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The Maltese Falcon
Year:
1941
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Mystery, Film-Noir
IMDB rating:
8.2
Director:
John Huston
Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade
Mary Astor as Brigid O'Shaughnessy
Gladys George as Iva Archer
Peter Lorre as Joel Cairo
Barton MacLane as Det. Lt. Dundy
Lee Patrick as Effie Perine
Sydney Greenstreet as Kasper Gutman
Ward Bond as Det. Tom Polhaus
Jerome Cowan as Miles Archer
Elisha Cook Jr. as Wilmer Cook
James Burke as Luke
Murray Alper as Frank Richman
Storyline: 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, and it will all be because of these dangerous men -- and their lust for a statuette of a bird: the Maltese Falcon.
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Reviews
A Classic Movie that Deserves the Position
This is one of the most famous movies ever made. Based on a book the movie was first made in 1931 and later remade in 1941 with Humphrey Bogart playing the detective Sam Spade. Most critics, including Bill Collins, directs us to focus on the characters in the movie because it is the characterization that makes this such a great movie. I agree to a point, but I think the whole issue of the Maltese Falcon makes this such a dark movie.

The book upon which this movie is based is considered to be a change in direction with the way detective stories are made. Edgar Allen Poe was the creator of the detective story and it was developed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but their detectives were intelligent, honourable men. Sam Spade could be seen as one of the first "Down and Out detectives." The author of The Maltese Falcons describes private detectives as police officers who do not like to work with people but rather go it alone. These characters are more crooked and ruthless than police officers. It is no wonder that the police in The Maltese Falcon are somewhat cold towards Sam Spade. Spade works with fellow Detective Miles Archer and the movie opens with a young lady, O'Shannahey, hiring Spade and Archer to trail some guy who has stolen her sister from her. Suddenly Archer is shot and the movie starts into motion.

The Maltese Falcon was a statuette that was stolen by pirates as it was being delivered to the King of Spain and it has supposedly surfaced in San-Fransisco. The movie is not a search for the falcon but rather people all wanting a piece of it. The fat man, who is the villain of the movie, wants the falcon and pays Spade a lot of money to get it. He doesn't want to part with his money and has his gunsel Wilma to dispose of Captain Jacobi and get the falcon.

The harsh parts of the characters are revealed with the Fat Man willing to sell out Wilma, whom he claims to consider a son, to get the Falcon off of Sam Spade. And then there is O'Shannahey, a beautiful young lady who grabs Spade's heart, yet we know that Spade does not truly love this woman as we learn that he is having an affair with Archer's wife. O'Shannahey is not what we expect. At first she comes as an innocent woman who is looking for her sister but we find a web of lies and deceit surrounding her and the more we get entangled in the lies the more sinister O'Shannahey becomes.

Spade is not a hero either, rather he is an anti-hero. He his selfish and cold, ready to betray his partner for a woman, and ready to betray his lover for his reputation. He slaps around Wilma and Cairo, treating them like little children. Spade is an arrogant, self-centered person and would rather look after himself than others.

I think the ending of the Maltese Falcon is brilliant. I am one who looks more at the ending of a movie than the content because it is the ending that we are left with when we leave. The ending of the Maltese Falcon is not happy, nor is it sad. Rather we are just left knowing that life will go on.
2013-09-15
Well, it's just brilliant cinema is all.
Sam Spade, a tough private detective gets involved in a murderous hunt for The Maltese Falcon, a legendary statuette thought to contain diamonds.

What can I possibly say that hasn't been said, written and studied by the greatest film critics and industry members, about The Maltese Falcon before? Well nothing by way of new stuff or a differing slant on the plot, I can merely concur and hopefully jolt prospective first time viewers into believing the reputation afforded this stunning piece of cinema.

First off I have to let it be known that The Maltese Falcon is far from being my favourite Bogart movie, in fact it's not even my favourite Bogart movie from 1941, it's well trumped in my affections by High Sierra, but few films ever get as close to being perfect as the Maltese Falcon clearly is. The source from Dashiell Hammett is first rate, yet it took someone like John Huston (director and screenwriter) to bring it triumphantly together. It had been adapted for the screen twice before with less than favourable results, but Huston, working tightly from Hammett's dialogue driven astuteness, molds a claustrophobic, shadowy classic amongst classics, that in the process laid the cornerstone for what became known as essential film noir.

