All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
The Maltese Falcon
A story as EXPLOSIVE as his BLAZING automatics!
Spade and Archer is the name of a San Francisco detective agency. That's for Sam Spade and Miles Archer. The two men are partners, but Sam doesn't like Miles much. A knockout, who goes by the name of Miss Wanderly, walks into their office; and by that night everything's changed. Miles is dead. And so is a man named Floyd Thursby. It seems Miss Wanderly is surrounded by dangerous men. There's Joel Cairo, who uses gardenia-scented calling cards. There's Kasper Gutman, with his enormous girth and feigned civility. Her only hope of protection comes from Sam, who is suspected by the police of one or the other murder. More murders are yet to come.
Here's what I love about film noir: nobody gets to be an angel. No sentimentality, no melodrama, just tough characters who quip their way in and out of unsavory situations. Needless to say, The Maltese Falcon ticks every box on my list. And it isn't just a film noir; it's the first major film to be recognized as such, and therefore one of the most influential films in the genre. And boy, does it live up to expectations.
Being both a cinephile and a bibliophile, I felt obliged to read the The Maltese Falcon before watching the film adaptation. Dashiell Hammett's novel was a perfect candidate for the big screen: minute descriptions, unique characters, and colorful dialogue that was just…
John Huston's 1941 adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon opens with a text scroll detailing the history of an ancient treasure. This short introduction could not have been more prophetic, because The Maltese Falcon is a true treasure. This is the quintessential film noir, a movie I don't mind calling perfect, as it tells the story of a slick private investigator who gets tangled up in the convoluted quest to obtain a legendary falcon statue. Whenever I get around to making my all time favorites list, I'll be surprised if this doesn't perch near the pinnacle of it. If you are like me, and haven't before seen this classic, then stop reading now, because the less you know going…
I don't mind a reasonable amount of trouble.
Some films are credited with defining a particular genre. The Maltese Falcon didn't define a genre, but it helped create one. It was film-noir before the term film-noir existed. While it's arguably not the first to be considered noir, it is still regarded as the first by a major studio. It isn't however the first adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's novel, but actually the third.
For John Huston's directorial debut it seems odd that he would attempt a third adaptation of a novel that was barely over 10 years old, but he had an idea that stood out from the others. The script is practically a direct translation of Hammett's novel.…
It was Louise that highlighted my ignorance of movies from pre-1960 a few weeks ago, and although I'm still pretty much a novice when it comes to thirties and forties films, I'm slowly but surely enlightening myself with some classics. Following the likes of the Errol Flynn and Olivia De Havilland starring swashbucklers, it was time to check back in with Mr Humphrey Bogart.
The Maltese Falcon has another of those casts that made the likes of Casablanca so good. Reuniting Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, and Sydney Greenstreet, this movie is unofficially the first of a genre. A film noir of the highest order, this requires concentration with all the twists and turns and has a level of mystery to…
None of the characters embroiled in the ever more mysterious saga of the falcon are likeable yet they are so utterly compelling to watch. Each one has their vested interests to protect and none of them are willing to reveal exactly what they are. Cards are clamped closely to their chest and the most stringent poker faces assumed.
The Mcguffin at the centre of it all almost makes a brief appearance whilst in reality the genuine bird probably doesn't exist at all. It's the perfect symbol of money and power, sought after by men who place its significance above any financial burden it may cause. To hold and possess the statue puts you at the top of the pile, the…
I'm 5 films into a 100 film Films Noir course and everyone reading will have seen this and know why it's great so I wont write much.
But it does remain great, beyond the fact that it has been parodied and reused so much that the parodies and spoofs of what it created are themselves decades dead through overuse.
And I guess that is because of the faces; the plot and the dialogue and the very nature of the falcon itself have become cliche and withered but there's a moment where huston cuts from close up to close up, on the faces of Bogart and Greenstreet and Lorre and Astor and Cook and none of the imitators was ever able…
More talky than I would've preferred, though that's normal for this era of film. That said, I found Double Indemnity, also a noir from the same period, far more engaging, so I can't really say it's just dated.
Good though, in the same way a good play is good. Which means amazing for people who are into that sort of thing, and acceptable for me.
+++ Humphrey Bogart's performance
+ The cinematography is beautiful with a lot of great shadow work
+ The editing is fast paced from one scene to the next so no time to get bored
+ Great dialogues full of interesting quotes and ideas
- The mystery is quite interesting at first but gets convoluted at the end of the movie
- The "love" interests of Sam are not well brought up and seem coming out from the blue
- The bad guys give good performances but they are very clichés villains and there is so many of them!
Generally considered the first true film noir, despite being the third adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's novel. Much like Citizen Kane (which premiered only five months earlier), it's incredibly innovative in cinematography. Both found a way to film with "ceilings" (ceilings were made of fabric in interior shots, so the boom mics could still pick up the sound), and both played extensively with shadows.
Other innovations include one of the best examples of a "macguffin", which is a coveted item that all of the characters are after. We also get top-notch early character actor Peter Lorre in a wonderfully off-beat performance.
In terms of the quality of the film itself, it's a really solid noir, with a plot that's just complicated…
Okay okay. 2.5 stars for this one is herecy I know but I've only seen it once and truth be told, I had a hard time following the story and understanding a lot of the dialog. I do plan on giving it a go again and come back and adjust my rating should it be required
If you kill me how will you get the falcon?
Alright this is the problem with these "classic masterpieces" of cinema. I expect too much from them, and then I get disappointed.
Alright, nothing happens. It's all character which is ok, but the story should be most important. There is none. I don't have much to say because I don't really remember anything.
"You're a good man, sister."
Humphrey Bogart stars as the super-slick gumshoe Sam Spade. It's hard to imagine any other actor playing his character, as so much of the film is driven by his performance. Mary Astor is also great as the femme fatale Ms. O'Shaughnessy, though the film is filled with entertaining performances all around.
The script is full of great lines, like the one featured above. Many of them are relegated to Sam Spade ("When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it!") although antagonist Kasper Gutman gets a few of his own as well.
It's amazing that a first time director like John Huston would create such a classic and widely-renowned film. As it stands, "The Maltese Falcon" is a noir classic that should be on anyone's watchlist.
Bogart owns this movie! He's got an answer and a comeback for everything and anything in this flick. He carries this film and dare I say better here than Casablanca. I said it, so what.
Lovin' the WB house style.
Suffocating as all this nihilism is, it remains icily delectable, especially as an opportunity for several chronic scene-stealers to go to town in perfect tandem. Mary Astor is my favorite of all -- her nastiness is damned contagious. (Archival review here.)
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!