The Maltese Falcon

35mm Archival Print


Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre,

In The Maltese Falcon, screenwriter-turned-director John Huston created a shadowed, unreal territory where nothing is as it seems. The rules of the game keep changing for everyone, save Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart), who is unfailingly guided by his obfuscated sense of justice and a morality that has come full circle. This third adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s novel was thoroughly charmed (and charming). The ensemble acting between Bogart, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet (in his first screen appearance after forty years as a Shakespearean actor), and Elisha Cook Jr. is sublime. And Mary Astor as Brigid O’Shaughnessy is “good, awfully good.” Huston adds to the overall sense of drama by keeping the viewer neatly poised between omniscience and Spade’s viewpoint. The Maltese Falcon itself is poised in a world between romance and realism, a place where dreams come from.

Sally Syberg
  • John Huston
Based On
  • the novel by Dashiell Hammett
  • Arthur Edeson
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 100 mins
  • Library of Congress
  • Warner Bros.

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