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|Index||16 reviews in total|
after 16 minutes anyway. Not that it detracts from a nice little
comedy-mystery, but this was an even cheaper affair than usual from RKO
as they used up a lot of stock rustic Mexican background film to
lilting music here while the main characters glided or drove about in
front. Tom Conway as the Falcon looked as handsome and debonair as ever
(no. 9/13 I don't count those last 3 non-RKO efforts with John
Calvert), and had to do without the comedy double act of Clark and
Gargan from now on.
Investigation of a painting painted by a dead man (with an art gallery eerily similar to the one in Woman In The Window) leads to murder and theft; the Falcon is chased by the cops while he's chasing the baddies all the way into deepest Mexico. The dead painter's daughter was played chockful of feminine intuition by Martha Vickers, next step for her was the cute Big Sleep. She also uttered my favourite line from all of the Falcon films "My father lived at this inn while he was alive" wonderful stuff! Nestor Paiva played a helpful ambiguous peasant and Joseph Vitale a rather unhelpful serious dancer, some of their best stuff was to come later with Paramount. The only downer was the climax could've been handled with a little more sensitivity, but in these pics time was money!
Another excellent and engrossing Falcon outing for the cognoscenti, serious people shouldn't waste their valuable time.
This is the ninth Falcon film, and a particularly good one. It contains some very good second unit material shot in Mexico, so there must have been a large budget for that, as it must have taken at least two or three weeks on location. It took a lot of editing to intercut all that with the actors back home in the studio. Tom Conway is in fine form, and there is some crackling dialogue as usual: 'Are you following me around?' 'I've been doing nothing else since we first met.' No prizes for figuring out who said that. There are excellent performances from two Hispanic actors, Fernando Alvarado is a charming little Mexican boy, and Nestor Paiva is excellent in a major supporting role. Martha Vickers is suitably alluring and ambiguous as a typical Falcon heroine. One would like to have some time alone with her in her dressing room (just for research purposes, of course). The plot is solid, a truly puzzling mystery this time, with so many possible villains that the fingers on both hands seem hardly sufficient. This is an excellent unpretentious B picture, just the sort of thing one wants in the Falcon series.
"The Falcon in Mexico" is a 1944 entry into "The Falcon" series, by now
starring Tom Conway. In this story, Tom Lawrence (The Falcon) is in
Mexico investigating the possibility that a dead artist might not be so
dead after all, after he sees the model for one of the artist's
portraits. The artist has been dead 15 years, but if that's the case,
this woman has discovered the secret of eternal youth - until she winds
up dead. Did I mention the portrait looks like a paint by numbers?
Martha Vickers plays the artist's daughter, who keeps "seeing" her
father. Mona Maris is her remarried stepmother who dances in a Mexican
club with her new husband.
The movie is okay, with an abrupt ending, which isn't unusual in these films, and the movie seems like an ad for visiting Mexico. Supposedly some of the footage is from the Orson Welles' debacle "It's All True." If so, I'm glad RKO found good use for it.
Really, all of the FALCON films are quite delightful, and THE FALCON IN
Mexico is fresh, witty and consistently entertaining. Despite some of
the rather silly reviews of it seen here this writer can very highly
Typically with this series the dialog is quite sharp and delivered with panache by a solid stock company of reliable actors and actresses. The mystery element is quite well handled as well. I must say that one thing that particularly pleased me was its charming music score which relied heavily on south-of-the-border melodies as well as some classic RKO library music by Roy Webb which was always good.
Conway is as suave and pleasing to watch as ever and there is a fine supporting performance by the underrated Nestor Paiva. The ladies are beautiful, charming and a little mysterious and really nothing can be faulted here unless one enjoys indulging in nit-picking.
All in all a thoroughly satisfying movie and one of the very best of the FALCON series. Recommended for all viewers, not just FALCON fans.
This "Falcon" entry relocates to Mexico and features all the stock
characters and situations that one would expect from Hollywood in that
setting - some of which (the repeated footage of songs in the cantina,
for instance) is obviously used simply as filler. But what raises the
resulting film somewhat above average is the unexpected twist it
manages to place on much of its material. Barbara's exotic young
stepmother turns out to be genuinely attached to her, for instance,
while the grinning, thick-witted Mexican who seems to be playing a part
in a bad film turns out to be a very cool bird indeed.
