Monday, January 20, 2014

The Three Faces of The Maltese Falcon, Part 3: The Maltese Falcon, 1941: “The Stuff That Dreams are Made Of”

"In 1539, the Knight Templars of Malta, paid tribute to Charles V of Spain,by sending him a Golden Falcon encrusted from beak to claw with rarest jewels...but pirates seized the galley carrying this token and the fate of the Maltese Falcon remains a mystery to this day...."
Open your Golden Gate,and get me Rice-A-Roni!

The classic 1941 version of John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon was his first film as a writer and director, as well as being the third big-screen adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s seminal detective novel about cynical San Francisco private detective Sam Spade, and how he gets embroiled in the quest for the Maltese Falcon, a black statuette that might be worth a fortune—or get the adventurers killed—or maybe both!  The cast is a perfect quartet of crime—and the best, as many film fans agree!  Check out this great Rogue’s Gallery:

*Humphrey Bogart as Sam SpadeKids sure grow up fast!  Who’d have thought Maud Humphrey’s darling baby boy, born on Christmas Day to a patrician New York City family, would become a Best Actor Oscar-winner particularly known for his roles as tough, complicated men, as well as eventually having a happy marriage with his co-star Lauren Bacall until Bogart’s death from cancer in 1957.

*Mary Astor
(one of Team Bartilucci’s favorites) as the alluring but treacherous Brigid O’Shaughnessy.    Fun Fact:  Take a good look at the scene where Joel Cairo is leaving the theater; the movie marquee is for The Great Lie, for which Mary won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar!  More about Mary shortly…

*Jerome Cowan as Miles Archer, Sam Spade’s ill-fated partner.  The busy Cowan was also the District Attorney in Miracle on 34th Street, as well as Torrid Zone; Mr. Skeffinington; There’s Always a Woman; and many TV appearances.

*Sydney Greenstreet as Kaspar Gutman, a.k.a.“The Fat Man,” whose benevolent chuckles thinly disguise his ruthlessness.   Ironically, despite his great performances with the famous husband and-wife team of Lunt & Fontanne, Greenstreet was a nervous wreck when it was time for his very first scene in the film, despite his many years as a renowned stage actor!  On the Maltese Falcon set, Greenstreet begged his co-star: "Mary, dear, hold my hand.  Tell me I won't make an ass of meself!"  Huston was holding his breath, too!  Luckily, Greenstreet performed his first scene flawlessly, and the renowned stage actor became an in-demand character actor and film star!  Greenstreet was always a trouper despite his chronic illness, the kidney disorder Bright’s Disease, bless him.  (I’m reminded of a gag by another of my favorites, the humorist and screenwriter S.J. Perelman: “I have Bright’s Disease, and he has mine!”  But I digress….)

*Peter Lorre as the exotic and wily Joel Cairo, he of the gardenia scent, among other things. Lorre became a star in Fritz Lang’s searing drama M, and Alfred Hitchcock’s original 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much. As an in-demand character actor, Lorre’s many roles ranged from dramas to comedies, including Crime & Punishment; All Through the Night; My Favorite Brunette; Casablanca; several pairings with Greenstreet and Lorre, including The Mask of Dimitrios; and The Verdict. Lorre was also the first James Bond villain, playing the evil Le Chiffe in a 1954 TV version of Casino Royale in the series Climax!  (The decidedly un-British Barry Nelson played “Jimmy Bond”!)

Elisha Cook Jr. as Wilmer Cook, Kaspar Gutman’s weaselly henchman and gunsel (a word of many meanings).  Whether the 5-foot-five Cook was comical, sinister, or poignant, he was always memorable and often a scene-stealer in such films as The Big Sleep; I Wake Up Screaming; The Killing; Electra Glide in Blue; and so much more!  Fun Fact:  Lee Patrick and Elisha Cook Jr. were the only cast members to reprise their original roles in the 1975 comedy spoof/sequel, The Black Bird, which Vinnie will be discussing!

