The Gay Falcon 1941: All You Need To Know About This Film!



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The Gay Falcon is a B movie from 1941. It is the first of 16 movies about a cool detective who goes by the name of The Falcon. The first film was meant to replace the detective series The Saint. It was named after the main character, Gay Laurence. The main character was played by George Sanders, who had played The Saint in the previous RKO series. He’s working with Wendy Barrie again, who he’s worked with in three other Saint movies. Sanders played Gay Lawrence in the first four movies. In the rest, Sanders’ real-life brother, Tom Conway, played Gay Lawrence’s brother, Tom Lawrence.

About The Movie’s Story

Gay Laurence (George Sanders), known as the “Gay Falcon,” likes to flirt with women and try to solve crimes on his own. He reluctantly agrees to stop doing both of these things to make his fiancée, Elinor Benford, happy (Nina Vale). He and his rude sidekick, Jonathan “Goldie” Locke (Allen Jenkins), become unenthusiastic stockbrokers. When Elinor asks him to meet potential clients at a party thrown by Maxine Wood (Gladys Cooper), he says no.

But when Wood’s pretty assistant Helen Reed (Wendy Barrie) asks for his help, he can’t say no. It seems that jewels have been stolen from Wood’s parties, and she is especially worried about her guest Vera Gardner’s diamond (Lucile Gleason).

Elinor gets mad at the party when she finds out why Gay decided not to go. To get back at him, she dances with Manuel Retana (Turhan Bey). She takes the flower from Retana’s lapel and throws it at Gay because she is angry. He picks it up and puts it on his lapel in a calm way. Then, Vera Gardner makes Gay dance with her. She gives him her diamond in secret, which makes him very confused, and then she leaves the room. Soon after, someone shoots her, and she dies. As the killer is running away, Goldie sees him.

the gay falcon 1941

Goldie is taken to the police station because Bates (Edward Brophy) and Grimes (Eddie Dunn) think he killed someone. Gay convinces Inspector Mike Waldeck (Arthur Shields) to let Goldie go so that he can find the real killer. Then he and Helen leave Goldie in the car and go see Maxine. While they are gone, Gardner’s killer, Noel Weber, played by Damien O’Flynn, takes Goldie. Weber tells Goldie to call Gay and tell him that she is willing to trade her life for the diamond. Weber is shot, though, and the police find Goldie again near a dead body.

At this point, Gay thinks Gardner faked the theft of her diamond so she could get the insurance money. The flower was a sign telling Gardner who he should give the jewel to. It was supposed to be Retana. When the owner comes home, Gay and Helen have to hide because they broke into his apartment. He realises that someone has been there and opens a secret compartment to see if it has been found. He feels better and leaves the room. Gay sneaks in and takes a gun he finds in the compartment. He is pretty sure Weber shot himself with it. The police are sure it was used to kill someone.

Gay calls Elinor to tell her to stay away from the killer, but she thinks he’s lying out of jealousy and tells Retana so. Retana goes to Gay’s apartment, ties up his servant Jerry (Willie Fung), and holds a gun to Gay’s head when he comes home, demanding the diamond. When he thinks Helen at the door is the police, he runs away.

Gay goes to see Maxine with Inspector Waldeck because he is sure about his theory. She tells them that she has been getting threats, so while she sleeps, they stand guard in the living room. Retana gets into her room through the window, but when he tries to attack her, Gay and Waldeck rush in. When Retana falls down and dies, they are confused. Then Gay sees a hypodermic needle on the floor and picks it up. Gay stops Maxine from stepping on it and ruining the fingerprints that could be used as evidence. He tells her that she, her husband Weber, and Retana stole the money. The Webers planned to betray Retana, but he found out. When Goldie was taken, Gay knew she had to be involved because no one else knew where Goldie was.

the gay falcon 1941

The Cast And Its Characters

  • The Falcon, played by George Sanders as Gay Laurence
  • Wendy Barrie as Helen Reed
  • Allen Jenkins as “Goldie” Jonathan Locke
  • Nina Vale as Elinor Benford
  • Maxine Wood, played by Gladys Cooper
  • Detective Bates is played by Edward Brophy.
  • Inspector Mike Waldeck was played by Arthur Shields.
  • Damian O’Flynn as Noel Weber
  • Turhan Bey as Manuel Retana
  • Detective Grimes is played by Eddie Dunn
  • Lucile Gleason as Vera Gardner
  • Willie Fung as Jerry

the gay falcon 1941


RKO Radio Pictures made The Gay Falcon to replace The Saint series. They did this because the creator of The Saint, Leslie Charteris, was unhappy with how the studio was adapting his stories, especially with how George Sanders was playing the main character. Also, it would be too expensive to keep making movies with the second character.

After RKO decided to replace the “Saint” series, the studio began to search for a new mystery character similar to the “Saint”. The lead role went to George Sanders, who was on loan to RKO from 20th Century-Fox.

In March 1941, the studio bought the rights to “The Gay Falcon,” a story by Michael Arlen, saying that Sanders and Wendy Barrie would be in it.

They gave the script to Lynn Root and Frank Fenton to work on. Charteris then sued RKO, saying that “the Falcon was the Saint in disguise.”

In May 1941, filming began.

At one point, RKO thought about calling the movie Meet the Falcon. In the end, though, they went with The Gay Falcon.

In June 1941, RKO said that they would make a series out of the Falcon. Sanders, Barrie, and Allen Jenkins were named as the stars of the second movie in July.

In September 1941, RKO gave up on the Saint series for good. In November, 20th Century Fox gave RKO permission to work with Sanders on three more Falcon movies.

Critical Response

On the website Rotten Tomatoes, which collects reviews, the movie has a 100% approval rating based on one review. In his review of the Falcon series for The New York Times, Bosley Crowther said, “There must be a “Falcon” series; RKO seems determined to make it happen.” The Gay Falcon made $108,000.

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