The Falcon in Danger
|The Falcon in Danger|
|Produced by||Maurice Geraghty|
|Based on||Characters created
by Michael Arlen
|Music by||Roy Webb|
|Edited by||George Crone|
|Distributed by||RKO Pictures|
The Falcon in Danger is a 1943 American mystery film directed by William Clemens and starring Tom Conway, Jean Brooks, Amelita Ward and Elaine Shepard. The film was part of The Falcon series of detective films.
At a New York airport, a passenger aircraft coming in from Washington D.C., crash-lands at a crowded airport, however nobody is on board the jet. The aircraft had been hijacked at its previous stop with all but the pilot and two leading industrialists left behind. In addition to the three men, $100,000 worth of securities is also missing.
Although he promised his "fiancée" from Texas, Bonnie Caldwell (Amelita Ward), that he will give up solving crime, Tom Lawrence (Tom Conway), aka The Falcon, can't resist the lure of a fresh mystery. When she receives a ransom note, Nancy Palmer (Elaine Shepard) asks for his help in locating her father (Clarence Kolb), one of the missing industrialists. One of the Falcon's prime suspects is Nancy's jealous cousin Iris (Jean Brooks).
Police Inspector Timothy Donovan (Cliff Clark) and his assistant, Bates (Edward Gargan), are called to investigate the mystery. Later, all the passengers, except for Nancy's father, Stanley Harris Palmer, and his assistant, Wally Fairchild (Robert Emmett Keane), are found stranded at a rest stop. Nancy is told to leave $25,000 at a drinking fountain on Park Road, while Iris tells Tom that she suspects Nancy's fiancé, Ken Gibson (Richard Davies), told the kidnappers that Fairchild was carrying $100,000 in securities.
Tom accompanies Iris and Nancy to the Palmer's house and later sees Nancy leave a box by the drinking fountain. When two men collect the box, Tom follows their car on horseback and finds it belongs to an antique store owned by George Morley (Richard Martin). Donovan announces that Palmer has returned home alive; he and Fairchild stayed on the aircraft but strangers robbed Palmer at gunpoint, ordered him to parachute from the aircraft while the pilot set the controls on autopilot. More clues to the mystery appear, Tom finds a piece of junk that appears to be part of the aircraft and the missing securities which he turns over to Donovan.
Donovan suspects Fairchild but state troopers report the missing pilot and Fairchild have been found dead in a field. Morley becomes the next likely culprit but disappears. As he unravels the mystery, Tom reconstructs the second part of the flight. With other passengers gone, Palmer killed Fairchild who had proof of Palmer's cheating the government, then after take off, had also killed the pilot and dumped the bodies.
Palmer's dog attacks Morley in the antique store. Just then, Donovan arrives in time to see Tom shoot and kill Palmer in self-defense. Later at the airport, Bonnie tells Tom she is going home to Texas by herself. Dejected, Tom declares that he is forsaking all women, until a pretty co-ed approaches him, asking for his help.
- Tom Conway as Tom Lawrence / The Falcon
- Jean Brooks as Iris Fairchild
- Elaine Shepard as Nancy Palmer
- Amelita Ward as Bonnie Caldwell
- Cliff Clark as Insp. Timothy Donovan
- Edward Gargan as Det. Bates
- Clarence Kolb as Stanley Harris Palmer
- Felix Basch as Morley
- Richard Davies as Kenneth Gibson
- Richard Martin as George Morley
- Erford Gage as Evan Morley
- Eddie Dunn as Det. Grimes
- Ian Wolfe as Thomas
- Art Dupuis as Air raid warden
- George De Normand as Policeman
- Bob Thom as Excited man
- Harry Semels as Excited man
- Sid Troy as Excited man
- Elmer Jerome as Eric
- Rosemary LaPlancheas Nurse (credited as Rosemary La Planche)
- Robert Emmett Keane as Wally Fairchild (credited as Robert E. Keane)
- Lew Kelly as Guard
- Lynton Brent as Guard
- Eddie Borden as Welder
- Hooper Atchley as Dr. Oliver
- Bruce Edwards as Mechanic
- Robert Andersen as Airport attendant
- Joan Barclay as Hysterical girl
- Selmer Jackson as Airline official
- Charles Trowbridge as Palmer's doctor
Principal photography on The Falcon in Danger took place from April 13 to early-May 1943. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, growing popularity of the Falcon series led to rushing the film into production. The previous film in the series, The Falcon Strikes Back was filmed from January 19 to early-February 1943.
To conserve costs, the main entrance and several buildings on the studio lot were camouflaged to look like an airport. The aircraft depicted were a miniature Lockheed Model 10 Electra and stock footage of a Douglas DC-3 in flight, and the Capelis XC-12, a failed 1933 twin-engine transport aircraft that found new life at RKO as a non-flying movie prop.
Film historians Richard Jewell and Vernon Harbin described The Falcon in Danger as ann attempt to "upgrade the romantic appeal of the Falcon series". Further, "Screenwriters Fed Niblo Jr. and Craig Rice did a fairly smooth job of working the beauties into their story, an otherwise standard whodunit involving a double murder and the theft of $100,000 in securities.
- Jewell and Harbin 1982, p. 185.
- Drew 2003, p. 119.
- "Original print information: 'The Falcon Strikes Back'." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: September 5, 2016.
- "Original print information: 'The Falcon In Danger'." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: September 5, 2016.
- Orriss 1984, pp. 59–61.
- Drew, Bernard A. Motion Picture Series and Sequels: A Reference Guide. London: Routledge, 2013. ISBN 978-1-1389-7650-4.
- Jewell, Richard and Vernon Harbin. The RKO Story. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1982. ISBN 978-0-7064-1285-7.
- Orriss, Bruce. When Hollywood Ruled the Skies: The Aviation Film Classics of World War II. Hawthorne, California: Aero Associates Inc., 1984. ISBN 0-9613088-0-X.