The Falcon in Mexico


1h 10m 1944
The Falcon in Mexico

Brief Synopsis

A society sleuth travels South of the border to investigate an art dealer's murder.

Film Details

Genre
Crime
Mystery
Release Date
Jan 1944
Premiere Information
New York opening: 4 Nov 1944
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on a character created by Michael Arlen.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,286ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

Tom Lawrence, the debonair sleuth known as "The Falcon," comes to the aid of Dolores Ybarra when he finds the girl hiding in a doorway and she implores him to help her retrieve a stolen portrait that she had painted. After breaking into the art gallery, Tom realizes that Dolores was the model and not the artist. Just as Tom discovers the dead body of the art dealer, the security guards arrive, alerted by a burglar alarm. The guards are skeptical of Tom's story because Dolores has vanished and the portrait was painted by Humphrey Wade, an artist who has been dead for fifteen years, and therefore could not have employed the youthful Dolores as his model. When the guards try to arrest him, Tom escapes with the painting and goes to the home of Winthrop "Lucky Diamond" Hughes, a collector of Wade's work. Hughes, who is known as Lucky Diamond because of the enormous ring he wears, identifies the painting as a genuine Wade and suggests that Tom question Wade's daughter Barbara. Tom visits Barbara's apartment, but when no one answers her door, he breaks in and discovers a stack of newspaper clippings regarding the sale of Dolores' portrait. After Barbara returns home, Tom asks her about the painting, and she responds that she believes her father is still alive. When the police, who have been sent by Hughes, arrive at the apartment, Tom decides to journey to Mexico, Wade's burial place, and Barbara insists on accompanying him. After eluding the police, Barbara and Tom fly to Mexico City. At the airport, Barbara slips away from Tom and is met by a car from the La Casa Del Laga Inn. After Barbara drives away, Tom hires taxi driver Manuel Romero and his son Pancho to follow her. They trail her to the inn, which is located in a country village. There, Barbara explains to Tom that she has come to the inn because her father lived and worked there. When Barbara introduces Tom to her stepmother Raquel, a dancer, and Raquel's partner and new husband Anton, Anton warns the detective to leave Barbara alone and get out of Mexico. At a fountain the next morning, Raquel asks Tom to abandon his search for Wade, and Tom accuses her of trying to truncate his investigation for fear that she would be judged a bigamist if Wade were still alive. Back at the inn, Paula Dudley, the desk clerk, shows Barbara and Tom Wade's studio, which she has kept intact. As Barbara leaves the studio, she senses her father's presence behind a locked door, so Tom picks the lock. Inside the room, they find a drawing done in Wade's style, its paint still wet. At that moment, Paula appears at the door and orders them out of her room. Questioned about the painting, she asserts that it is her own work, but Tom suggests that she may be creating Wade forgeries. Returning to his own room, Tom surprises Dolores, who is searching for her portrait. Tom pursues her into the hallway, but when he loses her, he returns to his room and is about to retrieve the painting when a man knocks him unconscious and steals it. After regaining consciousness, Tom questions Paula about Dolores, and she tells him that the girl is the daughter of Don Carlos Ybarra. When Tom informs Don Carlos that his daughter might be in danger, the old man tells the detective that Dolores traveled to the United States to help an artist friend recover a painting. Don Carlos and Tom begin to search for Dolores, but are too late, for her body is found drowned in the lake. Tom then returns to his hotel room, where he finds Manuel going through his luggage and fires him. Soon after, Hughes arrives at the hotel without his famous diamond ring. At dinner that night, Barbara collapses at the table, a victim of poisoning. When Tom concludes that whoever poisoned Barbara also killed Dolores and the art dealer to prevent them from discovering if Wade is alive, Paula remarks that Raquel has a strong motive to insure Wade remains dead. Anton responds by accusing Paula of killing the art dealer because he recognized her forgeries of Wade's paintings. After Barbara recovers from the poison, Paula disappears and Tom searches her room and finds the missing portrait hidden in her desk. Tom then goes to the lake looking for Paula, where he finds her dead body in a boat. As he approaches the corpse, Manuel appears and reveals that he is an undercover Mexican police officer. Back at the plaza, Barbara leaves with a woman who has offered to take her to her father. When Tom and Manuel return to the inn, they discover that Barbara is missing and follow her to an island, where they find her at her father's graveside. When Tom removes the headstone, however, they discover that the crypt is empty, prompting the woman to admit that Anton paid her to bring Barbara to the grave. As the villagers celebrate a fiesta, Manuel's officers report that a dancer's costume has been stolen, and Tom deduces that Wade must have stolen it to disguise himself. When Tom and Manuel leave to question the dancers, a masked man approaches Barbara and reveals himself to be her father. Wade explains that he disappeared because his life was a failure, but when his paintings became valuable after his alleged suicide, he could not turn back. As he begins to warn Barbara that their lives are in danger, he is shot in the back and falls to the ground, dead. Drawn by the sound of the gunshot, Tom concludes that Hughes killed Wade because a living artist would render his paintings worthless. When Manuel confirms Hughes' s financial troubles and the sale of his diamond ring, they decide to set a trap for Hughes by pretending that Wade is still alive. After donning Wade's disguise, Tom walks onto the plaza and Hughes takes aim from a balcony. Before he can fire, however, he is shot by Manuel and falls from his perch. With the killer brought to justice, Tom bids farewell to his Mexican friends and boards a plane bound for home.