Lee Patrick as Effie Perine, Sam’s trusty secretary and kind yet firm voice of reason.  She too was a multifaceted actress, shining in such hits as Auntie Mame playing bigoted boob Mrs. Upson; The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao; Dangerously They Live; Caged; Mildred Pierce; and Vertigo.


Gladys George as Iva Archer, Miles Archer's hot but clingy widow, who's hoping to become Mrs. Spade, even though Sam's just not that into her!  Ms. George earned an Oscar nomination for Valiant Is the Word for Carrie She was also in Flamingo Road and The Best Years of our Lives.

Meet Miss Wonderly...Or is it LeBlanc?
O’Shaughnessy?! Heck we'd retain her anytime!
The 1941 version of The Maltese Falcon proves the old adage: “The third time’s the charm!”  No wonder John Huston’s taut, wryly cynical take on Hammett’s tale put Huston on the map as a writer/director.  His version has the best of everything in one terrific package: the best private eye thriller; the best Dashiell Hammett movie adaptation; the best remake; and the best nest-of-vipers cast, including the signature Humphrey Bogart role/performance!

Sure, I’ve been a completest when it comes to watching all three versions of The Maltese Falcon for the past few weeks, and it’s been interesting and fun to watch all three versions to compare each of them, but let’s face it, the 1941 version is the best; accept no substitutes!  Once I settled in to watch the DVD (because I never get tired of that, either), I said out loud, “Now this is more like it!”  Even the opening credits are better, with the fabulous Maltese Falcon statue glaring in shadowy profile as Adolph Deutsch’s brassy main title music blares.  Musical director Leo F. Forbstein really nailed it this time, blending suspense, foreboding, and wry wit. The fateful falcon’s background story scrolls up, lending “The Black Bird” a mythical aspect that the previous movie adaptations lacked.  It’s no wonder John Huston’s take on Hammett’s tale put him on the map as a writer/director.  For my money, the 1941 version has the best of everything in one package:  the best private eye thriller; the best remake; the best Dashiell Hammett novel-to-movie adaptation; and the best nest-of-vipers cast, including the signature Humphrey Bogart role/performance!

Cairo tries to eliminate the middleman, the fool!
Granted, I’m biased, but to me, Huston’s powerhouse 1941 cast makes the previous casts look like rejects from high school class productions of the film, and not good ones, either!  That said, don’t confuse those with writer/director Rian Johnson’s fascinating Hammett-influenced high school noir 2005 Brick—but that’s a blog post for another time!  Huston’s actors were born to play these characters.  The cast is perfection; even the great Walter Huston shows up, doing a memorable cameo for his son John as the ill-fated Captain Jacobi!   Huston’s lean, mean pacing and striking visuals come broodingly alive, thanks to Director of Photography Arthur Edeson and his expressionistic images.  Thomas Richards’ editing is right on the mark.  I love the way the overall faithfulness to the novel makes me feel like Huston & Company opened the book and shook it until the characters fell out and started filming!  In the One Magnificent Bird documentary, it’s claimed that Huston and/or his secretary typed the exact dialogue straight from the book into script form.  I can believe it!

Ah, shadows, a classic element of film noir!
As I said earlier, Humphrey Bogart may not look like Hammett’s “blond satan,” but he’s got Sam Spade’s attitude down perfectly.  Besides, he’s Bogart, with all the toughness, charisma, and wry humor that implies.  What’s not to love?  Indeed, The Maltese Falcon was the film that truly made Bogart a full-tilt star at last.  Even if I’d read Hammett’s novel before I saw the 1941 film back in my high school days at dear old St. Catharine Academy in the Bronx, Bogart’s star-making  performance would still be engraved on my brain.  Bogart deftly balances toughness, trickiness, and tenderness, but he never lets his tender side make a sap out of him, unlike Ricardo Cortez’s Sam Spade or Warren William’s Ted Shane, both of whom apparently live to chase skirts, and seem to be trying just a little too hard in my opinion.  Then again, some people might say, “Hey, nice work if you can get it!”  But as far as I’m concerned, Bogart’s performance as Sam shows him to be as sexy as he is tough and wily, with just enough tenderness to show he’s not made of stone.  Women are drawn to Sam out of his sheer charisma and strength of character, not just throwing themselves at them willy-nilly.  Somehow, he doesn’t seem to need to work at it. Now isn’t that more fascinating and appealing than a guy who aggressively pitches woo at dames until they give in out of sheer exhaustion? 

