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- The Maltese Falcon 1941 (Three-Disc Collector's Edition)
A gallery of High-living lowlifes will stopp at nothing to get their sweaty hands on a jewel-encrusted falcon . Detective Sam Spade (Humprey Bogart 1899 - 1957 ) wants to find out why -and who would take the fall of his partner's murder . An all-star casting ( including Sydney Greenstreet 1879- 1954 , Peter Lorre 1904-1964, Elisha Cook ,Jr 1903-1995 , Mary Ashtor 1906- 1987) joins Bogart in this cracking mystery masterwork written for the screen (from Dashiell Hammett's (1894-1961) novel) and directed by John Houston (1906 - 1987). This nominee for 3 academy awards (1941) Captulted Bogart to stardome and lauched Huston's directional career all with a bird and bang ! . Warner Brothers has one of the greatest film catalogs of any studio; yet they don't appear to take their DVD issues very seriously. Who on earth would put "Goodfellas" on two sides of a disc? or not release the "Director's Cut" version of "Eyes Wide Shut" (imagine the added revenue if they had)? or almost never digitally enhance the audio or visual transfer or provide any significant extras? Compared to the deluxe packages that Universal, Criterion, are a peculiar desecration of a vaunted film legacy.
Case in point: "The Maltese Falcon". Arguably the greatest detective film ever made, Warners at least releases it with a decent video transfer. Unfortunately, the audio synchronizing is off during the last 15 minutes of the movie (by a second but it's still noticable) and I wasn't able to access all the people on the "Cast and Crew" menual though I enjoyed the "Trailers of Humphrey Bogart" section, it would have been nice if Warners spent the money to create a documentary history of the film the way they did on Universal's "Casablanca" release.
Much ink has been spilt praising "The Maltese Falcon" so I won't go into any panegyrics here. It's just a shame that Warners doesn't take this market seriously enough to put more care into the DVD releases of their finest films. High Quality Transfer . Recommended
- Like Vintage Wine
A month's salary for a vintage wine is a bargain for many -- but one evening and it's gone. This is a vintage flick -- which can be enjoyed one special night a year for decades to come without losing its bouquet!
Perfect? No! A movie can't be. You must decide which set of weaknesses you accept in a most perfect film. At first I didn't like the combo J. Huston & Co. give us, but "they grow on you." Perhaps that -- which cannot be gauged at first -- is its' greatest strength.
Whatever! For those with a particular palate, this is vintage indeed....more info
- The Maltese Falcon is an Absolute Classic!
I love Humphrey Bogart movies. In this film, he plays no nonsense private eye Sam Spade. He is asked to investigate the alleged disapperance of a woman's sister. But really, the woman is trying to catch up to the person who has the coveted Maltese Falcon, a costly artifact that is centuries old.
Bogart meets many unscrupulous characters as he looks to not only solve the mystery, but to clear his own name, as he has been implicated in the death of his own partner.
The acting is terrific, the dialogue is deep, and the ending is surprising and satisfying. An all time classic!...more info
- The finest "private eye" ever made!
John Huston was one the greatest directors Hollywood ever had. His camera is an incisive and untiring witness that accompanies us along this enigmatic adventure in search of this historical statue.
Acquiring you will be owner of one of the landmark movies in all the history of cinema.
- The Stuff Dreams are made Of
"The Maltese Falcon" is a great movie because of its great actors and tight dialogue. Bogart, as the cynical but ultimately ultramoral, Sam Spade, is great as are his antitheses, Peter Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet and Mary Astor. Spade is suckered by a beautiful woman [Astor] into what turns out to be the criminal enterprise of locating the 'Maltese Falcon', a ceramic bird worth millions. Men and women fight and die to gain its possession.
The plot is convoluted but convincing and, finally, after the murder of several illicit wealth-seekers, the Falcon is located it and is found to be a phony. The cops lead the beautiful Astor who, while still proclaiming her 'love' for Bogart, off to her well-deserved punishment. Bogart, as Spade, has the opportunity to set her free but...does the 'right' thing and refuses to save her. Still, the last lines of the film really turn it from a good detective film to a great one. When asked what the worthless ceramic bird is all about, Spade answers, "The stuff dreams are made of."
