Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The Falcon and The Co-Eds

Ed here: When I got back from Mayo this spring my friend Max Allan Collins had a great gift waiting for me--a DVD of Falcon movies. Here's an fine review of one of the best of them from The Stalking Moon. Go here for the whole  article.

More moody and atmospheric than the series' norm, The Falcon and the Co-Eds mixes a pinch of Daphne Du Maurier-esque melodrama into the formula, as Lawrence finds himself posing as an insurance investigator looking into the suspicious death of a popular male teacher at the all-girls Bluecliff Academy. The local coroner's verdict was death by suicide, but the Falcon soon susses out that the man was deliberately poisoned. Several members of the staff at the school, and even a few students, find themselves on the suspect list, including the sultry, hard-boiled Ms. Gaines (Jean Brooks); her sometime paramour, Dr. Anatole Graelich (George Givot), a psychologist with a shady past; Marguerita (Rita Corday), a troubled young student who claims clairvoyance; the flighty Mary Phoebus (Isabel Jewell); and the school's headmistress, Miss Keyes (Barbara Brown), who seems intent on covering up any trace of scandal that might damage the Academy's reputation. The Falcon follows his usual M.O., poking around looking for clues and motives, looking suave and bemused whilst flirting with any attractive woman who crosses his path (though he's fairly decorous with the adoring throng of schoolgirls who trail after him) and having fun one-upping homicide cops (and series' regulars) Inspector Donovan (Cliff Clark) and Detective Bates (Edward Gargan).

On the night of a benefit performance by the school's drama and music club, another murder occurs, this time implicating Marguerita. Eventually, and with the help of three precocious little daughters of one of the school's patrons, nicknamed the "Ughs", Lawrence gets to the bottom of the case. The Falcon and the Co-Eds benefits from its wind-swept, seaside location and the customary interest inherent in any murder mystery set in academic surroundings. There's still plenty of cute comedy moments throughout, such as when Donovan and Bates chase a suspect into the girls' dormitory and get angrily tossed out on their ear by the elderly den mothers ("The very idea! Two grown men frightening young girls! Aren't you ashamed of yourselves?"
 Gates: "We didn't do nuthin', lady. We just walked through a door. We're police officers!") The supporting cast is good value, including Amelita Ward and Patti Brill as older students making goo-goo eyes at the Falcon, as well as familiar faces Olin Howland (as the Bluecliff driver) and Ian Wolfe (as a duplicitous undertaker).

The Falcon confronts Ms. Gaines (Jean Brooks).

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