There is some artful photography and some smart dialogue, and while there does seem to be a certain amount of tourist advertising blatantly inserted -- literally, as in photographs of travel brochures -- this film is more interesting than I thought it was going to be. Oddly enough, while it features a number of murders they are all left more or less in the background to the main mystery, which is the question of who faked the stolen portrait... or indeed, if it was faked at all...
So is artist Wade alive or not. His daughter seems to think so even
though he's supposedly ensconced in a crypt in Mexico. Fear not,
however, the Falcon (Conway) is on the case. Actually the ingredients
of a good mystery are present but the script mixes them up in a sloppy
fashion. Much of the problem, as other reviewers note, is the big
travelogue part, which only gets out of Hollywood proper thanks to some
artistic Orson Welles stock footage. Otherwise it's process shots and
RKO's backlot, along with that all-purpose ethnic Nestor Paiva (Manuel)
furnishing a dollop of comic relief. Then too, the musical interludes
tend to interrupt at inconvenient times. (Still, I really like the
enchanting two little girl singers Hunter & Alvarez.)
What's worth watching for the guys, at least, are the gals, especially Vickers who's downright beautiful, at least in my book. I could have used a couple dozen more close-ups. Too bad the director treats her so casually. Anyway, the smooth-as-silk Conway is on hand to lend this slapdash programmer some class. But he really was better off with the great Val Lewton and his classic horror fests than he is here.
When Tom Conway met that black cat determined to cross his path he
should have gone blocks out of the way. He didn't though and wound up
helping Cecilia Callejo break into an art gallery to retrieve a
painting for which she modeled. But the gallery owner is dead Callejo
flees through a window and Conway has to run from the San Francisco
The daughter of the dead artist who painted it played by Martha Vickers might provide answers. So might Vickers's stepmother Mona Maris and her new husband Joseph Vitale. So might millionaire Emory Parnell who bought several of the dead artist's paintings. They all wind up meeting in old Mexico providing The Falcon with a host of subjects. Along with ever helpful driver Nestor Paiva and his young son Fernando Alvarado.
A middle run Falcon film, the exotic location helps, but it's not anything abut a studio created Mexico.
Something happened to the Falcon on his flight down to Mexico. He was
never the same after he landed.
For the first 15 minutes or so of this movie -- set in a large U.S. city -- everything is terrific. The Falcon meets two beautiful women, commits two minor crimes, finds a corpse, gets wrongly accused of murder, escapes from custody and learns that something mysterious is going on south of the border. It doesn't all happen in exactly that order, but there's plenty of fast-paced fun.
But once the Falcon and one of the women fly to Mexico, the excitement levels off. The plot slows to a crawl. Events, including murders, seem almost random, and even the characters appear bored at time. At one point, the Falcon warns a Mexican gentleman that somebody may try to kill his daughter. The man shrugs off the tip and assures our hero that Mexico is a very safe place. He's not even curious about where the threat comes from!
The problem with the main part of this movie is that there's so much Mexico, there's no room left for mystery. There's travelogue-style footage of lakes and mountains, and some of it is very good. There are songs in Spanish, performances of masked Mexican dancers and shots of Mexican fishermen at work. There are even stereotypical "comic" Mexicans who talk like Speedy Gonzales. But there's no suspense, and the ending is very weak.
Considering when it was made, "The Falcon in Mexico" probably had a public relations component. During World War II, the U.S. government encouraged Hollywood to portray Latin America in a favorable light. But in a mystery movie, an exotic setting goes only so far. After a crackerjack start, this little whodunit is ultimately unsatisfying. It's at its weakest where it should have been strongest.
For my time, I would much rather watch an earlier Falcon film. That's
because the George Sanders films were usually better written and more
exciting--as well as starred the wonderful Sanders. With THE FALCON'S
BROTHER, Sanders' real-life brother, Tom Conway, took over the leading
role since Sanders wanted out of the series in order to pursue other
acting opportunities. Now this was a very logical choice, as Conway
looked a lot like Sanders and also had a similar lovely melodious
voice. But despite this, I still found myself missing Sanders, as to me
he was THE Falcon and the earlier films were just were written better
and seemed so much fresher.