You will search in vain for faults here, every scene is as tight as a Duck's bottom, not one filler scene is in this picture. The cast are across the board perfect in performances, Bogart (Spade) is peerless, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet (film debut) and Elisha Cook Jr. stand out, but every other member of this cast add something good to this picture. The plot (of which I'm "so" not going to summarise for you) is complex to a degree, but really it all makes sense, you do not need to be Albert Einstein to knit the twisters nicely together. Also don't be fooled into thinking this is a film devoid of humour either, it has deadly wry smirks popping up all over the place, OK ,so they may be the sort of smirks brought about by devilish unease of admiration, but rest assured they are valid and integral to The Maltese Falcon's classic standing.

I could go on fawning but I really don't need too, the Academy may well have saw fit to not award this picture any awards for 1941, but time is an immeasurable force sometimes, and time now shows that The Maltese Falcon stands proud as not only a Titan of cinematic entertainment, but also of technical movie brilliance. 10/10
2008-12-31
The Maltese Falcon
I make no secret of the fact that 1941 holds a three-way tie for my favorite cinematic year. I laugh when people complain that Citizen Kane was "robbed" of the Best Picture Oscar in a year that produced such classics as SUllivan's Travels, How Green Was My Valley (a film that was more than deserving of winning top prize), and The Maltese Falcon. John Huston, son of the great Walter Huston had never before made a film when he began his feature, The Maltese Falcon. Starring Humphrey Bogart, who I also make no secret of absolutely adoring, the story follows the pursuit of a priceless statue by a band of criminals and a private eye. Bogart and Huston would collaborate multiple times throughout their careers, always seeming to attempt to capitalize on the magic they made in The Maltese Falcon. It's incredible when a first-time director can make a film as good as The Maltese Falcon, which must go down as one of the best debuts of all time.

Working as a private eye in a San Fransico detective agency, Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) and his partner Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) are approached by a woman who calls herself Miss Wonderly (Mary Astor). Spade and Archer who have always shared a tempestuous relationship argue over how to handle the case, when Archer insists on providing the protection Miss Wonderly has requested. Things change pretty quickly as Archer is killed the night he is protecting Miss Wonderly, along with another man, and Spade quickly finds himself in the middle of an international mystery. It is soon revealed that Miss Wonderly is surrounded by dangerous people, all of whom Spade soon gets the chance to meet. Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) is a man after a mysterious take who uses scents to incapacitate his victims. She also has Kasper Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet) on her heels, a man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants ann under the guise of feigned civility. The only one seemingly able to provide her some protection is Sam Spade who has now been implicated in the murder of Archer or Floyd Thursby, the man that was also killed the same night at Archer. Finding the Maltese Falcon the criminals are hunting for may be the only way for Spade to help himself, or anyone else.

Huston, a novice director made a brilliant decision to film a good deal of action over the shoulder of Bogart's shoulder. Allowing the audience to see a majority of the action from the point of view of the protagonist was an exceptionally innovative way to keep the audience engaged. Huston Not that innovative camera work is needed to keep one engaged during a Humphrey Bogart film. He truly was one of the best actors in the history of cinema to grace the screens. Peter Lorre, a consistently strong supporting actor, was also an absolute joy to watch. The symmetry achieved by Huston, especially in shots framing Humphrey Bogart, reveal an early expertise present in the filmmaker. an exceptional cast helmed by an excellent leading man Humphrey Bogart, a more than apt director, and a plot based on the work of the wonderful Dashiell Hammett produced an American classic that still persists nearly 80 years after its release.
2017-05-03
The Maltese Falcon
This film was very well done. The main actor was fantastic. He was always what seemed like 5 steps ahead of everyone. Even when it looked like he was getting one pulled over on him, he would make a fool out of that person. This film was wonderfully done and had get characters that would balance and contrast each other. The main actor and his secretary had a funny little relationship where she was obviously in love with him and would do everything he asked of her and his character was intelligent and could explain away everything in a drop of a hat. The way the camera moved to capture the scenes was done well. It didn't move so fast that you were dizzy but when the cops and Spade were talking in the doorway it moved back and forth between the sides of the door to capture the person who was currently speaking. I liked how for certain parts and characters the camera would look up at them. It did that with the more criminal characters. The scene where Spade leaned down to almost kiss the girl and you see him see the man who was following him in the doorway in the building across the street the camera moved with his eye line so you could see what Spade was seeing. The camera work and characters were well done and it was an enjoyable film to watch and I definitely recommend watching this film.
2016-10-19
"I Won't Play The Sap For You."
The Maltese Falcon has a totally atypical Hollywood history. After two previous filmings of Dashiell Hammett's novel, the third time a classic film was achieved. Usually the original is best and the remakes are the inferior product.