Film Details

Genre
Crime
Mystery
Release Date
Jan 1944
Premiere Information
New York opening: 4 Nov 1944
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on a character created by Michael Arlen.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,286ft (7 reels)

Articles

The Falcon in Mexico -


The Falcon in Mexico (1944) is the 9th of 16 Falcon whodunits produced by RKO Radio Pictures and the fifth to star Tom Conway, who inherited the series from his younger brother, George Sanders. Sanders had first appeared as rogue adventurer Gay Lawrence in The Gay Falcon (1941), after having played the similar Simon Templar, aka The Saint, in five films based on the mystery novels of Leslie Charteris. When Sanders grew weary of playing The Falcon, RKO teamed him up with Conway for The Falcon's Brother (1942), which ended with Gay Lawrence's heroic death and Tom shouldering the family business alone. The Falcon in Mexico finds Tom drawn into a murder investigation in which he is the prime suspect; following the trail of evidence to Mexico, he uncovers a murder-for-profit plot involving a long-dead artist who may or may not be truly deceased. Made inexpensively (the average Falcon feature cost in the neighborhood of $125,000), The Falcon in Mexico derives great production value from its South of the Border setting-made possible through the reuse of footage from Orson Welles' unfinished anthology It's All True (1942); with segments shot in Mexico and Brazil, It's All True was to have been Welles' third RKO picture, until the production fell victim to a studio regime change. At the time of its release, The Falcon in Mexico earned high critical marks, with Boxoffice declaring it "one of the best of the tried-and-true whodunit series." Conway would play The Falcon seven more times before RKO retired the franchise in 1946.

By Richard Harland Smith
The Falcon In Mexico -

The Falcon in Mexico -

The Falcon in Mexico (1944) is the 9th of 16 Falcon whodunits produced by RKO Radio Pictures and the fifth to star Tom Conway, who inherited the series from his younger brother, George Sanders. Sanders had first appeared as rogue adventurer Gay Lawrence in The Gay Falcon (1941), after having played the similar Simon Templar, aka The Saint, in five films based on the mystery novels of Leslie Charteris. When Sanders grew weary of playing The Falcon, RKO teamed him up with Conway for The Falcon's Brother (1942), which ended with Gay Lawrence's heroic death and Tom shouldering the family business alone. The Falcon in Mexico finds Tom drawn into a murder investigation in which he is the prime suspect; following the trail of evidence to Mexico, he uncovers a murder-for-profit plot involving a long-dead artist who may or may not be truly deceased. Made inexpensively (the average Falcon feature cost in the neighborhood of $125,000), The Falcon in Mexico derives great production value from its South of the Border setting-made possible through the reuse of footage from Orson Welles' unfinished anthology It's All True (1942); with segments shot in Mexico and Brazil, It's All True was to have been Welles' third RKO picture, until the production fell victim to a studio regime change. At the time of its release, The Falcon in Mexico earned high critical marks, with Boxoffice declaring it "one of the best of the tried-and-true whodunit series." Conway would play The Falcon seven more times before RKO retired the franchise in 1946. By Richard Harland Smith

Quotes

Trivia

The exterior footage is supposedly from Orson Welles' never-completed RKO documentary It's All True (1993).

Notes

A Hollywood Reporter production chart places Fortunio Bonanova in the cast, but he was not in the released film. According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, background scenes for this picture were filmed in Mexico. For additional information about the series, consult the Series Index and for The Gay Falcon.