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?
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,"
The Maltese Falcon is commonly acknowledged as the first major film noir, but despite my fondness for the genre it is something of a disappointment. The sizzling dialogue and cast of oddball characters never quite come to life.
The Maltese Falcon was John Huston's debut and the film that launched Humphrey Bogart's career and was one of the most important films for the noir genre as well although it is often denied as a film noir since it was made years before the film noir was born as a genre. The story takes many turns but it never deviates from its line of thought with long scenes of thrilling dialogue inturrupted by brief violent scenes which are pure style... And the characters couldn't be more straight to the point, there are no heroes, they are all crooks.
Another superb film for the Noir-November film challenge. Bogey is sharp and witty in a script from director John Huston, who's other noir, The Asphalt Jungle, I also really enjoyed. A simply-shot film that spends much of it's time inside, yet we are still treated with those shadowy shots and sinister characters that make the film as memorable as it is. The Maltese Falcon is labelled as a classic for a reason; It's just that.
"When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it."
A classic detective movie starring the great Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade and Mary Astor as the femme fatale and directed by John Huston. The story is full of twists and turns as all the characters try to get the elusive falcon for themselves.
Much of the action happens off-screen and is related to the audience through exposition and recaps. While that might not be as action packed as today's standard fare, it does leave the audience wondering what is truth and who can be trusted until the final scene.
- 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!