These characters that John Huston wrote and breathed life into with his direction are so vital and alive even 65 years after the premiere of The Maltese Falcon. You can watch this one fifty times and still be entertained by it.

I'm not sure how the code let this one slip through. Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade is partners with Jerome Cowan in a detective agency Spade and Archer. Client Mary Astor comes into their office requesting help in getting rid of a man who's intruding in on her life. Jerome Cowan as Miles Archer eagerly takes the assignment and gets himself bumped off for his troubles.

Cowan is quite the skirt chaser and he certainly isn't the first or the last man to think with his hormones. That's OK because Bogart's been fooling around with his wife, Gladys George. That gives the police, Barton MacLane and Ward Bond, motive enough to suspect Bogart might have had a hand in Cowan's death.

As fans of The Maltese Falcon are well aware, there's quite a bit more to the story than that. Bogart's investigation leads him to a crew of adventurous crooks, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Elisha Cook, Jr. who are in pursuit of a statue of a Falcon that is said to be encrusted in gold and precious jewels.

The Maltese Falcon is a milestone film role for Humphrey Bogart. It is the first time that Bogey was ever first billed in an A picture while he was at Warner Brothers. In fact this is also John Huston's first film as a director. He had previously just been a screenwriter and in fact got an Oscar nomination for the screenplay he wrote here. There are some who will argue that this first film is Huston's best work and I'd be hard up to dispute that.

After a long career on stage The Maltese Falcon was the screen debut of Sydney Greenstreet. Greenstreet may be orally flatulent here, but there's no doubt to the menace he exudes while he's on screen. Greenstreet got an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, but lost to Donald Crisp for How Green Was My Valley. Greenstreet created quite a gallery of characters for the next ten years, mostly for Warner Brothers.

A favorite character of mine in The Maltese Falcon has always been Lee Patrick as Effie, the secretary at Spade&Archer. She's loyal, efficient and crushing out on Bogey big time. This and the part of Mrs. Topper in the television series Topper are Lee Patrick's career roles. I never watch The Maltese Falcon without hoping that Bogey will recognize how really "precious" Effie is.

The Maltese Falcon will be entertaining people hundreds of years from now. And please no more remakes of this one.
2006-01-20
One of the Most Entertaining Films of Its Kind
With a fine combination of cast, characters, story, and atmosphere, this classic is one of the most entertaining films of its kind, enjoyable even after several viewings. It gets you right into the action and introduces you to a list of interesting personalities, who mesh together nicely and who are also matched well with the cast members. Beyond that, it's also effective as a character study involving greed, trust and distrust, and conflicting ethics.

Sam Spade is an ideal role for Bogart, giving him plenty to work with and some very good dialogue as well. Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet are very entertaining, providing suitable foils for Bogart, and they really take the film up a notch. The rest of the cast also works well (worth mentioning is Elisha Cook, Jr., whose character doesn't do a lot, but who provides Bogart with some very amusing moments at his expense). The story is nicely adapted from the novel, and each scene is constructed well, with everything moving along nicely from start to finish.

If you are a fan of either film noir or mysteries, make this a must-see. There are very few films that work as well as "The Maltese Falcon".
2001-09-21
Quintessential Bogart
I'm a huge fan of this movie; loved it for many years. And it will always retain a huge place in my affections. Everything about it just clicks. Bogart, Astor, Greenstreet, Lorre etc. What a remarkable cast! I also own Dahshiell Hammett's novel, and Sam Spade is even darker in the book than he is on screen. This is still one of Bogart's finest showings, and will probably never be forgotten. Greenstreet became an overnight star thanks to his brilliant performance here, thoroughly deserved.

Director John Huston does a marvellous job of bringing the book to the screen, and I think this is the THIRD version of the story to be filmed! Who says all remakes are bad? This is one of those remakes that ensures the earlier versions are pretty much forgotten today.

