The Falcon in San Francisco


1h 6m 1945
The Falcon in San Francisco

Brief Synopsis

A society sleuth enlists a little girl's help in nabbing a mob of silk smugglers.

Film Details

Genre
Crime
Mystery
Release Date
Jan 1945
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 20 Jul 1945
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 6m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,918 or 5,921ft

Synopsis

Tom Lawrence, the debonair sleuth known as "The Falcon," and his sidekick, Goldy Locke, are traveling on a train bound for San Francisco when they meet Annie Marshall, a lonely little girl who tells them that she is being held prisoner by her nurse, Miss Carla Keyes, and butler Loomis. Annie's story is cut short when Miss Keyes comes to reclaim her charge, but soon after, Annie races back into the club car to announce that Miss Keyes is dead. Tom, suspecting murder, offers to take Annie home, but when they reach San Francisco, a mysterious man notifies the police that Annie has been kidnapped and Tom is arrested. He is released on $10,000 bail, which is posted by Doreen Temple, who promises to disclose the motive behind her generosity that night at dinner.

At the restaurant, after Doreen excuses herself from the table, her thug Rickey, posing as a police officer, tricks Tom into leaving with him. Rickey knocks Tom unconscious and takes him to Doreen's apartment where she interrogates him about Miss Keyes's murder and orders him to tell racketeer Peter Vantine to stay away from the S. S. Citadel . Rickey then dumps Tom on a street far from the apartment. Upon returning to his hotel, Tom finds Goldy, and the two decide to pay a visit to Annie's house, where they meet her older sister Joan. After Joan denies that she knows Vantine or Doreen, Annie assures Tom that she is not being held hostage, and the detectives leave.

Later that night, Tom and Goldy sneak into the house through an open window in Annie's room. Annie then confides that Loomis is holding her prisoner and takes Tom to search Miss Keyes's room, where he finds a photograph of a ship's officer bearing the inscription "to my dear wife Carla, love Abel." In their search of the room, Goldy knocks over a lamp and the noise draws Loomis to the room. As he opens the door, a shot rings out, and the butler falls dead. After grabbing the photo, Tom and Goldy climb out the window and return to their hotel room, where an armed Vantine knocks on the door and demands the picture. After Tom disarms him, Vantine tells the detective that Doreen was the paramour of the bootlegging racketeer, Duke Monette, who taught her his trade.

To trap Doreen, Tom visits the Star Coastal lines to inquire about Abel. There, he meets DeForrest, the company's general manager, and discovers Joan in DeForrest's office. DeForrest explains that Joan is the owner of the company and that Abel is the first mate aboard the S. S. Citadel . Tom invites Joan to lunch, and as they leave the office, the receptionist presents Tom with Abel's address. In reality, the receptionist is in league with Doreen, and the address is that of Doreen's apartment. After Tom and Joan walk into Doreen's trap, Doreen warns Tom not to interfere with the unloading of the ship's cargo. Vantine, who has also been lured into the trap, arrives and begins to fight with Doreen's thugs. In the ensuing confusion, Tom and Joan escape and Tom returns to his hotel room, where he finds DeForrest hiding in the closet. DeForrest insists that his concern for Joan brought him there, and after he leaves, Goldy shows Tom a newspaper clipping stating that Duke Monette owns the S. S. Citadel .

That night, Tom and Goldy sneak aboard the ship and discover raw silk hidden among the bales of hemp cargo. When Tom shows DeForrest the silk, he orders all the cargo reloaded. From the docks, Tom proceeds to the Marshall house, hoping that Joan will lead him to Duke. After Annie tells Tom that Joan has gone to visit her "secret lover" on Telegraph Hill, he follows her and watches as Joan meets DeForrest. Tom then unmasks DeForrest as Duke Monette, who admits that he is using a false identity to protect his daughters, Joan and Annie. When Tom warns Duke that Doreen plans to hijack the Citadel 's cargo that night, Duke asks for the detective's help.