Dreams, after all, aren't really about wealth. They are about pursuit.
Ron Braithwaite, author of novels--"Skull Rack" and "Hummingbird God"--on the Spanish Conquest of Mexico ...more info
- This is The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of.
This Is The Best Movie I Ever Seen A Great Package I've Ever Got
The Other To Are Pretty Good....more info
- Yes, but what about the DVD case(s)?
I give this five stars because the film is superb and there are some very nice special features on this new reissue - however, I have some complaints about the actual packaging of the discs. Rather than follow the route of Casablanca, Treasure of the Sierra Madre and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with the WB "cardboard" fold-out cases, which feel similar to Criterion DVDs and are higher quality, "Maltese Falcon" is just a standard DVD container with three smaller DVD cases inside - the same type of cheap, plastic DVD cases HBO began using for their DVDs of television shows a few years ago. They're the same as the "Arrested Development Season One" discs - it works for television shows because it's a bit easier to maintain, but I honestly think these are very annoying for films and they just don't appear to be as high quality as the standard WB classic reissues from the past few years.
I just wanted to voice a concern over this because I noticed that recently a LOT of DVDs are being re-issued with these flimsy, small, plastic DVD cases. They're smaller than standard cases (which his annoying if you have a DVD collection and like to have them all fit in a row together) and not nearly as nice, either....more info
- Maltese Falcon three disc special
Fascinating to see the three different versions, and how the dialogue and the whole style changes from one to the other, while the story remains essentially the same.Thoroughly recommended...more info
- Great Restoration of Maltese Falcon...HOWEVER......
I really enjoyed watching the restored John Huston version of the Maltese Falcon from this set of DVD's, However, the bonus materials are another matter. The volume levels on the bonus materials fluctuate quite a lot. Just when you think you have the right volume for your room on one segment,the next one is far too loud, not only scaring the dog,but resulting in a freshly popped bag of microwave popcorn to be spilled on to your lap and living room floor after you,ve been startled.
Also,on one of the cartoons,The original sountrack has been mixed to be heard in the left front speaker of a sound system and added music from a taped Cartoon recording session is heard on the right front speaker. It doesn't match up well and I found it jarring. All in all though a good set to have
This movie was supposed to be simlar to "The Big Sleep". Since I enjoyed "The Big Sleep" so much, I thought I'd give this one a try.
On the surface, this movie seems almost identical to "The Big Sleep". Both are classic hard boiled private detective movies. Both star Humphry Bogart. Both take place in California. And both movies even create a similar atmosphere.
Indeed the similarities between these movies do seem to outway the differences, but there are some differences. For example "The Maltese Falcon" is not about the adventures of Philip Marlow, but of Sam Spade, a different private detective from a different series of books. I've not read any of Sam Spade's books, but the general consensus among book reviewers seems to be that Raymond Chandler (the author of the Philip Marlow series) is much superior.
That, perhaps added to the fact that this film has no William Faulkner or Leigh Brackett credited on the screen play might account for the fact that the dialogue isn't as near as good as "The Big Sleep". But dialogue aside, I actually enjoyed the general story of "The Maltese Falcon" more.
The premise of "The Maltese Falcon" itself is based on a legend about the knights templars (just like another more recent popular novel/movie combination you may have heard of.) Several different people are interested in recovering the lost Templar treasure of the maltese falcon. There are several different characters with conflicting motives, and lots of betrayals and changing alliances. It requires a certain amount of close attention to keep track of everything, but if you watch closely, everything makes perfect sense in the end. Unlike "The Big Sleep", there are no big plot holes in this movie (or at least I didn't catch any. If someone out there has a quick eye, there welcome to point some out to me).
And there are a couple great shockers at the end. One of the them I saw coming, the other one took me by surprise. But both of them make perfect sense once you think about it.
The lighting and cinematography are superior in this movie as well, although I'm almost hesistant to bring that up because it makes it sound like I'm discussing a classic movie. From my point of view this was a really fun movie that just happens to be a classic. Like "The Big Sleep", it can hold its own against any of Hollywood's modern thrillers today.
Finally, this movie is worth seeing if for no other reason than it has a great performance by Peter Lorre. Peter Lorre was the Austrian-Hungarian actor who was famous as a great character actor. You might be thinking you don't know who he is, but actually you probably do. He usually plays the creepy characters in old movies. He's been parodied a million times by a million different people.
- A Classic Piece of Film
The Maltese Falcon is considered the first Film-Noir ever made and is a classic and highly innovative film starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, and Peter Lorre. The movie is #23 on The American Film Institute's Top 100 and is written and directed by John Huston. Right from the beginning of the movie I realized how many movies this thing has inspired. The first ten minutes of the film kept bringing to mind the first ten minutes of another classic film called "Chinatown." Ironically, "Chinatown" co-starred this films director John Huston. Bogart, in one of his most famous roles, plays Sam Spade, a Private detective who is hired by Brigid O'Shaughnessy (Astor) to chase away a man her sister is dating. Spade sends his partner Archer, but Archer (and the sisters' date) is killed. But Spade smells something fishy and his sense of smell is heightened when a mysterious man named Joel Cairo (Lorre) offers him $5000 dollars to find a jewel-encrusted falcon. Frequent scenes in which Sam outsmarts or outmuscles the bad guys are hilarious. The movie's final line is one of films most famous. This film doesn't evoke the same mood and tone that I associate with "film-noir" but whatever you want to call it...It's a great film. It's very entertaining, Sam Spade is one of Bogart's greatest creations (kind of the opposite of Rick, the character he would go on to play in "Casablanca"). Peter Lorre is wonderful as Cairo, although he's not quite as bugeyed as he was in the German-classic M. For another example of how good (and important) this movie is, I must mention that you can see echoes of this film in almost any detective movie that was made after it. This is a masterpiece of cinema. Don't miss it.
GRADE: A...more info
- Compare and contrast
The 'spotlight' reviews of The Maltese Falcon (1941) are on the money. It remains a remarkably modern, cynical film that holds up very well today. I remember my father talking about seeing it when it first came out, and talking of how, unlike so many other films, it moved like lightning. Mysteries in particular were typically slow moving films with too much comedy thrown in for light relief. The Huston version of The Maltese Falcon changed everything.
This new deluxe edition is wonderful, in part because it is great to finally have the two earlier versions easily available to watch, at least for a Falconite.
The Cortez version, yes, is inferior. It is an excellent contrast with the Huston version, in that it follows the story, uses similar dialogue, but in comparison is so...minor. It does have some nice extra scenes, including the ending, and is worth watching, but more as a document from an era. It has its own charms, but remains inferior to the 1941 version.
The 1935 version, though, is a remarkable disaster. It is terrible, either as a comedy or a mystery. There is pointless shifting of the story line (the Sydney Greenstreet character is a woman, to cite one ridiculous change). The Sam Spade character is a lightweight who does not give a damn about anything, but not because he is cynical--he just comes across as stupid.
But by far the biggest mistake is the waste of a radiant Bette Davis. One can only imagine what Davis would have been like working in the Huston version--although Mary Astor was totally terrific. The comedy version is an excellent example of Hollywood completely screwing up.
In this three disk special edition, the extras are both good and bad. I expected to see deleted scenes and bloopers from the Falcon movies--however, I don't remember any in the blooper reel provided. What was the point in seeing James Cagney and Pat O'Brien bloopers? The toons were okay, but so what? I haven't gotten yet to the radio versions, which should be interesting listening. But where is the documentary about the Huston version? About the other versions--the extras are all throwaways, which is annoying.
The transfers are excellent--I haven't noticed the synchronization problem one reviewer on these pages noticed, so I'll take another look.. ...more info
- The Maltese Falcon (Three-Disc Special Edition)
The Maltese Falcon (Three-Disc Special Edition)~ Humphrey Bogart is one of the best detective movies of all time. The character Sam Spade is a legend and every detective ever since has been modeled after this. Bogart is absolutely stupendous in his role and he should have won some kind of award for it. I might even say that the academy award would have been justified for this movie. The music is minimal but it is very effective. The script is very well written and I would have to say it is one of the best movies that I have ever seen. I give it 5 well deserved stars....more info
- Maltese Falcon Retrospective
The remastered print of the original John Huston classic made the viewing a treat for the seasoned viewer of this Dashiel Hammett classic. The additional material, such as the Warren Williams and Betty Davis versions of the story, were of particular interest for those who consider the Bogart version a cinematic gem. They provided Huston with a blueprint of what to avoid in the third rendering of the novel. The 3 disc special edition is a must for anyone who cherishes this genre and the historical evolution of literature on the screen....more info
- COLORIZED version is a unique experience for old and young!
The product on this page is the COLORIZED version which is hard to find. It is an experience to watch it with a teenager that despises black and white programming. I only wish that the powers that be would colorize this onto DVD using the new technology that was used to colorize the Ray Harryhausen black and white Sci-Fi classics "Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers", It Came from Beneath the Sea" and "20 Million Miles to Earth". ...more info
- The Ace of all Sam Spades!
"The stuff that dreams are made of," or, for some, the greatest private eye movie there ever was gets the royal treatment in this "Three-Disc Special Edition." "The Maltese Falcon" has ensnared so many fans in its 65 years- so many that its been lampooned and "Looney-tuned" the world over. It's hard to know where to begin. Let's just say it's here where the whole Humphrey Bogart mystique truely takes hold in his incomparable role as Sam Spade.
Both crafty and shafty, a "hero" only in the sense that he wins the game of "the smarter crook," Bogart is riveting to watch. He's also superbly supported by a steller cast including a heart- aching turn by Mary Astor as Spade's "love interest" and a classic rouge's gallery of criminals including Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre (Bogart's two "Casablanca co-stars). My fave, though is Elisha Cook Jr. as creepy man/child bodyguard, Wilmer who Bogart laughable taunts throughout.
First time director John Huston wisely did not stray from the book as Hammett's prose is fabulously tart ("Shoo her in, darling. Shoo her in.") and orchestrates the dialog and situations in such a frantic pace that you're consistantly jucied even though most of the action consist of few characters on small, dimly lit sets (add a thunderous musical score and you have the perfect example of the Warner Brothers house style).
This dvd edition is indeed historic as it finally, FINALLY, puts all in one package the original, little seen, "good-on-its-own-terms," 1931 version of "The Maltese Falcon" as well as its inferior, thinly veiled 1936 remake "Satan Met a Lady" (co-starring Bette Davis) one . Starring Ricardo Cortez as a slicker, prettier Spade, the original like its 1941 remake follows Hammett's book closely and is fascinating to watch just how much of Huston's version was actually derivative. It's just that Huston built the better mouse trap....more info
- One of the ten best films ever made in Hollywood
I'm so tired of seeing weak new movies; thank god for strong old ones! Here's a masterpiece I've seen at least twenty times in the last three decades, and it never gets old.
What makes these classic studio pictures great (when they are great....most are not...Hollywood has always been about money before art...when art happens it seems accidental...)? I think it's that there were no special effects, no garish color, no visual tricks to pull out of a hat when things slow down. Dramatic craftsmanship was needed, and was sometimes delivered in spades [insert pun here].
Two things make the best black and white chestnuts great: a very strong story that's well-paced and develops intelligently, and strongly written characters played by actors who know that stories hinge on character development as much as on plot development. The two should go hand in hand. When they do, real art ensues.
I love the writing of both Hammett and Chandler; hard-boiled dialogue is hard to beat when it's done well, and they are the masters. Hammett may have invented the modern solipsistic detective with his Continental Op, a long cry from Holmes and Poirot. The Op turned into Sam Spade and the Falcon is all about Spade, and Bogie's innate understanding of this mostly good man stuck in a mostly bad world.
The dialogue is razor sharp, the direction gemlike in its precision. No wasted lines, no wasted camera movement, no wasted time. The movie starts fast and never lets up. We get some truly classic characters, and the actors make these good roles into masterpieces, especially Lorre and Greenstreet. There are some phenomenally fine shots here; chiaroscuro this sharp rarely comes from outside Europe.
There is far too much to list in terms of greatness in the Falcon. It is about as good as Hollywood ever got in telling a story and making it entertaining; we can thank mainly Hammett for that. The weltschmerz and hard-bitten cynicism on display here are far too intelligent for films these days.
Ain't it funny that the best old black and white movies show us so clearly that life is never black and white, while movies in dazzling color tend to make life seem one-dimensional, in a good guy vs. bad guy way? The Falcon has no good guy, just a bunch of people who are all good and bad.
When I get sick of crappy movies, I put this baby on and am reminded of why I love movies so much in the first place. Like good music and good literature, they take me somewhere new (even if I've been there before) and send me home knowing more about myself and the world than I did when I started. They also remind me that art and love are where you choose to find them, for they are everywhere. Even in the dark corners of life.
And in the end, shweetheart, only you can make you happy.
- How can you find fault with this classic
Humpry Bogart is a favorite in our family. Although I've seen this before I was again impressed with the dialog and both overt and subtile gestures that added so much to this movie. I'd have to put the African Queen (still not on DVD!!!), the Maltese Falcon, and Casablanca as the top three Bogart films in my estimate....more info
- The Maltese Falcon ( 3-disc set)
This an classic by bogart, and I love this special edition 3-disc set. If love the classic, you had to buy this 3-disc set, I got an great deal at Amazon.com. ...more info
- Groundbreaking Film
Amazon is right to tag The Maltese Falcon as essential video. This is a great period movie and stylistic film. It was also a trendsetter. It established Humphrey Bogart's career as a leading man, made the anti-hero a stable of Hollywood, and launched film noir into a fad. It's also fun to watch how Warner Bros. had to dance around the film censors of 1941. Times have changed. If you're not familiar with the norms of day, then when Spade is conflicted at the end, you might wonder when he consummated a relationship with the Mary Astor character. Everything was kept off-screen in those days, and the hints were obtuse as well.
This is a great film. I have only one objection: Astor didn't have the appeal necessary to carry off her role. Spade would never fall for that dame. A strong female lead is as necessary for great drama as a nasty bad guy. I guess that why The African Queen and Casablanca are my favorite Bogart films.
- Well deserved special presentation of an immortal classic
One of the finest detective films ever finds Humphrey Bogart, as private eye Sam Spade, up to his trench coat in greed, deception and murder. Joining Bogie in the search for the priceless "black bird" are Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Elisha Cook, Jr.; John Huston's directorial debut. This collector's set also includes the first two film versions of Dashiell Hammett's thriller: "The Maltese Falcon" (1931), starring Ricardo Cortez, Bebe Daniels and Dudley Digges; and Bette Davis and Warren William in "Satan Met a Lady" (1936). Trivia - The corpse in the office at the beginning of the film lying face down is actually Walter Huston, director John's father! ...more info
- A classic indeed
Talk about a movie that is standing the test of time. I've put off seeing this movie for I don't know how long. For some reason I had fixed in my mind that I wouldn't like it--BUT boy was I wrong. Bogart shines like the star he was. He commands every scene his in and is able to whip out this fast talking piece with convincing believability. One thing for sure, you have to pay attention or you can easily get lost. The only angle I thought that could have been cut is the whole you love me I know you do stuff. When Mary Astor start spitting that nonsense I started wondering when did anyone have time to fall in love in this movie. Great script, good direction. And all around winner in my book.
- Always a pleasure
Excellent production. Package contains enhanced feature cut, the original and the first Falcon called Satin is a Lady. Nice complete package w/ exc ellent special features....more info
Brilliant! I don't have much else to say!
Humphrey Bogart is an amazing actor, and the movie is well written and directed. This collection, too, is great! With two other versions of the same story, you can learn why Bogart's rendition is the only one spoken of. And the quality is outstanding!...more info
- John Huston's directorial debut
After working as a screenwriter, John Huston was finally allowed to direct a film in 1941 when Warner Brothers chose him to adapt Dashiell Hammett's classic detective novel "The Maltese Falcon." Actually, Warners had already filmed the story before, with rather mixed results. It is a tribute to Huston's abilities that he was able to produce the definitive film version of the story and establish Humphrey Bogart as a major star.