Sardonic Sam tells Miles Archer, "You've got brains. Yes you have."
But not enough for Miles to dodge a bullet! R.I.P!
In an early scene with Brigid, Sam has a line about how all he has to do is stand still and the cops will be swarming all over him.  Substitute “women” for “cops” and the line would still be accurate!  But Mary Astor's career was nearly scuttled twice during her long career, due to public scandal in the mid-1930s.  First of all, Mary, who was still quite young at the time, was sued for support by her greedy parents.  Later, she was unfairly branded an adulterous wife by her vindictive ex-husband during a custody fight over Mary’s daughter—what nerve!  Luckily, Mary was able to turn her lemons into lemonade when her performance in The Maltese Falcon brought her well-deserved accolades!  As the quicksilver Brigid, Mary’s watchful eyes, elegance, and that beseeching throb in (her) voice as she enlists Sam’s aid makes her utterly fascinating.  She's totally believable as an avaricious adventuress with a prim, sweet façade—a woman who would kill a guy as soon as kiss him, and keep him guessing about her intentions until the bitter end!  That’s what made Astor and Bogart such a great team in both The Maltese Falcon and Across The Pacific that year.  In Bogart and Astor’s capable hands, Brigid and Sam are two wily, street-smart people who are onto each other, yet also into each other!   (As I’ve mentioned elsewhere at TotED, Mary Astor looked and sounded remarkably like my late Auntie Joy back in her youth—and if you knew what a stylish, rambunctious pair my late mom and Auntie Joy were, you’d know that’s a big compliment!)  Let’s face it, The Maltese Falcon is another one of those superbly-cast films that doesn’t have a bum performance in the bunch.  By the way, not to sound like a prude, but after the way women fawned over our hero in the first two films, it was refreshing to see Effie being both friendly and professional with Sam.  Sure, there’s warmth between Effie and Sam, but it stops well short of neck-nuzzling and lap-sitting!  

The Hat Squad arrives! Lt. Dundy and Detective Tom Polhaus
visit Sam after Miles' murder, cracking foxy and such!

Even Elisha Cook Jr. shines in his supporting role as Wilmer.  One of my favorites among his scenes is that brilliant scene where Wilmer is on the verge of shooting the cool, calm Sam while Wilmer’s eyes fill with tears of rage as he whispers, “Get on your feet.  I’ve taken all the riding from you I’m gonna take.”  Vinnie and I also love the scene where Wilmer comes to after Sam has punched him out, dread and horror spreading over his face as each of the conspirators stare at him coldly, in another triumph of skillful editing  and Edeson’s photography.  When Wilmer comes to, he knows he’s in big trouble without anyone saying a word!

Huston’s powerhouse cast was born to play these characters.  Between the perfect performances (even the great Walter Huston is memorable in his brief cameo as the dying Captain Jacobi), Huston’s lean, mean pacing and striking visuals (Arthur Edeson’s expressionistic photography and Thomas Richards’ editing work beautifully), and the overall faithfulness to the novel, it’s as if Huston & Company just opened the book and shook it until the characters fell out, then started filming. 


Humphrey Bogart doesn’t match Hammett’s description of Sam Spade as a “blond Satan,” but he’s got Spade’s attitude down perfectly, and besides, he’s Bogart!  What’s not to like? Bogie deftly balances toughness, trickiness, and tenderness, but he never lets his tender side make a sap out of him. I find Bogart’s Spade sexier than skirt-chasing Ricardo Cortez or Warren William in the previous films because the dames are drawn to Bogie because of his sheer charisma and strength of character, as opposed to him aggressively pitching woo at them until they give in from sheer exhaustion.  In an early scene with Brigid, Spade has a line about how all he has to do is stand still and the cops will be swarming all over him; substitute “women” for “cops” and the line would still be accurate!

