Tuesday, March 23, 2010

365 Movies: The Maltese Falcon Review

The Maltese Falcon stars Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, and Sydney Greenstreet in this 1941 film, directed by John Huston. The film is about Private Eye, Sam Spade(Bogart) who takes severals cases that are all linked together. He meets Brigid O'Shaughnessy(Astor) a conniving woman who plays up the innocent tricks, to get her way, and a group of men all trying to get their dirty hands on the maltese falcon. It's a marvelous film noir but several times, I was lost and confused. I didn't exactly get why everyone was so interested in the falcon and when they discover it's not what they thought it was, they just walk away from it, like it's no big deal. That confused me quite a bit. Humphrey Bogart is Sam Spade and seriously no one, and I mean no one could have played that role. Last night, I watched Lee Patrick in "Caged" and thought she was absolutely marvelous in that film, and in this film, she does it again. An absolutely underrated and talented actress, that had quite a versatility from her role in "Caged" to her role in "The Maltese Falcon".

Review for Tomorrow: The Big Sleep


Pola said...

The german version of this film contains an awful jazz soundtrack - Don't get me wrong: Jazz is marvellous music, but in this case they took some ghastly score which doesn't fit the story at all.

Sally said...

Great review! I have to agree with you - I was terribly confused about the value of the Maltese Falcon. They never seem to ever fully explain why everyone wants the darn thing so much. Maybe it's explained more in the book?

Wendymoon said...

The falcon itself is pretty much just a MacGuffin. It matters most in the movie for how it makes everyone act. The men walk away at the end still intending to seek it (Gutman's take is: what's to be gained by being upset? Let's go find it.) Focusing on it too much misses the point of the characters, especially of Sam Spade's actions, seeming to throw in with the crooks to solve the mystery.

What I love about this movie is Spade/Bogart and how he reacts to the other characters. The way he toys with Cairo/Lorre, the sparring with Gutman/Greenstreet, the little laughs at Brigid/Astor as she won't stop lying to him. Great stuff.

Artman2112 said...

dont they explain at some point that it's made of solid gold and encrusted with priceless jewels?? that would do it for me, lol!
Wendymoon is right though, not important why they want it, only how they are acting because of it.
it's a masterpiece! i love Eliza Cook jr in this, he seemed like a real hophead!!
if you ever get the chance check out the original version with Ricardo Cortez and Bebe Daniels. its not as good as this one but well worth a viewing and in some ways much more risque'. Dwight Frye plays the Eliza Cook part and as is often the case he steals every scene he's in.

regardless it's easy to see why Bogie became a huge star after this!