Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
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 don't really see much point in registering an opinion on this well-tread classic, so here are some questions instead:
1. Is there any 21st century leading male actor that plays cool like Bogart plays cool? Only one I can think of is Michael K. Williams as Omar on The Wire.
2. Why doesn't "Peter Lorre fellating the end of his cane" ever turn up on any of those "Sexiest Moments in Movie History" listicles?
Je dois avouer que j'en attendais quand même beaucoup plus au vu des critiques et du statut que le film possède. Au final, ce "Faucon Maltais" s'avère être un film très bavard, bien interprété, avec de bonnes musiques et un rythme suffisamment bien travaillé pour garder le spectateur accroché tout le long mais pas suffisamment surprenant. Bien sûr, il y a énormément de rebondissements, mais ceux ci tournent toujours autour du même thème qui est le mensonge, du coup, au bout de la troisième pirouette scénaristique de ce genre, on a compris le manège. De plus, la surabondance de dialogues au détriment des séquences visuelles m'a plutôt mis à distance de l'intrigue au lieu de m'y faire prendre part à…
I'd been avoiding this for a while because I was worried it would be a creaky, WWII-era film more admired than beloved. What an idiot I was. Smart, lean, hard-edged .... this was a terrific film then and it's a terrific film now.
The best feature is Bogart, who commands the screen as a detective more hard-hearted than you'd expect. (He's having an affair with his partner's wife, something he shows not a moment of remorse for.) But the supporting cast is great as well, and the direction is confident and assured.
This is a cool movie, but boy there is a lot of fast talking. I missed a lot of plot details because of it. Guess I'll have to revisit it sometime. Watching Bogart beat up Peter Lorre with a hanging lit cigarette is pretty badass.
One of my first introductions to film noir and perhaps the most personally cherished of all Hollywood 'classics' for me. Still holds up today thanks to its surprisingly three-dimensional cast of characters and high contrast cinematography.
Sam Spade is hired with his partner to investigate a seemingly dangerous man and when things go haywire over a statue worth more than anyone can possible imagine, Spade must do anything and everything he can to get the truth in this crazy noir drama. Highly recommended.
Love those good old fashioned capers. Lots of fast talkin' and twisting stories.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I consider myself a fan of noir and yet I've never seen a "true" noir film. I have watched movies that are twists on the genre but never seen noir in its purest form. Today I decided to change that by watching a movie that kick-started the genre and made Humphrey Bogart a star.
The Maltese Falcon is a grim tale about a priceless MacGuffin that leads people to murder that soon reels in a no nonsense private investigator. PI Sam Spade is no do-gooder, he cares little for the police or his murdered partner. His unashamed kissing of his partners widow after just learning he died surprised me and proclaimed right then and there that Spade was not the…
Saw The Maltese Falcon for perhaps the 8th time in 45 years and was surprised all over again at how dense is the plot, how dialogue-heavy and detailed the script. Yet none of this slows or dulls the impact because the handling is so adroit. Together with veiled but evident homosexual references and the casual sexism of the hero, the effect is something still contemporary. Direction is assured, controlled, and in every instance shows that "classic" can mean that not a shot, cut or effect is wasted. Steeped in cynicism and casual brutality, it still entertains and satisfies.
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
- The Racket
- 7th Heaven
- Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
- Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!