The snappy dialogue is some of the best and most memorable ever put on screen, so I'm not going to repeat it here; but the film creates its own dark world full of shady characters always out to keep Spade from getting close to the truth. The film is so good you almost forget the murder of Spade's partner at the beginning that kicks off events.

A truly superb movie, that I can watch over and over again with renewed pleasure. In Noir stakes I esteem only The Big Sleep and Farewell My Lovely (aka Murder My Sweet) as highly. The Maltese Falcon is the sort of movie that makes you a film fan for life.
2016-11-18
Top notch mystery that kicked off the film noir genre of the 1940s
"The Maltese Falcon", scripted and directed by Hollywood first-timer John Huston (from Dashiell Hammett's novel), would go on to become an American film classic. Humphrey Bogart chews the scenery in his star-making turn as acid-tongued private eye Sam Spade, whose association with the beautiful and aloof Brigid O'Shaughnessy (Mary Astor), neurotic Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre), and morbidly obese Kasper Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet, in his Oscar-nominated screen debut) over the recovery of the title object, sets in motion a movie experience that is as much crackling as it is dazzling. While much of the action and dialogue is considerably dated by modern standards, the film's essential power to mystify and entrance remains undiminished despite its age. While this was the third adaptation of Hammett's story (the first was made in 1931 and the second was "Satan Met a Lady" (1936)), this is also the best remembered and most praised, due largely in part to Bogart's seemingly effortless portrayal of the tough but softhearted, world-weary hero. Mary Astor and Lee Patrick were, respectively, the definitive femme fatale and girl Friday, and the villianous roles of Cairo, Gutman and Wilmer (Elisha Cook Jr.) were equally remarkable. What may not be wholly obvious is the fact that these three men have homosexual tendencies (as given in the novel), but just look at what's given: Cairo's delicate speech and manner, Wilmer's questionable quick tempered attitude towards Spade (could this be covering up the fact that he finds Spade attractive?) and Gutman's clutching of Spade's arm when Sam arrives at his hotel room. A polished film noir that gave rise to Bogart's mounting popularity. (Sidenote: The character of Sam Spade was originally offered to George Raft, who turned it down. Raft also turned down "Casablanca" (1942), "High Sierra" (1941) and William Wyler's "Dead End" (1937), all of which went to Bogart and helped to boost his star status. Bogart had Raft to thank for his enduring popularity.) A must-see masterpiece. ****
2002-12-01
The Birth of a great director.
The movie was the transformation of John Huston from the scriptwriter to the director. His first movie, yet it's the best of his career and one of the best films ever made. This Neo-noir film has a very smart, yet dark hero. He knows how to handle situations, even when he is in trouble. He is able to act brave and burst in anger, even when he is scared and shivering like a rat.

The main plot revolves around a priceless Maltese Falcon. Samuel Spade, a private detective get involved in the drama created by the people who need to fetch the falcon.

A very thrilling crime investigation movie. You should try it yourself.

#KiduMovie
2017-05-02
The Stuff That Dreams are Made of
The Maltese Falcon was another great film that included Humphrey Bogart. Bogart's character in the film keeps the suspense going until the end when he states who killed Miles Archer, his partner in a San Francisco detective agency.

A lot of long takes are used in this film during scenes of conversation on matters of trying to solve a murder mystery. There are also some scenes that include short fast takes of being zoomed in on individual faces to help us connect with each to see how they are reacting to the investigation.

The dialogue of the film was creatively done to keep my interest as the film went on. The lighting on the movie was a lot of shadow and dim lighting to portray a setting of despair and unknown.

The majority of the film is based on speech rather than physical action. Which in return the audience must pay close attention to so not to miss important details. This kind of directing and writing by John Huston creates a different type of film for audience to enjoy while along with the characters trying to solve the mystery.

The search for the Maltese Falcon Bogart is able to solve the crime while keeping the Maltese Falcon. Ending of the movie is the best part for me with the conversation between Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) and Brigid O'Shaughnessy (Mary Astor) and him expressing his true feelings for her but that he must do the right thing for what she has done. His dedication to his job takes over his feelings. Money being the root of evil is the main reason for all this fuss over a Falcon that had no real significance all along. The Stuff that Dreams are Made of.... can turn out to be nothing but a nightmare.
2014-12-04
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