"Sam, are you sure we can trust Miss O’Shaughnessy?
She keeps asking for Prince Albert in the can!"

Mary Astor’s supposed so-called "shady-lady" past informs her spot-on performance as quicksilver Brigid O’Shaughnessy, but it’s her watchful eyes, elegance, and that beseeching “throb in (her) voice” as she enlists Spade’s aid, making her so fascinating and believable as an avaricious adventuress with a prim, sweet façade—a woman who’d kill a guy as soon as kiss him, and keep him guessing about her intentions until the bitter end.  That’s what made Astor and Bogart such a great team; in their capable hands, Brigid and Spade are two wily, street-smart people who are onto each other as well as into each other.

Every actor in The Maltese Falcon shines, from Bogart and Astor to Ward Bond and Barton MacLane (also Team Bartilucci faves) as Sgt. Polhaus and Lt. Dundy, to to Gladys George as the clingy, vindictive Iva Archer, to the only cast members who reprised their roles in the otherwise so-so 1975 sequel/spoof The Black Bird. Elisha Cook Jr. as gunsel Wilmer Cook and Lee Patrick as Spade’s trusty secretary Effie Perine.  After Spade’s tomcatting with Effie and other babes in the early films, it's kind of refreshing that Effie’s interest in Spade here is a bit more professional than personal.  Sure, there’s warmth between them, but it stops well short of neck-nuzzling and lap-sitting.  

"Hey, Brigid, what do you want to do tonight?"
"I don't know, Sam, what do you want to do tonight?
Still, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre come closest to stealing the show.  As Kasper Gutman, Greenstreet blends menace with avuncularity, his voice a cultured growl.  Greenstreet’s performance is so assured, it’s hard to believe The Maltese Falcon was this veteran stage actor’s first movie job, but it’s easy to see why he earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. Huston also earned a Best Screenplay Oscar, though Mary Astor wasn't nominated.  Happily, she soon had her own Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Great Lie!   The Maltese Falcon also made Greenstreet an in-demand character actor and one of cinema’s most memorable villains, especially in his team-ups with Peter Lorre.  Lorre’s witty, sly performance as the smoothly effeminate yet ruthless weasel Joel Cairo is a marvelous addition to the rogues’ gallery of lowlifes Lorre played over the course of his long career. After The Maltese Falcon's success, the great cast worked together in various combinations in many movies, including Casablanca.
Brigid: "What else can I buy you with?" SOLD!
 
I’ve always wondered what a Maltese Falcon sequel would be like.  Can you imagine a caper film sequel following Gutman and Cairo to Istanbul, with Sam on a case and wily Brigid somehow getting the gang back together for one last caper?

Meet Kaspar Gutman, a man who likes talking with men
who like to talk. But is his talk cheap?
Poor Captain Jacobi!  But at least it gave Walter Huston a swell cameo!
Wilmer has a rude awakening as the rest of the gang gives him the Hairy Eyeball!
Sam: "The stuff dreams are made of." Tom: "Huh?"
(I love that Tom gets the last word, and unwittingly at that!)
The Maltese Falcon has so much memorable dialogue, often laced with sardonic humor, that I’d be virtually transcribing the whole script if I quoted all my fave lines.  Here at Team Bartilucci HQ, we often quote such ...Falcon lines as “The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter;” “When you’re slapped, you’ll take it and like it!” (not that we've ever done so, being gentle folk despite our goofiness) have often been jokingly quoted.  Then there’s Gutman’s deliciously ironic toast with Spade:  “Here’s to plain speaking and clear understanding.”  Plain speaking and clear understanding with this band of greedy, duplicitous cutthroats?!  Good luck!  But it’s fine with us, because the talk’s a joy to listen to; as Gutman continues: “I distrust a closed-mouthed man.  He generally picks the wrong time to talk and says all the wrong things.  Talking is something you can’t do judiciously unless you keep in practice.” The Maltese Falcon has one of cinema’s greatest last lines, Spade’s answer when Polhaus asks what the statue is:  “The stuff that dreams are made of.” (To which Polhaus replies, “Huh?”  Good old Ward Bond, getting the last word!)  I also love the climactic scene with all the principal players, especially the dialogue between Spade and Gutman about how to go about getting what they want: “If you kill me, how are you gonna get the bird? And if I know you can't afford to kill me, how are you gonna scare me into giving it to you?”  By the way, Perry Mason fans should keep an eye out for TV’s Perry Mason co-star William Hopper in a brief early role as a reporter!

The bottom line:  The Maltese Falcon is truly “The stuff that dreams are made of”!


(Comments also from TCM’s Scott McGee & Sarah Heiman)

29 comments:

  1. Dorian it's getting to the point where the captions for the photos are almost more entertaining than the overall text of the blog. I sometimes wonder if you and Vinnie ever watch films and provide your own dialogue a'la MST3K?

    Talk about "what can be said about this film that hasn't already been said?". I mean Wow! Any critical or analytical remark I could possibly make has doubtless been said or written (and probably much better . . . like, for instance, right here). I will point out a particularly favorite scene of mine: the one where Astor wanders around her apartment (San Francisco hotels sure were sumptuous) and tries to be aimless about it, but is called out by Bogart.

    Before I die I will own a Maltese Falcon statuette. I swear it!

    And I'll close with a background tidbit. When Bogart sends Mary Astor "over", he tells her he hopes they won't hang her by "that sweet neck". A nice sentiment. And Bogart would probably get his wish, if for all the wrong reasons. Out of curiosity I performed a little bit of research some years back. If we presume that the story in the movie takes place in the year the film was made, then Brigid O'Shaughnessy wouldn't have hanged. On the downside, she might've been the first woman to die in San Quentin's newly installed gas chamber.

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    1. Michael, we of Team Bartilucci are delighted to have you be the first to join the 1941 Maltese Falcon noir fun! Thanks for your rave reviews, my friend, especially this: "Dorian, it's getting to the point where the captions for the photos are almost more entertaining than the overall text of the blog. I sometimes wonder if you and Vinnie ever watch films and provide your own dialogue a'la MST3K?" Our answer is: "You betcha!" We crack each other up, and Siobhan is getting good at it, too, she prefers cartoon gags at the moment. Incidentally, we have a replica of The Maltese Falcon statue, too, though it's only made of plaster with a shiny coat; they can't all be filled with fabulous jewels! :-) I liked your food for thought about Brigid possibly being the first woman to die in the gas chamber (or as Bob Hope said in MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE: "Gas! Don't even have electricity!) and/or Sam and Brigid getting back together after a long stretch. Strange are the ways of love, no? :-)

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  2. I have adored this film since my teen years. When watching it today I can still feel the excitement that I felt when going through the TV Guide and finding "The Maltese Falcon" scheduled - no matter the lateness of the hour. It gives such a great one-two punch of being a terrific crime story heavily laced with that appealing sardonic humour.

    Over the years I have only one nit-picky complaint and I will take advantage of your article to voice it. I think the opening scroll with the background of the falcon is totally unnecessary because it is repeated by Gutman in the film. It practically amounts to a spoiler. Also, I believe it should be "Knights Templar" not "Knight Templars". If I'm wrong, I've been yelling at the screen for way too many years.

    How do you feel about the dumping of the "Rhea" character? One one hand, the movie flows so smoothly without her that I think it was the right decision. On the other hand, it might have provided a nice little role for some deserving contractee of the time, perhaps Eleanor Parker or Alexis Smith.

    I loved your look at three entertaining movies and one genuine classic. Well done!

