Keye Luke plays the Falcon’s butler, who speaks pigeon English to anyone he doesn’t wish to take a telephone call from. The plot involves German spies, which should be entertaining but isn’t. The Falcon makes a very decisive exit from the series, but in a peculiarly badly staged manner. 

**

Popular posts from this blog

Abandon selective targeting. Shoot everything.

28 Weeks Later (2007) (SPOILERS) The first five minutes of 28 Weeks Later are far and away the best part of this sequel, offering in quick succession a devastating moral quandary and a waking nightmare, immortalised on the screen. After that, while significantly more polished, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo reveals his concept to be altogether inferior to Danny Boyle and Alex Garland’s, falling back on the crutches of gore, nihilism, and disengaging and limiting shifts of focus between characters in whom one has little investment in the first place.

The Bible never said anything about amphetamines.

The Color of Money (1986) (SPOILERS) I tend to think it’s evident when Scorsese isn’t truly exercised by material. He can still invest every ounce of the technical acumen at his fingertips, and the results can dazzle on that level, but you don’t really feel the filmmaker in the film. Which, for one of his pictures to truly carry a wallop, you need to do. We’ve seen quite a few in such deficit in recent years, most often teaming with Leo. The Color of Money , however, is the first where it was out-and-out evident the subject matter wasn’t Marty’s bag. He needed it, desperately, to come off, but in the manner a tradesman who wants to keep getting jobs. This sequel to The Hustler doesn’t linger in the mind, however good it may be, moment by moment.

I said I had no family. I didn’t say I had an empty apartment.

The Apartment (1960) (SPOILERS) Billy Wilder’s romcom delivered the genre that rare Best Picture Oscar winner. Albeit, The Apartment amounts to a rather grim (now) PG-rated scenario, one rife with adultery, attempted suicide, prostitution of the soul and subjective thereof of the body. And yet, it’s also, finally, rather sweet, so salving the darker passages and evidencing the director’s expertly judged balancing act. Time Out ’s Tom Milne suggested the ending was a cop out (“ boy forgives girl and all’s well ”). But really, what other ending did the audience or central characters deserve?

Your desecration of reality will not go unpunished.

2021-22 Best-of, Worst-of and Everything Else Besides The movies might be the most visible example of attempts to cling onto cultural remnants as the previous societal template clatters down the drain. It takes something people really want – unlike a Bond movie where he kicks the can – to suggest the model of yesteryear, one where a billion-dollar grosser was like sneezing. You can argue Spider-Man: No Way Home is replete with agendas of one sort or another, and that’s undoubtedly the case (that’s Hollywood), but crowding out any such extraneous elements (and they often are) is simply a consummate crowd-pleaser that taps into tangible nostalgia through its multiverse take. Of course, nostalgia for a mere seven years ago, for something you didn’t like anyway, is a symptom of how fraught these times have become.

If this were a hoax, would we have six dead men up on that mountain?

The X-Files 4.24: Gethsemane   Season Four is undoubtedly the point at which the duff arc episodes begin to amass, encroaching upon the decent ones for dominance. Fortunately, however, the season finale is a considerable improvement’s on Three’s, even if it’s a long way from the cliffhanger high of 2.25: Anasazi .

You have a very angry family, sir.

Eternals (2021) (SPOILERS) It would be overstating the case to suggest Eternals is a pleasant surprise, but given the adverse harbingers surrounding it, it’s a much more serviceable – if bloated – and thematically intriguing picture than I’d expected. The signature motifs of director and honestly-not-billionaire’s-progeny Chloé Zhao are present, mostly amounting to attempts at Malick-lite gauzy natural light and naturalism at odds with the rigidly unnatural material. There’s woke to spare too, since this is something of a Kevin Feige Phase Four flagship, one that rather floundered, showcasing his designs for a nu-MCU. Nevertheless, Eternals manages to maintain interest despite some very variable performances, effects, and the usual retreat into standard tropes, come the final big showdown.

Captain, he who walks in fire will burn his feet.

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) (SPOILERS) Ray Harryhausen returns to the kind of unadulterated fantasy material that made Jason and the Argonauts such a success – swords & stop motion, if you like. In between, there were a couple of less successful efforts, HG Wells adaptation First Men in the Moon and The Valley of the Gwangi (which I considered the best thing ever as a kid: dinosaur walks into a cowboy movie). Harryhausen’s special-effects supremacy – in a for-hire capacity – had also been consummately eclipsed by Raquel Welch’s fur bikini in One Million Years B.C . The Golden Voyage of Sinbad follows the expected Dynamation template – blank-slate hero, memorable creatures, McGuffin quest – but in its considerable favour, it also boasts a villainous performance by nobody-at-the-time, on-the-cusp-of-greatness Tom Baker.

Doctors make the worst patients.

Coma (1978) (SPOILERS) Michael Crichton’s sophomore big-screen feature, and by some distance his best. Perhaps it’s simply that this a milieu known to him, or perhaps it’s that it’s very much aligned to the there-and-now and present, but Coma , despite the occasional lapse in this adaptation of colleague Robin Cook’s novel, is an effective, creepy, resonant thriller and then some. Crichton knows his subject, and it shows – the picture is confident and verisimilitudinous in a way none of his other directorial efforts are – and his low-key – some might say clinical – approach pays dividends. You might also call it prescient, but that would be to suggest its subject matter wasn’t immediately relevant then too.

I think it’s wonderful the way things are changing.

Driving Miss Daisy (1989) (SPOILERS) The meticulous slightness of Driving Miss Daisy is precisely the reason it proved so lauded, and also why it presented a prime Best Picture pick: a feel-good, social-conscience-led flick for audiences who might not normally spare your standard Hollywood dross a glance. One for those who appreciate the typical Judi Dench feature, basically. While I’m hesitant to get behind anything Spike Lee, as Hollywood’s self-appointed race-relations arbiter, spouts, this was a year when he actually did deliver the goods, a genuinely decent movie – definitely a rarity for Lee – addressing the issues head-on that Driving Miss Daisy approaches in softly-softly fashion, reversing gingerly towards with the brake lights on. That doesn’t necessarily mean Do the Right Thing ought to have won Best Picture (or even that it should have been nominated for the same), but it does go to emphasise the Oscars’ tendency towards the self-congratulatory rather than the provocat

You’re the pattern and the prototype for a whole new age of biological exploration.

The Fly II (1989) (SPOILERS) David Cronenberg was not, it seems, a fan of the sequel to his hit 1986 remake, and while it’s quite possible he was just being snobby about a movie that put genre staples above theme or innovation, he wasn’t alone. Fox had realised, post- Aliens , that SF properties were ripe for hasty follow ups, and indiscriminately mined a number of popular pictures to immediately diminishing returns during the period ( Cocoon , Predator ). Neither critics nor audiences were impressed. In the case of The Fly II , though, it would be unfair to label the movie as outright bad. It simply lacks that *idea* that would justify the cash-in.