Sam Spade: "When a man's partner is killed, he's supposed to do something about it."
First, what I'm not going to talk about: the novel
, written by Dashiell Hammett
. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the novel, but I don't love it the way I do the movie
. If you love the novel, add a writeup.
The classic film noir
was released in 1941 and directed by John Huston
. It was written by Hammett and Huston. It's pretty astoundingly faithful
to the novel. It starred Humphrey Bogart
as Sam Spade
, Mary Astor
as Brigid O'Shaughnessy, Sydney Greenstreet
as Kaspar Gutman, Peter Lorre
as Joel Cairo, Elisha Cook, Jr.
as Wilmer Cook, and Jerome Cowan
as Miles Archer.
The private eye
firm of Spade and Archer
take on a simple snoop
case, but Archer gets killed, and someone's trying to make Spade the patsy
. While trying to find Archer's killer, Spade gets mixed up with a bunch of treasure hunter
s trying to track down the legendary Maltese Falcon
, a falcon statue
encrusted with priceless jewel
s. Spade has to discover Archer's murderer, find the Falcon, keep from getting killed by the treasure hunters, and avoid taking the rap
for Archer's death. That's a tall order
for a cheap gumshoe
Beside being one of the best examples of film noir, this is also one of the best films ever made. The directing, the acting, the story are all first-rate
, and the dialogue
-- Oh God, the dialogue -- there are not many movies out there with as much snap
in the patter
as "Maltese Falcon".
This is one of those movies that gets better and better and better every time you watch it. If you haven't seen it yet -- and yeah, I'm afraid I'm going to have to require all
of you to see this -- run out and rent it. Yes, tonight. Go.
Detective Polhaus: "What is it?"
Spade: "The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of."