Sunday, August 31, 2014

Family Movie Night: The Maltese Falcon

Title: The Maltese Falcon
Director: John Huston
Original Release: 1941
Choice: My Wife's
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
via Wikipedia
The Maltese Falcon, based on Dashiell Hammett's novel of the same name, is Exhibit A for the film noir genre.  It was also, decades ago, the first Humphrey Bogart movie I ever saw.  Bogart plays Sam Spade, a San Francisco PI who gets mixed up with sinister characters, all in search of "the bird," a golden, bejeweled falcon statuette worth an unfathomable fortune.


The acting is good and the writing excellent.  Apart from all of the devices which would come to define the form - shadows, silhouettes, morally ambiguous characters - much of the fun of the story is watching the abrupt shifts in power dynamics within a single scene.  I enjoy the film and respect its stature within the medium but it's not one I feel compelled to watch repeatedly.

18 comments:

  1. Excellent choice, Squid. You'll never see the detective dragging demons into the light more efficiently than in that film.

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    1. It's a fun movie. It would make a great stage play. I didn't know - until just now - that the Bogart film was actually the third adaptation of the Hammett novel.

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  2. I loved that movie and have been wanting to watch it again for some time, now.
    I don't think I could ever drop it to a 3.

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  3. That's what's great about old movies--they didn't have the special effects we have today, so they had to be creative. There was such an art to it.

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    1. The high tech stuff is certainly dazzling but one wonders how well stories will hold up once the tech is outmoded. The Maltese Falcon is still a great film, 73 years later. It still will be 73 years from now.

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  4. Watching old movies makes us wonder about the missing special effects. We are so used to new technology now.

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  5. I always loved Peter Lorre. He might have been typecast most of the time, but his work was always great.

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    1. The resume's impressive. Long term, being typecast isn't so bad if you get to be in two of an era's seminal films.

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  6. I don't think I've ever watched a Bogart film. I will save them to my DVR when I see them on the list.

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    1. Definitely start with Casablanca. Besides that one and this one, I've seen two others: African Queen and Sabrina.

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  7. It's set the standard for a lot of film noir films, but it probably feels so familiar that it's not that interesting. Great points Squid.

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    1. I should probably do more to clarify my ratings. I fear that when I give a movie a 3, people think I don't like it. The Maltese Falcon is brilliant. I can't possibly deny that. But once is enough for me to get the point. If I were more conscious of the tech side of film, I have no doubt I'd get plenty out of repeated viewings.

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  8. When you're slapped you'll take it and like it. I love that movie.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. The writing is brilliant - no argument there!

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