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A good movie tells a story that hooks the audience. It creates curiosity. It causes something to happen as a result of a person's actions. The movie The Maltese Falcon satisfies these requirements, because John Huston the director story-boarded every frame of the film before he started filming. His picture drawings created the movie in a linear sequence of illustrations. In other words, Huston graphically organized the narrative. This is the reason the actors are so memorable. The quote that headlines my review was spoken by the actor Sydney Greenstreet as the fat man Kasper Gutman. Could you possibly imagine any other actor than Greenstreet as Gutman? Could you imagine any other actor than Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade or Mary Astor as Ruth Wonderly? Of course not! However, let's not get carried away. Let's simply say that an enduring, memorable film has a beginning, a middle, and an end that tells a story and leave it at that. Too many people in Hollywood today have forgotten this fact!
To say that "The Maltese Falcon" could've been a whole better than it was would truly be an understatement like no other. It's true.
I mean, this vintage motion picture was apparently a real box-office hit when it was first released back in 1941. But, with a story as confused as it was, I can't imagine that "The Maltese Falcon" was actually looked upon as being an important offering to its audience.
Clearly a product of its time - 1941's "The Maltese Falcon" is (IMO) very much like taking a somewhat rocky, little stroll down old "Memory Lane".
While WW2 raged on over in Europe - "The Maltese Falcon" was just the sort of film that certainly proved to be one of the best kinds of escapism from the horrors of reality for American audiences back home.
Personally, I found this picture to be somewhat confusing in its storytelling.
I think it's interesting to note that author, Dashiell Hammett (whose 1930 novel of the same name was used as this film's basis) was blacklisted as a "Commie" in 1953 during the vicious McCarthy witch hunts.
Last night I was feeling in a bit of a nostalgic mood. And, so - With that, I decided to take a stroll down Hollywood's "Memory Lane" with 1941's "The Maltese Falcon".
Loosely based on the 1930 novel (of the same name) penned by famous crime-writer, Dashiell Hammett (who, in 1953, was blacklisted) - The Maltese Falcon (clearly a product of its time) actually turned out to be a bit of a let-down (though not a major one) for me.
Now, I'm certainly not going to get into trashing this John Huston production in a big way - But I will say that this film has not aged well and its story clearly left a whole lot to be desired.
Now nearly 80 years old - This vintage, Hollywood crime-drama from 1941 was OK at best. It really hasn't aged very well. And the performances were almost laughable at times.
Very wooden acting and stock characterizations. There are irregularities in the plot line that would not be tolerated in a modern movie. The movie was frustratingly out of date.
Not totally boring, but close; few old movies appeal to my sound bite sensibility--The action is just too slow. I'm looking forward to Baby Driver, Ronin being one of my favorite films.
Like Sam Spade, in the book the reader is left to wonder what is the big secret his client is keeping. The movie loses a lot of suspense by letting the viewer into it immediately. I don’t think Bogart was (physically) able to convey the Mephistophelian looks Hammett intended for Spade, but he did a very good job. Bogart made a more charming, not a so slimy sort of hard-boiled dick. Mary Astor most definitely conveyed the character’s psychological traits, not her beauty and youth—Miss Astor was then 35 years old, ten years too old for Hammet’s Brigid. I loved Peter Lorre as the effeminate Joel Cairo; but unfortunately Gladys George couldn’t get in the skin of the sexy Iva Archer of the book. Although a film noir, it didn’t carry to the screen the heaviness the book pages exuded. All in all, it was a very good movie, that I enjoyed more than the book--and kept quite close to the book's plot.
This is a 1941 film noir based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett.
The story follows a San Francisco private detective and his dealings with three unscrupulous adventurers, all of whom are competing to obtain a jewel-encrusted falcon statuette.
In 1539 the Knight Templars of Malta paid tribute to Charles V of Spain by sending him a Golden Falcon encrusted from beak to claw with rarest jewels.
But pirates seized the galley carrying this priceless token.
The fate of the Maltese Falcon remains a mystery to this day.
It would be much more fascinating if the director looked into this mystery.
OlivePlaid apparently has hard time realizing how special editions work... and that the movie is on the third disk!
Nor able to realize that this isn't a Complaint Section, but a book / movie review area!
In that regard, this movie is both a classic and absolutely excellent!
Waste of time if you are looking for a movie since at least two of the discs in this volume are special features and not the actual movie named on the cover.
First and best film noir, in fact one of the best films ever made. Everything about it is letter perfect. Bogart is overpowering as Sam Spade, and Mary Astor is the very essence of a femme fatale, plus the supporting cast is flawless.
why is it assumed that woman is going to jail for killing miles? sam spades' say so? theres no evidence against her.
Everyone who likes movies should watch this a few times over their lifetime. I'll just comment about the features, which aren't real features. Other than the trailers for a few contemporary films, there's only one feature. It's a commentary overdubbed over the film as it progresses, but it's really about this and that character actor (Ward Bond, for instance) and his career and relationship to Bogart, or someone else. Nothing about the film itself. A few quaint notes here and there about a poster in the background in this particular scene that advertises a Bogie flick that was his very worst; or about how only in a single wordless scene, where his partner gets shot, does Sam Spade not appear onscreen. Etc.
One of the best films ever, period. Bogart at his finest, and he's surrounded by a brilliant cast.
A stylistic piece of workmanship. (Supposedly) touted as the first of the film noir genre. Bogart was larger than life. The entire cast was superb, notably the 'humbugging' Greenstreet, and the sniveling Lorre. A helluva directorial debut for John Huston. FIVE STARS.
Considered to be the best film noir ever produced. And John Huston made this as a first time director.
"This is the stuff that dreams are made of."
Considered by many to be the best film noir ever made. This movie and the movie Julia got me to read 3 or 4 of Dashiell Hammett's novels plus read a biography of Hammett.
I myself consider Chinatown to be closest to this one in excellence, with the full essence of film noir.
Stands up well against contemporary movies. It's one of those movies that keeps you riveted and is over before you know it.