Friday, May 03, 2013

The Saint & The Falcon & Raymond Chandler

Ed here: I dimly recall seeing the Falcon (later The Saint) series in second run houses in the early Fifties. 

I still watch and enjoy them. Here's a fine piece from Classic Film and TV Cafe.

Farewell, My Falcon

Raymond Chandler--the creator of Philip Marlowe, one of literature's great detectives--signed a contract in 1941 for RKO to film his novel Farewell, My Lovely. The price: $2000. According to Frank McShane's The Life of Raymond Chandler, it was a decision the writer later regretted, blaming the "unparalleled stupidity on the part of my New York agent."

Even worse, RKO took Chandler's now-acclaimed novel and adapted it as The Falcon Takes Over (1942), a "B" detective film. It was the third entry in the Falcon film series, based on a gentleman detective created by Michael Arlen in a 1940 short story. In fact, the film's opening credits state the screenplay was "based on the character created by Michael Arlen" and then in smaller letters, it includes "From the novel Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler."

 Surprisingly, the plot adheres pretty closely to Chandler's novel with a big lug named Moose Malloy (Ward Bond) looking for his girlfriend Velma. Moose has recently escaped from the state pen, where he spent five years taking the rap for Velma's boss. Now, he's mad--and that's neck-breaking bad news for anyone getting in his way. After Moose kills a nightclub owner, Gay Lawrence (George Sanders) takes an interest in the case, especially the whereabouts of Velma. He also becomes involved with an alleged necklace theft, a beautiful icy blonde, and a fake psychic. Since this is a plot devised by Raymond Chandler, one can rest assured that somehow it all ties together. (Chandler often interwove plots from previously-written short stories into his novels; for Farewell, My Lovely, the stories were "Try the Girl" and "Mandarin's Jade.")

George Sanders as The Falcon,
with Lynn Bari.

for the rest go here:


Anonymous said...

Ed, I can't remember The Saint in the old movie houses but I do recall it on TV in the very early days. Loved it, and loved George Sanders!
The very essence of Brit coolness.

David said...

Dear Mr. Gorman:

I'm most familiar with your work through the Broadsides collection of your western stories, and I've been a reader of your blog for a while now. First, let me say that I'm very glad to see that you're doing well enough to post again -- and that I very much hope things continue as such.

Second, I was wondering if you'd be interested in doing a short interview for my blog (You can check out other interviews I've done with other writers, musicians and artists under the 'interviews' header at ).

Regarding this possible interview, you're likely familiar with Raymond Chandler and his second Philip Marlowe novel, "Farewell, My Lovely." I was pretty enamored with Chandler after I read "The Big Sleep," and eager to continue on, I dived into "Farewell . . .", only to completely lose interest when Marlowe, a man who is supposed to be the best man in his own world, and a good enough man for any world, referred to a dead black man as a nigger. I suppose a lot of people see this as reflecting Chandler's perspective as a man of his times, but knowing what Marlowe was supposed to be, and having read lots of Hammett's work in which no character ever stoops to that kind of prejudice, I was like, Forget this guy. I'd take the Continental Op or Ned Beaumont over Marlowe any day. I suppose it's not the usual casual interview fair, but I'd like very much to get your perspective on this and perhaps some writing stuff of a more general nature.

My blog is hardly the biggest venue, but I'd be more than happy to include a link to some of your work in any interview. If you were up for it, it'd be through either one email or a few back and forths, depending on your preference. To contact me, you could either leave a comment at my blog, or email

Of course, you may not be up for an interview, and that'd certainly be fine. I certainly wouldn't want anyone to extend themselves too much while they're recovering health-wise.

I know this has been more of an email than a comment, but your blog's contact email isn't up and running. Let me close by saying that I appreciate your time and that "The Face" is a story and a half.