Poverty-row continuation of The Falcon series; mundane murder mystery showcasing Calvert's magic act skills.


(as John F. Link)


(screenplay), (original story) | 2 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Calvert ...
Margo Delgado
Johnny Morello
Thomas Mallon
Michael Mark ...
Salvation Army Captain
Ramon Delgado
Paul Regan ...
Bernie Horton
Eula Guy ...
Mrs. Murphy
Christine Larsen ...
Nurse (as Christine Larson)
Walter Soderling ...
John Bagni ...
Ofiicer Bob
Jack Conrad ...
Sam the Locksmith
Peggy Wynne ...


Conroy, A playboy, is found shot to death in his penthouse and a ne'er-do-well named Ramon Delgado (Paul Marion)tells the Falcon, Michale Watling (, John Calvert), that he committed the murder and asks the Falcon to keep a key for him until after his has been acquitted. He says he feels certain of an acquittal when the police learn that the motive for the killing was Conroy's attention to Delgado's wife, Margot (Rochelle Hudson). Tom Mallon (Theodore von Eltz)enters the case as Delgado's attorney, and after Delgado is found poisoned in his jail cell, the Falsob suspects Fallon of killing his own client. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Mystery






Release Date:

1 April 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Unwritten Law  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


No dialogue up to 04:32. The first line is "Hello". See more »


Follows The Falcon and the Co-eds (1943) See more »

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User Reviews

A middling tale
9 December 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is the 14th Falcon film, and the first of three starring John Calvert as a detective based on Michael Arlen's character the Falcon. After these three, the Falcon films ended. In my review of the final one, I shall give a chronological list of all 16. The title of this film has no relevance to the film whatever, as there is no devil and no cargo. Nor is the film anything to do with ships and the sea, as 'cargo' might imply. (There was a silent film in 1925 called THE DEVIL'S CARGO, but it is apparently lost, no surviving person appears to have seen it, and it can have had no connection with this one.) This film is a pastiche, very badly acted, extremely low budget, and should not really have been called a Falcon film. The producers presumably paid something for the right to use the name, but there all resemblances end. John Calvert appears to have some admirers, and I would not wish to depress them too much, but let's put it like this: there are two kinds of charm, natural charm and practised charm. George Sanders and Tom Conway (real-life brothers) had the former and John Calvert makes an attempt at the latter. Those of us who like the real thing can only be annoyed. However, he does his best, and really tries, so let us be merciful and not turn it off. The film does have about a dozen instances of snappy dialogue, such as this exchange: Falcon: 'Are you going somewhere?' Dame: 'My maid let the canary out and I'm going looking for it.' Not the highest calibre gags, but some are amusing and witty. As for the mystery story, it has some excellent twists and shows creative planning. Undemanding viewers of old mystery movies will probably enjoy this one. The idea of the mysterious key to a locker containing a bomb which explodes and kills the inquisitive enquirer who opens it is a new angle. (Were there Taliban in 1948?) And it genuinely is difficult in this film to guess whodunit, since the man who confesses at the beginning of the film is not guilty of killing the stiff. Also, the means of delivering a fatal poison to a man in a jail cell is novel and ingenious. I must remember that the next time my psychopathic neighbour is arrested, or perhaps when a certain crooked accountant finally gets locked up. When one thinks about it, there are so many candidates! Just joking. It so quaint that one man when questioned by the police in this film is asked why he carried a revolver to meet the murdered man (but didn't use it), he says as casually and nonchalantly as can be: 'I always carry a revolver.' And he is not challenged further. That was then and this is now. Ah, those were the days when a bulge in a pocket really did not mean one was pleased to see Mae West. There is a pathetic attempt to liven this film up by giving John Calvert a dog called Brains Trust (the real dog who plays the dog had the same name, funny that). But John Calvert is no William Powell, as Lloyd Bentsen might have said, and Brains Trust only knows how to bark, pant, and shake hands. That's it. Well, two more to go.

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