Later that night, Duke and Tom watch as Vantine, Doreen and the other hijackers board the boat. After Duke knocks the engineer unconscious, causing an explosion in the unattended boiler room, he pulls a gun on Doreen and Tom. Tom informs Doreen that Duke killed Miss Keyes and Loomis, the employees she hired to watch his daughters. When Tom warns that Duke plans to blow up the ship, Doreen and Rickey lunge forward to disarm Duke, who shoots them both. Before Rickey collapses, he shoots Duke, which allows Tom to flee before the ship explodes.

Film Details

Genre
Crime
Mystery
Release Date
Jan 1945
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 20 Jul 1945
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 6m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,918 or 5,921ft

Articles

The Falcon in San Francisco -


Did the butler do it? No, the butler can't be the murderer because he's killed in reel 2. 1945's The Falcon in San Francisco, RKO's eleventh outing for the Falcon series, is certainly complicated in the plot department, as several critics said they found the story difficult to follow. Writer Robert E. Kent's tangled scenario begins with a murder in the club car of a train, and soon moves to smuggling intrigues on the docks. The detective hero and playboy Tom Lawrence, aka The Falcon (Tom Conway) must deal with a family hiding dark secrets, while juggling two beautiful women with ulterior motives (Fay Helm and Rita Corday). A sinister butler is indeed found dead in the second reel, and Tom is arrested for kidnapping a small child (Sharyn Moffett). One critic noted that The Falcon ended the previous film handcuffed to a blonde, and wanted to know how that was resolved. But Lawrence is actually less of a skirt-chaser in this installment. Perhaps RKO was running out of starlets to play glamorous walk-ons, as beauties like Rita Corday and Jean Brooks returned in more than one Falcon feature, playing different roles. After being written out for several movies The Falcon's sidekick Goldie returns, played by the amusing Edward Brophy. Goldie's comic obsession this time is with the idea of getting married, because he's heard of the additional income tax deduction. The director of The Falcon in San Francisco is Joseph H. Lewis, who would soon earn critical accolades with moody thrillers like My Name is Julia Ross. Perhaps Lewis' ease with action explains why this episode in The Falcon series is more violent than usual - the climax is a big shoot-out, followed by an exploding cargo ship.

By Glenn Erickson
The Falcon In San Francisco -

The Falcon in San Francisco -

Did the butler do it? No, the butler can't be the murderer because he's killed in reel 2. 1945's The Falcon in San Francisco, RKO's eleventh outing for the Falcon series, is certainly complicated in the plot department, as several critics said they found the story difficult to follow. Writer Robert E. Kent's tangled scenario begins with a murder in the club car of a train, and soon moves to smuggling intrigues on the docks. The detective hero and playboy Tom Lawrence, aka The Falcon (Tom Conway) must deal with a family hiding dark secrets, while juggling two beautiful women with ulterior motives (Fay Helm and Rita Corday). A sinister butler is indeed found dead in the second reel, and Tom is arrested for kidnapping a small child (Sharyn Moffett). One critic noted that The Falcon ended the previous film handcuffed to a blonde, and wanted to know how that was resolved. But Lawrence is actually less of a skirt-chaser in this installment. Perhaps RKO was running out of starlets to play glamorous walk-ons, as beauties like Rita Corday and Jean Brooks returned in more than one Falcon feature, playing different roles. After being written out for several movies The Falcon's sidekick Goldie returns, played by the amusing Edward Brophy. Goldie's comic obsession this time is with the idea of getting married, because he's heard of the additional income tax deduction. The director of The Falcon in San Francisco is Joseph H. Lewis, who would soon earn critical accolades with moody thrillers like My Name is Julia Ross. Perhaps Lewis' ease with action explains why this episode in The Falcon series is more violent than usual - the climax is a big shoot-out, followed by an exploding cargo ship. By Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The onscreen credits misspell actress Fay Helm's name as "Faye" Helm. A Hollywood Reporter production chart places Russell Hopton and Frank Puglia in the cast, but they did not appear in the viewed print. A news item in Hollywood Reporter notes that parts of this film were shot on location in San Francisco, CA. This film was Maurice Geraghty's last production for RKO. For additional information about the series, consult the Series Index and for The Gay Falcon.