The Falcon Mystery Movie Collection, Volume Two (1944 – 1946/Warner Archive DVDs)/Iron Man: Rise Of Technovore (2012/Marvel
Comics/Sony Blu-ray)/Wonder Woman
(1974 TV Movie/Pilot/Warner Archive DVD)
Picture: C+/B-/C+ Sound: C+/B-/C+ Extras: D/C+/D Main Programs: C/C+/B-
PLEASE NOTE: The Falcon and Wonder Woman
DVDs are only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series
and can be ordered from the links below.
an interesting selection of hero-driven releases that you may not have heard
of, even if you have heard of the characters.
RKO Radio Pictures started a series of films based on Leslie Charteris’ The
Saint and the nine films made were successful, even if they had three different
actors playing Simon Templar. Suddenly,
the series stopped and RKO started making films of The Falcon. He was like The Saint, so much so that
Charteris sued RKO claiming they switched characters to stop playing him
royalties and own the case. Still, RKO
would make 10 Falcon films and The
Falcon Mystery Movie Collection, Volume Two (1944 – 1946) features the last
all with Tom Conway as Tom Lawrence aka The Falcon and include The Falcon Out West (1944), The Falcon In Mexico (1944), The Falcon In Hollywood (1944, directed
by Gordon Douglas), The Falcon In San
Francisco (1945, directed by Joseph H. Lewis), The Falcon’s Alibi (1946) and The
Falcon’s Adventure (1946). Though
mildly amusing, these are not great films or even fun detective series films,
not even having the energy of the Monogram Charlie Chan films, so Charteris
should consider that RKO did him and The Saint a favor if this is where those
films would have been going.
only aged so well, are too formulaic, flat and just going through the motions. I did not remember them and can see why. Elisha Cook, Jr. shows up in Alibi, while Barbara Hale shows up in a
few and Jason Robards even turns up in two of them. These are curios at best, but they all could
have been better. The Falcon was always
a copy of The Saint and even Bulldog Drummond, a character Conway would go on to play twice in 1948!
no extras in this Warner Archive DVD set and the first four films are also
available from them in the Volume One set.
Hamasaki’s Iron Man: Rise Of Technovore
(2012) continues the interesting side productions by Marvel Comics to have
their key characters done in the Anime mode, this one coming from Madhouse,
Inc. and nicely joining the several other animated rendering of the character
of late that have all been watchable if not spectacular. Here, Tony Stark and company have a new
villain of the title to contend with, but we also get The Punisher, Hawkeye and
Black Widow joining in in different ways and in designs that are not what we
have seen before.
its advantages and disadvantages, but it is nice to have it done
differently. This will not be to
everyone’s tastes, but is different enough that there is enough room for this
interpretation in the ever-growing Marvel Universe and is worth a good look.
a Blu-ray exclusive Concept
plus Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices and two
featurettes: Tale Of
Technovore and S.H.I.E.L.D.:
Protecting The Marvel Universe.
McEveety is a longtime journeyman director who worked on plenty of classic
Disney feature films and hit (and cult) TV shows throughout his career. He also helmed the 1974 Wonder Woman TV movie that was to serve as a pilot for a series,
but did not work out. Why? TV was just not ready for a female heroine on
her own, but the makers of this film actually rejected Linda Carter because
they wanted to do something different and in part, follow the spy storyline
from the late 1960s comics where Wonder Woman becomes a spy and even gets rid
of her outfit!
Crosby, the beautiful blonde tennis player turned actress, was cast instead to
further make a difference from the iconic look of the character and because
that look failed to sell a series in 1967 via a pilot film that did not
work. Diana Prince in this case is still
secretary to Steve Trevor (Kaz Garas of Special
Report, perfectly cast here) in a relationship that I believe hints at more
than just friends. I also believe parts
of this film influenced a few scenes in Tarantino’s Kill Bill films, but that’s another essay.
serious spy case might be too much for the male agents under Trevor to handle,
he gets “Di” (as he calls her) to look into it and finds secret codes and the
lives of fellow agents may be in serious jeopardy. This brings her into several deadly
situations, two evil masterminds (Andrew Prine, Ricardo Montalban) behind the
plot, a Paradise Island sister turned enemy (Anitra Ford) and other surprises
that make this an ambitious, mature and unusual take on the character aimed at
adults as much as anyone else.
character was already enjoying new life on ABC though the
Hanna-Barbera-produced animated megahit Superfriends! (reviewed elsewhere on
this site), so it is a further mystery why at least a few episodes were not
ordered just to see what would happen. I
like the approach and think it works better than it got any credit for. The teleplay by John D. F. Black is more
solid than you think if you really follow it.
He also wrote the original Shaft,
Trouble Man, Carey Treatment and fine episodes of Room 222, Mission: Impossible, Star Trek, Mary Tyler Moore
and Delvecchio, so he has a solid
history of genre writing and much more.
course, Crosby is very beautiful, sexy and
appealing throughout. This is very good
work for its time and she plays the character in part like Honey West or Diana Rigg’s Emma Peel from The Avengers, yet also gets the exotic thinking off the character
correct as Carter would when she inherited the role. I wonder if any other scripts for this
version were penned?
way, this is a key piece of DC Comics and Wonder Woman history, underrated and
in this new DVD version, worth going out of your way for. There are unfortunately no extras.
1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Iron is very good, but because it is in the Anime style, we get
many shots of bleached white images that hold back picture fidelity overall,
but this is the ay this is supposed to look and I doubt it could look any better. The 1.33 X 1 black and white prints and
images on the Falcon films look good
on their respective DVDs with good Gray Scale and Video Black for the format.
The full color
1.33 X 1 image on Wonder Woman is
the most pleasant surprise here, showing just how good the color is on the film
in ways you could never see before unless you had a film print. The Director of Photography on the telefilm
was actually Joseph F. Biroc, A.S.C., whose work includes everything from It’s A Wonderful Life to Red Planet Mars to the 3D classic Bwana Devil to Donovan’s Brain to Viva Las
Vegas with Elvis Presley (see the Warner Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) to
the original Flight Of The Phoenix,
original Longest Yard, Tony Rome and Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte.
He gives the TV movie a distinct look and one that is consistent and has some
form. His work here is a bit underrated
and color can be wider ranging than the Iron
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Japanese 5.1 lossless mix on Iron is the best soundtrack here as expected, especially since it
is the only new and newly made release on this list, but some of the sound
effects are not what they should be and the mix can sometimes favor the front
speakers, but that is better than the English dub version which is worse in
this respect. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0
Mono on the DVDs are just fine for their age and sound as good as they could in
To order The Falcon or Wonder Woman, go to this link for it and many more great
web-exclusive releases at:
and for Wonder Woman, look up “Cathy Lee
Crosby” or try this link: