A gallery of high-living lowlifes will stop at nothing to get their sweaty hands on a jewel-encrusted falcon. Detective Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) wants to find out why - and who'll take the fall for his partner's murder. An all-star cast (including Sydney Greenstreet, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre and Elisha Cook Jr.) joins Bogart in this cracking mystery masterwork written for the screen (from Dashiell Hammett's novel) and directed by John Huston.
- The Maltese Falcon review by Steve Mason
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For this third version of of Dashiell Hammett's classic novel, first time director John Huston just filmed the book. All the dialogue was Hammett's and there were no embellishment with the plot. Former Pinkerton Agent Hammett knew what he was writing about, and in Sam Spade, he gave us cinema's first authentic PI. And Humphrey Bogart's first signature role.
But the rest of the story is actually quite theatrical, with the elaborate McGuffin of the Knight Templars' falcon, and the band of colourful crooks in it's pursuit. That the three male conspirers were obviously gay, seems a remarkable detail now, given that the Hay's Commission was in full swing.
Where The Maltese Falcon really scores, is in its casting. Bogart is great as the morally ambiguous, fast talking Spade. Mary Astor is the deliciously duplicitous femme fatale, Brigid O' Shaughnessy, a legendary character for fans of Film Noir. Elisha Cook and Peter Lorre are treasurable as the henchmen, Wilmer, and Joel Cairo. But perhaps best of all, Sidney Greenstreet as the huge, loquacious, dangerous Kaspar Gutman.
The Maltese Falcon is a fascinating thriller, with its cast of totally unreliable criminals, and a hero you are never sure of. It is stuffed with fantastic dialogue, particularly in the wonderful final scene. Arguably it is the first Film Noir. And it seems to get better with each passing year.
Oscar-nominated Technicolor musical short "The Gay Parisian"
2 classic cartoons:"Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt" and "Meet John Doughboy"
Trailer of 1941's Sergeant York
'The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird' documentary
Studio blooper reel make up tests
Robert Osborne hosts becoming atractions
The trailers of Bogart breakdowns of 1941
This disc includes the main feature
This disc includes the following special features:
- 'The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird' documentary
- Robert Osborne hosts becoming atractions
- Studio blooper reel make up tests
- The trailers of Bogart breakdowns of 1941
Parental Guidance - general viewing but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children