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.
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 an idea that stood out from the others. The script is practically a direct translation of Hammett's novel. While…
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?
I totally do not get the hype for this. What I watched was a poorly-paced, narratively boring and consistently dull anti-climax of a film. There is no creativity when there could be tons. It's a straight-forward narrative that's too messy to comprehend. Efforts to tighten it via conveying all the information through dialogue fall horribly flat. In the same year as Citizen Kane, one of the most innovatively structured and cleverly plotted films of all time, this pales in comparison.
While Bogart is average at best, everyone else is appalling. From the camp to the crazy, not a single performance can be passed off as good. There is no excitement in the dialogue, just a relentlessly monotone recital of clumsy…
**Part of the Best Picture Project**
It don't get any better than Bogie himself as Sam Spade. The Maltese Falcon is headed by a great screenplay that is thrilling every minute, and a great atmosphere set by Director John Huston, but it's Humphrey Bogart's Sam Spade that makes the film be as awesome as it is. He's cold, brash, and just an asshole. But Bogart is so likable in the role, he sticks out, and we root for him.
The Maltese Falcon is brilliantly paced. There's always something happening, and you're always on the edge of your seat as you watch this mystery slowly unravel before your eyes. It's a testament to both the screenplay (adapted from Dashiell Hammett's novel)…
A NOTE TO BE LEFT ON THE MALTESE FALCON'S FRIDGE AFTER WE HAD A BIT OF A TIFF
"Here's to plain speaking and clear understanding." - Kasper Gutman
I was harsh. I was unfair. I'm sorry, The Maltese Falcon: I was mean first time round. However, you are still a bit of a mess. I've tried, babe, I really have. To understand why Bogart doesn't bother slowing the hell down when speaking your actually-quite-brilliant dialogue, to get to grips with the occasionally-painful melodrama of Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. And I think I've done pretty well, honey.
Your story becomes more sound when I watch you again, and your protagonist is a highly-compelling bad-ass that isn't the shining knight you…
Sydney Greenstreet could narrate a tour through Heaven (or Hell, for that matter). He has a tremendous yet elusive power of speech and he commands the screen against Bogart, who also simply demands attention from the camera, so when the two are together, you better believe fireworks in the form of words are flying. Bogart bitch slapping Lorre takes the cake, though.
Pretty darn good. Really smart pacing, and lots of memorable characters.
This film really is not that special in any way, but it doesn't do anything wrong and does have a few positives. Humphrey Bogarts character is interesting, and in the end is the major thing figuring into it standing out from other noir film from the era. The plot lined is a cliche at this point, but it explores the character it creates well enough it makes Maltese Falcon at least an interesting character study.
I'd been meaning to see this for quite some time now and I finally caught it today.
The Maltese Falcon is a thrilling mystery which hooks you in pretty much right from the get go. It didn't seem to drag and genuinely keeps you intrigued into what is going on throughout. If you are a fan of these older classic films, this one is highly recommended.
The story didn't do much for me, but I don't think "story" was the point. It's such a stylish/moody/atmospheric movie, anchored by Bogart's fantastic performance and a real sense of time/place. Pretty impressive.
While many noirs haven't aged well at all, be for their preachy Haynes code morals, dated performances, or poor scripts, John Houston's essential noir is a fine wine that still stands as one of the prime examples of the genre. Solid direction, a great cast and a tight script. A blueprint of for many future movies.
Very stark black-and-white photography, just the way I like it.
Iconic noir adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's hard-boiled ur-text, John Huston's classic film hits all the right notes in offering us Sam Spade and the chaotic, morally ambivalent world he navigates. Bogart is perfect in the title role and Peter Lorre steals the show in his supporting capacity.
Ashamedly it's taken me a long time to see this for the first time. But then it's always nice to see a really great film for the first time, especially when it lives up to the hype. Bogart is on great form, handily fending off a scene-stealing rogues' gallery and the plot twists and turns in a wonderful fashion. Amazing to think this was Huston's directional debut.
So entertaining and fast paced. Bogey is too good.
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Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!