George Sanders and Allen Jenkins in The Gay Falcon (1941)

The Falcon's no Saint

Elinor Benford (Nina Vale) wants her fiancee Gay Laurence (George Sanders), aka The Falcon, to give up other women and solving crime and has given him the ultimatum that he has three months to show he has changed his ways or their marriage is off. But for Gay it is impossible to change his ways and when he is visited by the attractive Helen Reed (Wendy Barrie) who tells him about some jewellery thefts at society parties he can't resist investigating especially as Elinor wants him to attend one of these parties with her. But things don't go well as there is a murder and Gay's loyal friend Jonathan G. 'Goldie' Locke (Allen Jenkins) gets accused of the murder by the police. So now Gay is back on the job with a crime to solve and the police to tangle with.

It is said that RKO started making "The Falcon" movies because Leslie Charteris, author of "The Saint" stories, had become such a nuisance over their adaptation in to movies that they had enough. I don't know how much truth there is in that but what "The Falcon" allowed RKO do was to come up with a new series of movies which had more life to them something which "The Saint" movies had started to lack. Basically it allowed RKO to start again and breathe some life in to the formula and whilst technically not a remake "The Falcon" movies are very similar to "The Saint" movies.

Now "The Gay Falcon" is the first in the series of "The Falcon" movies and whilst we have this crime story it is really just a vehicle to introduce us to the central characters who would keep on returning be it the side kick comedy of Jonathan G. 'Goldie' Locke or the frustrations of Detective Bates having to deal with the manipulative Falcon. But most importantly it introduced us to Gay Laurence with George Sanders playing him with the right amount of comic abandon to make him both a smooth operator with an eye for a beautiful woman but also a smart cookie when it comes to solving crime and dealing with Detective Bates.

What this all boils down to is that "The Gay Falcon" is an entertaining opening movie to "The Falcon" franchise which establishes the characters, the movies tone and gives us a crime story as well although one which doesn't grab you as much as the characters do.