Bogart had, of course, already been steadily growing as an actor, particularly due to his work as gangsters in the legendary "The Petrified Forest" and "High Sierra." In "The Maltese Falcon" Bogart played a private detective and brought a combination of sarcasm and menace to the role. His portrayal of Sam Spade became one of the greatest roles of his career and established his versatility, even if he sometimes complained about being forced to play parts he didn't like (the fate of other major Warners stars such as Bette Davis and Olivia DeHavilland).
It's delightful, however, to watch Bogart's detective matching wits with the likes of Gladys George, Mary Astor, Sidney Greenstreet (in his screen debut at age 61!), Peter Lorre, Elisha Cook, Ward Bond, etc. Huston clearly had a very good cast and he used them well, even challenging the censors with Peter Lorre's prissy Joel Cairo. The onscreen relationships are all rather unusual and remarkable for a 1941 film.
The pacing of the film is also quite good, through skillful use of the camera and careful editing. Huston was innovative in using sets that appear to have real ceilings, something that Orson Welles also did that same year in "Citizen Kane." Although filmed on the Warners lot in Burbank, Huston was able to use some second unit shots of San Francisco and clever intercutting with duplicates of San Francisco scenes to create the illusion that the film was actually filmed entirely in San Francisco. Huston also accurately represented key elements of "the City," as local residents called it, whether it be the use of actual street names or buildings much like those found in San Francisco.
For the first time Huston even utilized his own father, Walter, in a brief but key scene in which the actual statue of the falcon is delivered. Years later, of course, Walter Huston had a major role, again with Bogart, in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre."
Perhaps the bird in the story is much like Alfred Hitchcock's "MacGuffin" in so many of his films. While the falcon is supposedly found, only to prove a fake, the really important thing is learning who was responsible for the three murders in the story. As with the original story, Huston manages to keep us guessing, not revealing the final truths until almost the end of the film. Little wonder that many consider this the greatest detective film ever made....more info
- The Falcon Times Three
This is a great DVD that features all three film versions of Dashiell Hammett's greatest novel, The Maltese Falcon. Each version has a story surrounding it. The first one, made in 1931, starred Richard Cortez as Sam Spade. Cortez's performance wasn't half bad, although he looks too much like Gene Kelly when he flashes his grin. The screenwriter also added a superfluous scene at the end that tends to edge toward pedantry in that it beats the viewer over the head with the message. Satan Met a Lady (1933) is the secod version, featuring a young and gorgeous Bette Davis as the femme fatale. She's wasted in this one, though, which was complately reworked to try to make it more like the Thin Man movies, which were popular at the time. The dark theme of Hammett's novel was erased and replaced with a light-hearted, British sounding motif. The characters were reworked as well, with disappointing results. The movie is interesting only because it shows how great Huston's 1941 version, with Bogart, was. Huston took Hammett's tough, lean dialogue and transferred it to the screenplay with Bogie, Sidney Greenstreet, Mary Astor, and Peter Lorrie to deliver the lines. Who could ask for a better combination? This one's a must for any fan of The Maltese Falcon. ...more info
- One of the best films of the era
The Maltese Falcon stands as one of the finest detective films ever made. Jonh Huston's debut is a marvelous adaptation of Hammet's novel. The set also includes the first two attempts at turning the novel into a film, whihc didnt turn out so well. This is the film that made Bogart and it shows in his performance. Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre also show up to give the film impeccable character.
The only problem I have with the DVD is that the transfer isn't nearly as good as the one for Casablanca. It would have been nice if Warner Bros had given the same amount of care for this film....more info
- Great Film... a Classic.
Wow! I loved this film. Totally not what I expected. It was a great movie with great acting and a great villain. If you have problems watching old movies or movies that aren't in color this is a good movie to see. I personally don't see "color" when it comes to movies. I'm not a movie bigot. I really love the black and white films with great cinematography and acting! LOVED IT....more info
- Movie mastery throughout
How do you review an acknowledged classic movie? One must say that, of its kind, 'The Maltese Falcon' is justifiably classified as among the very best. I refer, of course and only, to the Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lore version.
