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The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, more...
Director: John Huston, John Huston
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Classics, Film Noir, Vintage Noir
Running Time: 100 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, French
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Synopsis
After two previous film versions of Dashiell Hammett's detective classic The Maltese Falcon, Warner Bros. finally got it right in 1941--or, rather, John Huston, a long-established screenwriter making his directorial debut, got it right, simply by adhering as closely as possible to the original. Taking over from a recalcitrant George Raft, Humphrey Bogart achieved true stardom as Sam Spade, a hard-boiled San Francisco private eye who can be as unscrupulous as the next guy but also adheres to his own personal code of honor. Into the offices of the Spade & Archer detective agency sweeps a Miss Wonderly (Mary Astor), who offers a large retainer to Sam and his partner Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) if they'll protect her from someone named Floyd Thursby. The detectives believe neither Miss Wonderly nor her story, but they believe her money. Since Archer saw her first, he takes the case -- and later that evening he is shot to death, as is the mysterious Thursby. Miss Wonderly's real name turns out to be Brigid O'Shaughnessey, and, as the story continues, Sam is also introduced to the effeminate Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) and the fat, erudite Kasper Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet, in his film debut). It turns out that Brigid, Cairo and Gutman are all international scoundrels, all involved in the search for a foot-high, jewel-encrusted statuette in the shape of a falcon. Though both Cairo and Gutman offer Spade small fortunes to find the "black bird," they are obviously willing to commit mayhem and murder towards that goal: Gutman, for example, drugs Spade and allows his "gunsel" Wilmer (Elisha Cook Jr.) to kick and beat the unconscious detective. This classic film noir detective yarn gets better with each viewing, which is more than can be said for the first two Maltese Falcons and the ill-advised 1975 "sequel" The Black Bird. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Special Features:

  • Becoming Attractions: The Trailers of Humphrey Bogart
  • A History of Mystery Essay
  • Trailers


GreenCine Member Reviews

Have viewed this, bought it, watched it dozen times by Synn June 8, 2005 - 9:46 AM PDT
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2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Surprised to find no reviews here for this, one of the greatest American films. I like to watch this one every so often for its superb style and method acting. Among its many events well worth seeing: Peter Lorre's entrance and that particular close-up homoerotic thing he does with the walking stick in front of Sam Spade. Mary Astor goes over the top along with the other fine actors in this piece of cinema history. By the way I just saw a new bronze plaque getting a lot of attention on the writer Hammett's former residence at corner of Post/Hyde in San Francisco.




GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 7.89)
1011 Votes
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Noir Themes & Sinister Schemes
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Dark themed films of murder, scams, cons, gangsters, femme fatales and nefarious deeds.
DGood
Good Mystery Movies You Might Not Have Seen
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