Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Synopsis: Gumshoe romances Mary Astor, smacks around Peter Lorre, smokes a lot of cigarettes and winds up with ugly bird.
Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “The Maltese Falcon (1941), the third screen version of Dashiell Hammett’s novel, is also a film of firsts: John Huston’s directorial debut, rotund 62-year old Sydney Greenstreet’s screen debut, film history’s first film noir, and Bogart’s breakthrough performance.
What Did I Learn?: Homicide investigators don’t mind it when some greasy private investigator refuses to give them straight answers.
You Might Like This Movie If: You’re a fan of Jon and Vangelis, and you want to get the references in “The Friends of Mr. Cairo.”
Really?: 1) Spade repeatedly disarms Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) and Wilmer (Elisha Cook Jr.) and then returns their guns. 2) When Spade finds out his business partner has been murdered, he doesn’t want to speak to the man’s widow (Spade was banging her on the side), and his first thought is to have the window and door signage changed to reflect the new ownership.
Rating: I realize The Maltese Falcon is considered to be a classic, but it’s actually rather dull. The movie is scene after scene of Bogart acting like a tough guy with the other characters (none of whom are the least bit likeable), and then Greenstreet explains everything at the end. 5/10 stars.

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