These 'old' black and white movies probably appear very 'out of date' to many younger people. This might be, but the films themselves are masterpieces. They rely on acting, directing and a good story to carry them along. Today, with all the bells and whistles - particularly the 'special effects', absolute rubbish is often considered good entertainment. Not so in the days gone by. Then, quality HAD to be evident, or the movies flopped.
The Maltese Falcon, Bogart edition, is supremely good in all respects and the colour doesn't matter in the slightest.
The surplus and absolutely redundant 'extras' included can, without loss, be left unopened!
- Knights of Maltese Falcon
An excellent film all around. I'd like to see any of today's directors or actors produce all this complication in a one room setting. I also want to point out that the official Amazon review terms the title "Maltese Falcon" as a "Middle Eastern" treasure. Don't tell any Maltese that! Malta is in the western mediterranean just south of Sicily, hardly near the Middle East. Occupied for centuries by Italy, it was the site of the famous 16th century battle where a smaller contingent of Catholic European knights (9000, most of whom were common islanders) held off a huge seige by 40,000 Mulsim Turks, establishing the order of the Knights of Malta that is still an official Roman Catholic Knightly order. At the time, Spain contolled the island and Charles V gave the island to the Knights of St. John to resist the advance of the Ottoman Turks, who he feared might conquer Rome and end Christianity in Europe. A "Maltese Falcon" therefore would have been a object associated with this period and the Knights of Malta as the Wikipedia quote from below seems to prove.
The Maltese Falcon: When Charles V handed the island over to the Knights, one of the conditions attached to the handover was that the Order would send the King a live falcon as an annual tribute. The jewel-encrusted golden falcon of Dashiell Hammett's novel The Maltese Falcon (adapted by John Huston into a famous 1941 film) is entirely fictitious.
The fact that Malta is part of the British Commonwealth and a member of the European Union as well as its location refutes the idea that Malta is a Middle Eastern or the fictitious falcon statue of the film a Middle Eastern treasure. It is true that like Spain it was occupied by Muslims in the 8th century and the Arabs influenced the Maltese language. It was also under Norman rule in the 12th century and today Matlese and English are the official languages of the island. According to Wikipedia, the islands first occupants in pre-bronze age history seem to have come from the north and established the well known, Central European Goddess culture with a notable temple existing in 3600BC - the oldest free standing structure in the world.
All of this surely shows why the movie, "The Maltese Falcon" was so intriguing. Malta is a very ancient and historically complex island.
- 3 stars out 4
The Bottom Line:
An overrated early noir that suffers from O'Shaughnessy's uninspired performance and the lack of any compelling characters the audience cares about, The Maltese Falcon is only really alive when Sydney Greenstreet is onscreen; look to Treasure of the Sierra Madre or Double Indemnity for similar themes done better....more info
- A masterpiece
If I see a better film on DVD this year (2007), it's going to have to be quite something to beat this. Based on the novel by Dashell Hammett Bogart plays Sam Spade (Private Detective), a role he was born to play. He and his partner are hired by a woman who claims a man is keeping her and her sister separated. Soon after this things spiral out of control.
The screenplay by John Huston is magnificent. The dialog is sharp and there isn't a wasted breath. Mind you Huston's direction is equally good and as for the the cast, well perfection is the only word I can think of. Peter Lorre as the oily Joel Cairo has never been better than he is in this film. Sdyney Greenstreet is fabulous as Kasper Gutman. Amazingly at the age of 62, and weighing close to 300lbs this was Greenstreet's debut film performance. Finally there is Bogart, an icon certainly, but also a great actor with a huge amount of screen presence. What surprised me watching the film again recently is how small Bogart seemed, but checking the records it turns out he was 5' 10.5".
The film is currently ranked 57th on the IMDB (www.imdb.com) all-time top 250 films, which for a film that is 66 years old is pretty amazing. However when you watch it you will find out why. ...more info