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    1. Caftan Woman, I always look forward to your blog posts and comments, and I'm even more delighted that you're not only a MALTESE FALCON fan like I am, but you also clearly love the NOVEL as much as I do, too! I was beginning to think nobody remembered her character except me. This is why folks like us need to remind everyone how much fun actual reading can be! :-) Admittedly, my cynical side sometimes wonders if the Rhea part of the plot was simply Dashiell Hammett's way of padding the novel, since he was getting paid by the word -- not that I blame him, since "Dash" had to eat, too! :-) In any case, I agree with your comments about Rhea in any case -- you make a wonderful case for casting the likes of Eleanor Parker or Alexis Smith in a relatively brief but undoubtedly memorable turn as Rhea! Where's a time machine when you need one? :-)

      For the record, one of my favorite passages in the novel is Sam's conversation about Flitcraft. In fact, one of my earliest blogs (before folks called them blogs :-)) was titled "The Flitcraft Papers." If/when I get published and popular (it could happen, what the heck), the detective agency where the characters work will be called Flitcraft Security and Investigations. Thanks for listening, pal!

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  3. Great review and pictures. It really is perfect,isn't it. What a cast!

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    1. Vienna, you're so right about THE MALTESE FALCON, 1941! Thanks so much for your kind kudos!

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  4. One of the masterpieces of Hollywood cinema. Like you mention, Bogie does not fit Hammett's description yet he encompasses every facet of the iconic character, Sam Spade. The entire cast is one of perfect harmony. When I first saw the 1931 version, a few years back, I had a hard time accepting Cortez as Spade. Don't misunderstand, I like the original quite a bit. It certainly has a sexier edge to it thanks to it pre-code status, but I take Huston's version any day. A great read as always and stay warm!!!

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    1. John, I'm delighted we agree about the 1941 version of THE MALTESE FALCON, and that you had your pros and cons about the 1931 version as well, the Pre-Code version (granted, it was worth a look for contrast). All told, Huston & Company just plain nailed it! Thanks a million for your rave review and your literally warm wishes for us here at Team Bartilucci HQ -- baby, it really IS cold outside! :-D

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  5. The amazing cast makes the film's success. I was surprised to learn that Greenstreet made his debut here, aged 61! He's a scene-staler, with Lorre and Ward Bond, a personal favorite.
    I own the novel, but haven't read it yet. When I do it, I'll do waht you suggested: imagine a sequel!
    Kisses!

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    1. Le, thanks for coming to chat with us here at TALES OF THE EASILY DISTRACTED about the great 1941 version of THE MALTESE FALCON! Who wouldn't love that wonderful cast? I'm glad you love the original novel, too, and that you too enjoyed the idea of imagining our own fantasy sequels of Hammett's masterpiece! Thanks for joining the conversation, Le, and have a wonderful weekend! :-D

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  6. This is hands down one of my favorite of your posts, Dorian! I am a HUGE Maltese Falcon lover, and I was thrilled to read the background stuff, such as Sydney Greenstreet's anxiety! Who would have thought? I love all of the famous lines you mentioned -- this is my big brother's favorite movie, and he loves the line where Wilmer is in the hotel hiding behind the newspaper and Sam brings the detective over to him. I think I have this right: "Why do you let these cheap gunman hang around the lobby with their heaters bulging in their pockets?" Gotta love the whole thing! Wonderful article, Dorian!

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    1. Becky, I'm pleased as the proverbial punch (but nix the Mickey Finn! :-) that you enjoyed my MALTESE FALCON 1941 post, especially since you love it as much as all of us here at Team Bartilucci HQ do! Funny you should mention your brother loves the movie, too, since it's also one of my older brother's longtime favorites -- again, our great minds think alike, and clearly your brother agrees! :-D Beaucoup thanks for your enthusiastic comments on my labor of love, Big Sis -- we're always glad to have you join the fun here at TotED! :-D

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  7. How can you argue with perfection? I am a huge Mary Astor fan - so you know I just adore her here (the evil wench!). However, I am NOT a big Bogie fan, but this is my favorite of his films. He was born to play this role.; Really great post, Dorian.

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    1. Thanks ever so much for your rave review of my MALTESE FALCON post, FlickChick; Bogart's perfomance proves you can love it even if you're not usually an ironclad Bogie fan like we of Team B! :-D So glad you dropped by to join the MALTESE FALCON fun!