By 1944, Conway's Falcon had fallen into a rather predictable pattern that must have worked well at the time because they made so many of these films during a three year stretch--a HUGE output of 9 films! The public loved them and the series was more popular than contemporaries Boston Blackie, The Lone Wolf and Crime Doctor. So, despite my complaints, the series did work. Of course, I would contend that averaging three films a year was exactly why the films seemed not quite as good as the earlier ones--they were rushed into production and didn't seem as smooth or engaging as earlier ones.
Now THE FALCON IN Mexico is a bit better than most films of this period thanks to a relatively simple but engaging mystery. A low-point in the series was THE FALCON OUT WEST and I think most of the problem with that film was that there were too many twists and turns and surprises. Plus putting Conway out West just didn't fit his style and personality, though Mexico seemed a much better change of venues.
The plot involves the possibility that a famous dead painter MIGHT actually be alive. Either that, or the damsel in distress is losing her mind, as she keeps thinking she's seen her dead father. The Falcon, naturally, comes to her aid and by the end the mystery's all naturally been revealed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A little different than earlier films in the series, this one is the
first film since A Date with the Falcon without Edward Gargan as
Detective Bates and first one without Cliff Clark as the Police
Inspector since The Falcon's Brother, when Clark took over the role
from noted character actor James Gleason. Also, a single character
Manuel (Nester Paiva), who "adopts" the Falcon (Tom Conway) when he
arrives in Mexico, provides much of the comic relief, service and other
roles normally played by a sidekick, houseboy etc..
The film begins with the Falcon kissing his girlfriend goodnight, promising her he'll not get involved in another crime solving case. After avoiding walking under a ladder and a black cat crossing his path, he sees a beautiful woman (Dolores, played by Cecilia Cellejo) attempting to break into an art gallery. He cannot help himself. She tells him she is trying to retrieve a painting of hers inside and he helps her only to find, once inside, that the painting is a portrait of her, and that the art dealer has been murdered. About this time, some "rent a cops" show up, the girl disappears, and the Falcon is suspected of the murder.
He learns that the painting was done by deceased artist Humphrey Wade, making it valuable, and that it was recently purchased by a collector of Wade's paintings, "Diamond" Hughes (Emory Parnell). Of course, the Falcon escapes with the painting before the police arrive and heads to Hughes' house. Hughes doesn't know the identity of the girl in the painting, didn't even know of this painting's existence until recently, but suggests that perhaps the artist's daughter (who lives nearby) knows more.
When the Falcon meets Wade's daughter (Martha Vickers), she reveals that she believes her father may still be alive. They agree to go together to Mexico, where her father did his painting, but she "ditches" him shortly after they arrive. A taxi driver, Manuel, and his son help the Falcon follow the daughter to the hotel that was the artist's residence. Manuel becomes as ever present as the Falcon, appearing in most scenes and/or at critical times throughout the movie, delivering broken English lines reminiscent of Yogi Berra.
The proprietor of the hotel (Mary Currier), who acts suspiciously, and the song & dance couple (Mona Maris and Joseph Vitale) working there, are all found to have a connection with the former artist. The woman in the musical team is the stepmother of Wade's daughter, who also turns up at the hotel. Dolores, the woman in the painting (which is stolen from the Falcon's room, and later found in proprietor's room), makes a brief appearance before she disappears again, we meet her father (Pedro de Cordoba), and she is found dead by fisherman. Once "Diamond" Hughes arrives, everyone with any kind of connection to Humphrey Wade and/or a motive for wanting him (to stay?) dead is checked in to the hotel. We also learn more about Manuel.
There is song and dance entertainment throughout this film. There are also some beautiful lake scenes including butterfly fishing boats, as well as a "Carnival" celebration on the island across the lake. Of course, the Falcon solves the mystery and catches the murderer (by putting himself at risk). However, this film does not include a (fairly typical) lead in to the next film in the series.
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