The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon

John Huston (1941)

96min
PG Certificate
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Review

Our Score
This third version of Dashiell Hammett's hard-boiled crime drama is superb cinematic entertainment. It completely obliterated memories of the two perfectly fine earlier versions and created a brand-new movie icon in Humphrey Bogart's cynical private detective, Sam Spade, a role that brought Bogart a richly deserved stardom after years of toil in supporting parts. It was also the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Bogie and John Huston, who was then a screenwriter making his feature debut as director, and whose tart screenplay retains most of the sharp dialogue and sleazy amorality of Hammett's original. The supporting cast is an extraordinary combination that couldn't be bettered - stage actor Sydney Greenstreet made his screen debut as Gutman, lusting after the Black Bird; Peter Lorre is the whiny, effeminate Joel Cairo; Mary Astor is cast against type as femme fatale supreme Brigid O'Shaughnessy. Watch, too, for Huston's distinguished father Walter as a ship's officer who delivers the Falcon, and admire the pace and panache generated by the Warner Bros production team.

Summary

Cynical private eye Sam Spade is drawn into a dangerous hunt for a mysterious statuette following his partner's murder. John Huston's film noir crime drama, based on Dashiell Hammett's novel, starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet.

Cast & Crew

Sam Spade Humphrey Bogart
Brigid O'Shaughnessy Mary Astor
Joel Cairo Peter Lorre
Kasper Gutman Sydney Greenstreet
Det Tom Polhaus Ward Bond
Det Lt Dundy Barton MacLane
Iva Archer Gladys George
Effie Perine Colleen Fitzpatrick
Miles Archer Jerome Cowan
Wilmer Cook Elisha Cook Jnr
Director John Huston
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteAvailable on: video, DVD and Blu-ray
Drama