Monday, January 4, 2010

A Month of Mysteries: The Falcon and the Co-Eds

I love mysteries and films with clever settings. The Falcon and the Co-Eds (1944) offers both in one 67-minute RKO movie. The Falcon, otherwise known as Tom Lawrence (and portrayed by Tom Conway), is entreated to visit Bluecliff Seminary, an all-girls’ school, where a male instructor has died. A student named Jane Harris, the daughter of a friend of the Falcon, seeks him out and tells him that her psychic roommate, Marguerita Serena, said the teacher was murdered. The police arrive as she drives off in the Falcon’s car, knowing he will have to come out to the school to retrieve it.

At the little town just outside where Bluecliff is located, the Falcon meets three fun young girls, who are the daughters of the caretaker at the school, and rides in with them in the school car. They provide information and legwork for the Falcon and some comic relief for movie watchers. The credits refer to them as the first, second, and third Ughs but these talented young ladies sing as well as act.

The story focuses on the young psychic, three members of the faculty (played by Jean Brooks, Isabel Jewell, and George Givot), and the headmistress Miss Keyes (Barbara Brown). The ivy-covered buildings are charming but it is the seaside setting, complete with the Devil’s Ladder cut out from the rocks and leading to a narrow ledge that lends intrigue and provides the perfect place for the film’s climax.

Technically, Tom Conway took over the reel part of the Falcon’s brother from his real-life brother George Sanders, who is reported to have fatigued with the B-movie role. Conway first appeared in The Falcon’s Brother (1942) and then in nine additional offerings where he was referred to as simply the Falcon.

Jean Brooks appeared as different characters in six Falcon offerings. She and Isabel Jewell appeared together again in The Leopard Man, written by Ardel Wray, who also did the story and screenplay for The Falcon and the Co-Eds. Two of the Ughs were sisters and also appeared in The Falcon in Mexico.


  1. What a pleasant surprise, toto! I always enjoyed The Falcon movies, especially the ones with Tom Conway. He was a likable performer and I always wondered why he didn't get better roles. This is easily the best of The Falcon series. I agree that the school and the seaside setting provide a great backdrop for the mystery and the three young girls are delightful as the comic relief. Great choice.

    1. I remember all the falcon films and I am sure that jinx falconberg played in one of them but cannot find out which one can you

  2. Excellent review toto, as always. I'm not familiar with the FALCON series but will definitely be checking them out -- starting with this one, of course -- if I can find them. (They don't seem to be on Netflix, which, for me, makes them elusive little buggers...)

  3. Toto, I enjoyed reading your pick for A Month of mysteries. I'm a huge fan of mysteries. I will add this film to my " gotta see list"

  4. I enjoyed going back and finding this review thanks to the mention at my blog today. :) Very much agree with it, this was a fun film.

    Have been trying to remember where I saw the main school building, I think it was in one or maybe even two other film noir titles I've seen but can't think of what they were offhand!

    Best wishes,