Classic Film Guide

The Falcon in Mexico (1944)

The ninth film in the Falcon series

A little different than earlier films in the series, this one is the first film since A Date with the Falcon without Edward Gargan as Detective Bates and first one without Cliff Clark as the Police Inspector since The Falcon's Brother, when Clark took over the role from noted character actor James Gleason.  Also, a single character Manuel (Nester Paiva), who "adopts" the Falcon (Tom Conway) when he arrives in Mexico, provides much of the comic relief, service and other roles normally played by a sidekick, houseboy etc..

The film begins with the Falcon kissing his girlfriend goodnight, promising her he'll not get involved in another crime solving case.  After avoiding walking under a ladder and a black cat crossing his path, he sees a beautiful woman (Dolores, played by Cecilia Cellejo) attempting to break into an art gallery. He cannot help himself. She tells him she is trying to retrieve a painting of hers inside and he helps her only to find, once inside, that the painting is a portrait of her, and that the art dealer has been murdered. About this time, some "rent a cops" show up, the girl disappears, and the Falcon is suspected of the murder.

He learns that the painting was done by deceased artist Humphrey Wade, making it valuable, and that it was recently purchased by a collector of Wade's paintings, "Diamond" Hughes (Emory Parnell). Of course, the Falcon escapes with the painting before the police arrive and heads to Hughes' house.  Hughes doesn't know the identity of the girl in the painting, didn't even know of this painting's existence until recently, but suggests that perhaps the artist's daughter (who lives nearby) knows more.

When the Falcon meets Wade's daughter (Martha Vickers), she reveals that she believes her father may still be alive.  They agree to go together to Mexico, where her father did his painting, but she "ditches" him shortly after they arrive. A taxi driver, Manuel, and his son help the Falcon follow the daughter to the hotel that was the artist's residence. Manuel becomes as ever present as the Falcon, appearing in most scenes and/or at critical times throughout the movie, delivering broken English lines reminiscent of Yogi Berra.

The proprietor of the hotel (Mary Currier), who acts suspiciously, and the song & dance couple (Mona Maris and Joseph Vitale) working there, are all found to have a connection with the former artist. The woman in the musical team is the stepmother of Wade's daughter, who also turns up at the hotel.  Dolores, the woman in the painting (which is stolen from the Falcon's room, and later found in proprietor's room), makes a brief appearance before she disappears again, we meet her father (Pedro de Cordoba), and she is found dead by fisherman. Once "Diamond" Hughes arrives, everyone with any kind of connection to Humphrey Wade and/or a motive for wanting him (to stay?) dead is checked in to the hotel. We also learn more about Manuel.

There is song and dance entertainment throughout this film.  There are also some beautiful lake scenes including butterfly fishing boats, as well as a "Carnival" celebration on the island across the lake.  Of course, the Falcon solves the mystery and catches the murderer (by putting himself at risk). However, this film does not include a (fairly typical) lead in to the next film in the series.

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