Falcon Takes Over, The (1942): Third Chapter in the Mystery Series, Starring George Sanders

Irving Reis directed The Falcon Takes Over (aka The Falcon Steps Out), a B-level black-and-white mystery, which was the third in the series, after The Gay Falcon and A Date with the Falcon (1941), to star George Sanders as the character Gay Lawrence, a gentleman detective known by the sobriquet the Falcon.

The Falcon Takes Over
Farewell 1942.jpg

Brutish prison escapee Moose Malloy (Ward Bond) forces “Goldie” Locke (Allen Jenkins) to drive him to Club 13, a posh nightclub, where he hopes to reunite with his old girlfriend Velma.

After getting in the club and not finding Velma, he kills the club manager and forces Goldie to drive him away.

When Gay Lawrence (George Sanders), an amateur sleuth and Goldie’s boss, arrives at the club, he learns that Moose is the suspect; the manager died of a broken neck. Police Inspector Mike O’Hara (James Gleason) arrests Goldie as an accomplice, but after questioning, Goldie is released.

The film featured the Falcon and other characters created by Michael Arlen, but its plot derives from Raymond Chandler’s novel, Farewell, My Lovely. The Falcon substituted for Chandler’s archetypal private eye Philip Marlowe, and the setting of New York replaced Marlowe’s Los Angeles. The film was the second adaptation of a Marlowe story, after Time to Kill, released earlier in the year. That film also did not use Marlowe as main character, changing the name to Michael Shayne.


Directed by Irving Reis
Produced by Howard Benedict (producer)
J. R. McDonough (executive producer)
Screenplay by Lynn Root and Frank Fenton, based on Farewell, My Lovely (novel) by Raymond Chandler and Michael Arlen (characters)
Music by Constantin Bakaleinikoff (musical director, composer), Roy Webb (original music)

Cinematography George Robinson
Edited by Harry Marker

Production and distribution: RKO Radio Pictures

Release date: May 29, 1942

Running time: 65 minutes

TCM showed this movie on May 15, 2021.