The Falcon’s Alibi (1946)
The twelfth film in the Falcon series
Although Rita Corday portrays a character named Joan like she did in the previous Falcon film this time her last name is Meredith (not Marshall) in her sixth (and final) appearance in the series. Vincent Barnett plays Goldie. A couple of known actors also appear: Jane Greer (Out of the Past (1947)) and Elisha Cook Jr. (The Maltese Falcon (1941)) as well as several actors that appeared in earlier Falcon films Esther Howard Jason Robards Sr. and Emory Parnell.
The film begins at a racetrack where the Falcon (Tom Conway) and Goldie meet a rich woman Gloria Peabody (Ms. Howard who played a different Mrs. Peabody in the previous Falcon film) and her entourage including Joan (Ms. Corday) her personal assistant and Harvey Beaumont (Robards Sr.). They are being closely monitored by Metcalf (Mr. Parnell) an insurance man who (in lieu of the police in this film) serves as the comic foil for the Falcon and his sidekick. Metcalf who recently paid Mrs. Peabody a large settlement for some jewels which were stolen suspects Joan had something to do with it. At Joan’s urging the Falcon and Goldie join the group which is celebrating Mrs. Peabody’s 37th (ha!) birthday party when it moves to her hotel.
Ms. Greer’s character Lola Carpenter is introduced as a singer at the hotel where there is also a radio station on the penthouse level. The station’s late night disc jockey Nick (Cook Jr.) is secretly married to Lola. We (though none of the characters in the film) see Nick returning to the station through the fire escape shortly after a man is murdered in Mrs. Peabody’s suite where it turns out her pearls were stolen. The police inspector (Al Bridge a familiar character actor) with input from Metcalf suspects the Falcon until Joan vouches for him. The Falcon and Goldie are later shot at (for no apparent reason other than it kind of helps the plot later) from the fire escape outside their hotel room window.
The next day while relaxing by the pool with Lola the Falcon discovers that the 11 carat ring she’s wearing which she believes is fake is actually real. Shortly thereafter while lunching with Mrs. Peabody et al the Falcon arranges for Goldie to cause a smudge fire in Beaumont’s hotel room to witness surreptitiously that he has the pearls hidden in a false book in his room. The Falcon decides to take the pearls to “smoke out” the fence whom he presumes (correctly) is the nightclub operator. After denying he is the fence the nightclub operator has the Falcon tailed. But the Falcon suspects this and mails the pearls to himself to avoid losing them.
The mailed pearls arrive about the same time the police inspector visits the Falcon’s hotel room. However when they go to question Beaumont about them it’s discovered that he’s been killed. So naturally the Falcon is arrested. After showing the police inspector how clever he is especially in comparison to his accuser Metcalf the Falcon is given 24 hours to solve the crimes or face the charges himself.
The Falcon discovers the connection between Lola and the disc jockey as well as another secret relationship. Another person is murdered and the Falcon is again a suspect. But of course he escapes and arrives just in time to save the day.
The film ends with an unnecessary twist and no lead in to the next (and last) film in the series.