Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

This adaptation of a Dashiell Hammett novel stared Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor (remember her from Red Dust? She's not hot in this film either.), Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, and also featured Eliza Cook Jr (from just about everything). Directed by John Huston. Arguably, this is Bogart's most famous role after Casablanca.

Sam Spade and red shirt Miles Archer are detectives. Stereotypical bombshell walks into their office with a hard luck story. They take the case, and soon Archer is dead. Different groups of people turn to mess with Spade, who slowly pieces the real story together. Everyone has a back story and everyone is searching for a jewel-encrusted falcon statue, painted black to disguise it's real value. Who gets it? With all the smoking going on in this film, a black lung was more likely than a black bird. It says something about cigarettes when obese Greenstreet outlives Bogart and Lorre by more than ten years. Cook, it should be noted, lived to a ripe old 172.

The American Film Institute ranked this the 31st greatest movie of all time in 2007, then called it the 6th best in the genre of Mystery. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Screenplay.

With the marquee names and reputation, I have to say this was a bit of a let down. I enjoyed the movie, but I couldn't make heads or tails of the story. I think I'll need to watch it again. This time without child interruption. AMRU 3.5.

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