Friday, January 22, 2010

The Maltese Falcon

DVD review from The Movie Snob

The Maltese Falcon (B). Humphrey Bogart (Casablanca) plays San Francisco private eye Sam Spade in this 1941 release. A beautiful and distraught woman hires him and his partner, Miles Archer, to tail a man who has supposedly run off with her sister. Next thing you know, Archer and the man he was tailing both turn up dead, and the woman's story about her sister is exposed as a lie from start to finish. Turns out instead that she and some other underworld types are in a race to find a fabulous gold-and-jewel-encrusted totem from the Middle Ages called the Maltese Falcon, and Spade will need all his wits to figure out what's going on and save his own neck. Not a bad little story, although Mary Astor, the femme fatale, didn't really strike me as all that gorgeous. Spade is a much meaner, colder character than Philip Marlowe, the private eye Bogart played in The Big Sleep. This film also stars Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre, who would go on to appear with Bogart again in Casablanca, and Elisha Cook, Jr., who would appear with Bogart in The Big Sleep and would also turn up as a guest star on the original Star Trek TV series. Worth a look.

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