The Maltese Falcon

Title: The Maltese Falcon
Year: 1941
Length: 101 minutes
Director: John Huston
Writer: John Huston, based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, Elisha Cook Jr.
Music: Adolph Deutsch
Distinctions: Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Greenstreet); currently #83 on IMDb’s Top 250

My reaction
Synopsis: Humphrey Bogart, solving a mystery and loving every minute of it
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), yesterday
Concept: Good.
Story: Indifferent. I expected something twisty and turny. The movie’s more about how Bogart’s character copes with having no idea what’s going on than it is about the “mystery.” Which would be fine, but it still goes through all the motions of being a detective story.
Characters: Great.
Dialog: Good. Often corny, as it should be, but unfortunately not over-the-top corny.
Pacing: Indifferent. Too fast.
Cinematography: Great.
Special effects/design: Great.
Acting: Good.
Music: Good.
Subjective Rating: 7/10 (Good). Excellently directed and adapted, but the plot just isn’t all that compelling.
Objective Rating: 3.1/4 (Very good).


One Response to The Maltese Falcon

  1. Um, I think you missed the point of this movie. It is the first real Film Noir film. It introduced the dark, treacherous world of urban life. The private eye, Sam Spade does not know who to trust other than his secretary. He knows that he must figure out what the Black Bird is all about (hence a real mystery–and as Hitchcock named it, a MacGuffin) and who killed his partner. He must unravel all of the twists of the plot and the various characters to get to that point of personal resolution. It also introduces us to the hard boiled detective and his lexicon.

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