The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon is a crime drama surrounding a statue of a bird that is worth a lot of money - and the people that would go through lengths to acquire it. Sam Spade, a private detective, gets entangled into the mess when a woman approaches his agency for protection, and various characters come to play.

Sam Spade initially starts to be a shady sort of character. However, throughout the film he proves that he is good at his job, and you end up rooting that all will go well for him. The people he encounters are a colorful sort who really knows how to play the game of manipulation. Since every character is different, you don't get bored watching them try to 'win' him over to their side. Yet you know he's a detective so he's playing these characters as well.

Humphrey Bogart doesn't disappoint, and he looked like he was having fun with his role. Mary Astor, Peter Lore and Sydney Greenstreet were good in their roles, making each of them stand out from the narrative. Even when there's not much to her character beyond sniffing and crying, Astor carried her in a such a way that she knows what's she doing and refuses to break character even when caught, relying on her strengths to get her out of mischief. Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lore's characters were more frank with their intentions though they have different approaches. It's evidenced by the manner on how they bring themselves, and yet it's clear that they're only thinking of their selves. However, my favorite character is Effie, played by Lee Patrick. Her frankness and how she reacts to the situation make her seem like a seasoned receptionist, and she has this air that makes you respect her.

The plot and narrative is clear cut, with everything tying together towards the end. The execution was done well, that you end up focusing on the scene at hand instead of pointing things out that may spoil the ending of the film. I could see myself watching this again.

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  1. I remember loving this film but not remembering much about it. Love a good Film Noir crime story and yes you're right Humphrey Bogart doesn't disappoint.

  2. This is such a wonderful film. Humphrey Bogart was amazing in this one.

    Shounak @ Life with Books & Movies

  3. I put off watching this for years even though I liked all the performers and most Huston films. I had two reasons for that, first I was reluctant because with its mighty reputation I was sure I was in for a letdown and second I had seen bits and pieces and was never engaged by what I saw. Well once I sat down to watch from beginning to end I realized my mistake, it isn't something you can enter into willy nilly on first view since it has a definite build and it deserves its reputation. It something that rewards the patient viewer and by the end you are completely in the story.

    LOVE Effie! Both the character and the actress who plays her. Lee Patrick is one of those consistently great character actresses who are never appreciated for their great skill. Mary Astor won the supporting actress Oscar this year for another wonderful performance in The Great Lie and while I would have rather seen her win for her sly turn in this I have no doubt that this performance played into her win. Lorre and Greenstreet make a great team, which the studio realized and reteamed them several times. Probably the best of those pairing is Three Strangers but all of the films are good.

    This film is why I don't object to films being remade. This was at least the third version of the story, the other two 1931's The Maltese Falcon and 1936's Satan Met a Lady, are variable...frankly Satan is a mess but the basic story is solid. However once they get it right as they do here leave well enough alone and move on to other material, you'll never improve on it.