Watching all the movies on the Warner Bros. 50-movie box set that I bought for cheap. This week the random number generator hits the mean streets in search of The Maltese Falcon.
Here’s what happens: Private eye Sam Spade takes what appears to be a routine job, helping a woman protect her sister. When Spade’s business partner is murdered, the trail leads to a group of criminal types in search of a long-lost treasure.
Why it’s famous: Humphrey Bogart’s standout performance as detective Sam Spade, more or less defining what we think of as the “Bogie” personality.
Get your film degree: Notice how there’s no extended character introduction scenes for Sam Spade. The movie begins when the client walks into office, and the plot is off and running with the first lines of dialogue.
Movie geekishness: Although there is the occasional punch thrown, the real “action” in the movie is in the wordplay. The thrills come from those moments when Spade outwits and out-talks his enemies.
Thoughts upon this viewing: It took me a while to get into The Maltese Falcon, as it’s more dialogue driven and less hard-boiled noir than I expected. Once I got into the movie’s vibe, however, I was totally on board. I’m guessing it’ll reward multiple rewatches in the future.
Next week: What’s a “Mithrandir,” exactly?
Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.