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  8. Dor, I loved your description of "the hat squad"! I will think of that phrase every time I see this scene.

    It's hard to imagine Sidney Greenstreet being nervous about his first film role. You would never know it from his performance. (I'm glad you always include background info like this in your posts; I always learn something new.)

    I really enjoyed your trio of "Maltese Falcon" reviews – in fact, I'm a little sad they're finished. Your enthusiasm is contagious!

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    1. Ruth, I know you're been a busy gal with your superb work on the Classic Movie History Project, so I'm especially glad to have you join THE MALTESE FALCON fun and frolic! :-) Thanks for your enthusiastic praise, my friend! THE MALTESE FALCON was a labor of love for me, so I'm all the more pleased that you enjoyed it! By the way, I was too found it endearing that Sydney Greenstreet was nervous as well, making me like him all the more.

      You're a dear to be so kind about my "Maltese Falcon" reviews – in fact, I'm a little sad they're finished. Your enthusiasm is contagious -- thanks for your kind kudos, pal!

      Maybe one of these days when I've whittled down my writing commitments, we could do something small but fun to collaborate on, like writing a piece about Agnes Moorehead or something! :-) Anyway, it's always fun to read your swell posts, as always! Stay happy and warm! :-)

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    2. Dor, I would love to collaborate with you any time!

      Also, on a side note, yesterday my husband found a hardcover copy of "The Maltese Falcon" in a discount bin for only $5! Needless to say, he scooped it up for me. I think reading this book will be a fitting end to your "Maltese Falcon" extravaganza. :)

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    3. Ruth,how very cool indeed about your husband's cool find with the vintage MALTESE FALCON hardcover! Clearly both you and hubby have great taste in classic literature! I agree, this is definitely the perfect ending to my MALTESE FALCON caper! :-D Many thanks indeed, dear pal, and enjoy yout fabulous fine -- the stuff dreams are made of indeed!

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  9. Wonderful post, Dorian, on Huston's classic. For me, Greenstreet does steal the film--but it's a marvelous cast, right down to ECJ as Wilbur (he played variations of the role for years...and am glad you mentioned THE BLACK BIRD). The first time I watched THE MALTESE FALCON, I remember the shadows of the letters on the glass window--that image just struck me and gave me the feeling I was watching something that was going to be daring.

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    1. Thanks for your positive comments about my MALTESE FALCON post, Rick! True, Elisha Cook Jr. played many variations on his theme of the weasely "gunsel" type, but he had his variations as well, like his memorable performances in THE KILLING; THE BIG SLEEP (I always found him especially poignant as Harry); and his memorable performance in his jazzy turn in PHANTOM LADY. It's more proof of what a memorable character actor he was. Glad you dropped by to talk MALTESE FALCON fun! :-)

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  10. yes, yes, so much agreement on all your assessments and comments on the actors and performances, that cast is perfection, I love Greenstreet and Lorre, the ladies, and I still prefer this Bogart and then Treasure of the Sierra Madre, for my essentials of his, before Casablanca (in fact would also rank the movie as a whole above Casablanca, it's so great). Bogart here is my fave "Bogart" and whoever doesn't share that opinion certainly has to agree that here he makes the quintessential noir private eye. such a nice conclusion to the trilogy! I too am sad to see it done, but then you can always move right along to Brick as the coda. thanks for the great reading, best!

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    1. Kristina, my friend, many thanks for your enthusiastic kudos for our big finale for "3 Faces of The Maltese Falcon: "The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of"! I'm happy that you and the rest of our friends and fellow bloggers here enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing this labor of love for Bogie, Mary, Sid, Elisha Cook Jr. and the rest of the gang! :-) I also agree with you that Bogart is the quintessential Bogart in MALTESE FALCON, and I think Bogie in Howard Hawks' THE BIG SLEEP comes a close second! I find Bogart's uber-antihero Dobbs in TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE Cook Jr. compelling -- not that he's a nice guy, but his paranoid side is memorable, to say the least! :-) (Also, I love when early in SIERRA MADRE when cameo-ing director John Huston pulls the "Can you help a fellow American who's down on his luck?" bit!). I must confess that CASABLANCA has been another of one of those movies that I've been wanting to watch from start to finish, but I haven't had the opportunity; I hope to finally catch up with it sooner rather than later!

