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Home » Film Reviews » Maltese Falcon, The


Maltese Falcon, The (1941)

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston   [See details]
Directed by: John Huston
Runtime:1 hour and 41 minutes
MPAA rating:Rated NR
Genre(s): Drama, Noir
Synopsis:One of the all-time greatest film-noir detective mysteries and John Huston's incredible directorial debut. Adapted from Dashiell Hammett's hard-edged detective novel. Hard-boiled San Francisco private eye Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) is hired by pretty client Ruth Wonderly/Brigid O'Shaughnessy (Mary Astor) to trail her that evening. When partner Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) is shot dead that night, Spade quickly becomes a murder suspect. He also finds himself at the center of a great deal of attention by a group of shady, unsavory characters (including Fat Man Kasper Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet) and his henchmen Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) and hired gun Wilmer (Elisha Cook, Jr.)). They are on the elusive search for a "black bird," the stolen Maltese Falcon statuette. With superb moody images, a sinister atmosphere, a pace that accelerates as tension mounts, and an innovative film noir style.
Catalog #:6540
 
Price: $19.99
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Brief Cast Overview
Humphrey Bogart    ...    Private Detective Sam Spade
Mary Astor    ...    Brigid O'Shaughnessy
Walter Huston    ...    Capt. Jacobi
Sydney Greenstreet    ...    Kasper Gutman
Elisha Cook Jr.    ...    Wilmer Cook

Technical Specification
Encoding: Region 0*  [See details]
Format:    Fullscreen
Color: Black and white
Edition: Import
     
Language: English
Sound: Dolby Sound
Subtitles: Not available
*DVD will play on any regional DVD player

Film Review
A priceless movie for Bogart, detective and Film Noir fans. This 1941 gem—John Huston's directorial debut—is the precise point where Humphrey Bogart really became a legendary actor; heretofore his efforts, even in "High Sierra," had always seemed a bit caricatural. But in incarnating famed crime author Dashiell Hammett's San Francisco sleuth Sam Spade, Bogart finally matures as an actor, showing greater depth and versatility than he ever had previously. But it is not only Bogart that shines in the Maltese Falcon. Actually, the third time the Dashiell Hammett had been filmed, this version combines all the elements necessary to make a true movie classic: story, direction, stars, and support cast. The malevolent Peter Lorre, corpulent Sidney Greenstreet, psychopathic Elisha Cook, and the venomously attractive Mary Astor all make up a fascinating rogue's gallery. From the opening titles to the final sequence with the condemned Astor's elevator ride to destiny, this movie is like a snifter of fifty-year old Louis XIII cognac-superlative to the very last drop. 

Rating:  (4.5 out of 5 stars)

- John E. Epson

Awards and Nominations
Academy Award, The® (USA):
Winner = Indicates winner

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