General Fiction posted February 9, 2020


Excellent
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Review

Maltese Falcon

by Rikki66

Fog wet and cold draped the city by the bay like a shroud. From the shore, the lights of Alcatraz were obliterated. A single shot echoing across the bay killed Miles Archer. This is how I would have opened The Maltese Falcon.

John Houston, who is smarter than me chose to open the film like the book in the offices of Spade and Archer detectives, Thusly Introducing the leads and the first lie.

Mr. Archer would not become the late Miles Archer until several scenes later.

"It's the stuff dreams are made of" So ends The Maltese Falcon. To get to the end you must go through three murders, four plot twists, three betrayals, and a failed romance or two.
There are more lies and half-truths in the film runtime than in a political campaign.

In nineteen forty-one John Huston adapted Daschel Hammet's book to the screen. The book had been adapted ten years earlier with Bebe Daniels and Ricardo Cortez. Houston chose Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor as his leads. Both were box-office draws in 1941.

The basic story is three thieves and two murderers are seeking an enameled blackbird. They will do or say anything to come into possession of the statuette.

Sam Spade (Bogart) is hired by Miss Wonderley (Astor) to find her sister, that is in the hands of Floyd Thursby. Miles Archer volunteers for the job. Archer is killed so is Thursby. Wonderley moves to a different hotel and changes her name to LaBlanc.
Confronted by Spade she admits her name is O'Shaughnessy and tells him about the blackbird.

Enter Joel Cairo, Levantine, hinted at being a homosexual best described by one line from Spade, "When you're slapped you'll take it and like it."

Enter the kid; a gunsel from New York, an aide to the Fat Man the last of the thieves. The most devious, the one that had been tracking the bird the longest.

John Houston's script is true to the novel, only deleting superfluous side plots that would have done nothing but confuse the audience.

A romance is implied between Spade and O'Shaughnessy, being 1941 the code was in effect and other than a few kisses nothing else occurs, just innuendo.

If you are a mystery lover, crime buff or lover of Film Noir this is the movie for you.

This is one of the best films ever made, so five Rikkis is the score.



It ranks 15 on the AFI top 100 movies.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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