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The Falcon in Hollywood

The Falcon in Hollywood(1944)


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The Falcon in Hollywood (1944)

Tom Conway returned for the tenth time as the crime-solver Tom Lawrence in The Falcon in Hollywood (1944). The advertising promised an inside look at the workings of a film studio, and filming on the RKO lot without special sets saved wartime dollars. Once again Tom (aka The Falcon) interrupts his vacation to investigate a crime - when he retrieves a lost purse at 'Sunset Studios' a rash of murders breaks out. Veteran Falcon scribe Michael Geraghty makes sure that the mystery makes full use of the studio grounds, with important clues turning up in a plaster model, a special effects miniature, a reel of film, and a jewel from the eye of a fancy statue. Pretty girls are also involved in every step of the whodunit, namely Barbara Hale as a starlet, Jean Brooks as a costumer, and Veda Ann Borg as a cabdriver who also works as a stuntwoman. John Abbott is a pretentious producer who likes to spout Shakespeare quotations, and perennial gangster Sheldon Leonard is a casino manager who thinks his movie investment is being stolen. Director Gordon Douglas also moves the action around town, to Leonard's racetrack, the empty Coliseum and a fancy swimming pool. But it all boils down to a crooked movie deal by a filmmaker who wants to pocket his investors' dollars - rather like Mel Brooks' later comedy The Producers (1967). The final showdown on a movie set is a riff on the classic The Phantom of the Opera (1925), aided by the expressive lighting of RKO's ace cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca. Suave Tom Conway would play The Falcon three more times before retiring from the role in 1946. Capable director Gordon Douglas would continue to labor in the 'B' movie trenches for a few more years, before becoming an 'A' list director in the 1950s.

By Glenn Erickson

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