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?
I've never been a big fan of noir cinema, and The Maltese Falcon was another underwhelming affair from that genre for me. While I enjoyed the performances for the most part and the interchanges between the characters, the story was just flat out uninteresting and dull for me. I felt that while the story progressed, the characters remained the same with thin development. Needless to say, The Maltese Falcon is recommendable to fans of noir films like Chinatown, Blade Runner etc, but for anyone expecting an intense, engaging story with deep characters, look further.
A good argument could be made that The Maltese Falcon is Humphrey Bogart’s best film. It’s a movie that seems to get better each time I watch it and has earned it’s recognition as a film noir classic. It’s also a film featuring two notable firsts. This was Sydney Greenstreet’s first feature film and it was John Huston’s directorial debut. Huston also wrote the story which is based on Dashiell Hammett’s novel of the same name. It’s said that Huston extensively planned everything in the script, even to the most minute detail. It certainly shows. The movie is smart, well written, and very well made.
Read the full review - keithandthemovies.com/2012/04/08/the-maltese-falcon-5-stars/
'The Maltese Falcon' truly is by far one of the most popular film noirs available to date. Offering an introduction to quick-talking Ruth Wonderly (Mary Astor), we meet her as she sits in the office of Private Detectives Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) and Samuel Spade (Humphrey Bogart) claiming to be looking for her missing sister who’s connected to an apparently dangerous Floyd Thursby. However, before the nights over there’s murder; Archer’s dead as is the illusive Thursby. But before we’ve got time to find our feet, the rug is pulled out from beneath us and we’re suddenly in the same boat as Miss Wonderly - we’re surrounded by dangerous men.
Undeterred by the fact that the film was released in…
I keep forgetting that, for something so much fun, it's so melancholy. I almost cried this time.
Demasiado diálogo enrevesado, giros de guión inexplicables, y trama en algunos momentos poco emocionante. Aún así, me ha parecido una película interesante. Me ha mantenido intrigado hasta el final. Lo mejor, la actuación de Humphrey Bogart. Empatizas con su personaje desde el primer momento. Algunos secundarios también están muy bien, aunque la femme fatale deja mucho que desear. La estética impecable, aun con algunos fallos de raccord. Pero hay que recordar que es una peli hecha en 1941. Tampoco me parece una obra maestra, pero es interesante.
Film #6 of Noir-vember
Is Bogart's Samuel Spade heartless? He's a far stretch from Philip Marlowe and Rick Blaine, he's a man that was sleeping with his partner's wife, the same partner he hardly reacted to when hearing of his death, after which, he almost tries to erase the traces of his existence. He's brilliant, but he's smug. He has carnal passion but rejects love when it is handed to him on a silver platter. I would usually hate such a character, but in the deft hands of Bogart, he becomes a brilliant, likeable, anti-hero.
I would give this thing a real review, but I'm being rushed out the door. I'll say that Bogart said it best: "It's the stuff dreams are made of".
A lot of rambling in this, and the story was a bit hard to follow. Interesting camera angles though.
Bogart is just fun to watch. So cool. His character in this is just an absolute snake.
But in general, this film is very good despite being quite wordy and without much really happening (though I did enjoy the no-nonsense punch-ons and confrontations). In terms of classic noirs I have a pretty limited knowledge, just seeing this, Double Indemnity and Sunset Blvd. I'd probably rank this at #3 of those, but the bar is set pretty high.
I love how this – and a lot of other films of this vintage – end. No denouement, no cosy finish, just abrupt and to the point. Very refreshing after watching Interstellar today (which I enjoyed also but it felt like it was wrapping up for half an hour).
Favourite shot: The blurred image of Gutman (appropriate name btw) from Bogey's point of view after he is drugged. So great.
#PART of Noir-November 13
"multithreaded story, massive amounts of humour, keeps you on edge of your seat, intriguing,"
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Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!