      I like your idea of posting BRICK; I love Rian Johnson's follow-up, too, THE BROTHERS BLOOM, starring our favorite contemporary Oscar-winner, Adrien Brody, while my husband Vinnie wants to write about THE BLACK BIRD sometime! Is there no end to the MALTESE FALCON and its friends and relations? We'll see.... :-) In any case, we're so glad you joined out MALTESE FALCON-PALOOZA! :-D

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  11. Wonderful overview of one of my all-time favorite films....the 1941 version is indeed the best, in my opinion. This is my favorite of all Bogart's performances, and his supporting cast was never more stellar. John Huston's best, too! I love your blog and look forward to reading more!

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    1. Angelman66, for starters, I like your blog-handle! :-) Thank you kindly for your positive comments about my MALTESE FALCON 1941 post! We're definitely in agreement about Huston's stellar work and cast; if that's not "the stuff that dreams are made of," I don't know what is! :-) Thanks again for joining our MALTESE FALCON conversation, and by all means, feel free to drop by at TALES OF THE EASILY DISTRACTED (TotED for short) any time!

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  12. A wonderful post on one of the greatest movies ever made. One of the perfectly cast movies of all time. When I read the book, I was surprised at how much of the dialogue Huston retained. Very smart of him.

    Love your idea of the sequel. I would watch that one, as long as Sam Spade doesn't wind up in Rick's Cafe in Casablanca. I think that would be stretching things a bit.

    If you're a Henry Mancini fan, you have "The Maltese Falcon" to thank. He was so impressed by Deutsch's main title music that he told himself one day he would write music for the movies. Yet another reason to celebrate "The Maltese Falcon."

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    1. Kevin, many thanks for your positive comments on our MALTESE FALCON post! I'm delighted that you enjoyed it, and I'm tickled to discover that Henry Mancini was indeed inspired to become a film composer after listening to Adolph Deutsch's MALTESE FALCON score, especially since Mancini became one of my musical favorites after hearing the scores of THE PINK PANTHER and CHARADE! Glad you dropped by to join the MALTESE FALCON lovefest! :-D

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  13. Hey, Dor!
    I don't know why but I thought I commented on your meaty, and in depth write up on TMF. Hmmm, well, I'm here now. Late to the party as usual.

    You mention Spade's description of "Blond Satan" I had forgotten about this. I guess since we think of Bogie when remembering the screen adaptation. If Bogie were not available, who do you think would have been perfect for the role? Also, love the idea of a sequel. Would have been a lot of fun, especially if they could have gotten Huston on board.

    Really enjoyable read!
    Have a great weekend.
    Page

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    1. Page, my friend, you're always warmly welcome here at TotED, and we appreciate you dropping by for THE MALTESE FALCON with your busy schedule! Feel free to be "fashionably late" here anytime! :-D Thanks for your praise of my little labor of love!

      Page, since you asked, I'd say while I still think Bogart is THE quintessential Sam Spade here, I do have a few runners-up in a pinch, just in case there had been a tough-guy strike in Hollywood in the 1940s in some parallel dimension :-)) Here are my picks:

      Dick Powell -- MURDER, MY SWEET

      Alan Ladd -- THE GLASS KEY. They'd probably make it with Veronica Lake as the leading lady, being the right height and all.

      Robert Ryan -- ON DANGEROUS GROUND. Besides, Ryan was one of my dear late mom's favorite actors

      Thanks for joining the MALTESE FALCON chat, Page, and all of us here at Team Bartilucci HQ hope you and your family are doing well, and we hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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    2. Hey, Dor!
      I love your choices. Of the three I think I would be most interested in seeing Ladd take on Spade. *totally forgot about his height issues. ha ha
      Of course I'm quite fond of Powell as well and I was glad to hear Ryan was a favorite for your mom as my mother thinks he's pretty swell too.
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