Maltese Falcon

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aec.whv1000167360dvd 10/5/10 New
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Synopsis

After two previous film versions of Dashiell Hammett's detective classic The Maltese Falcon, Warner Bros. finally got it right in 1941--or, rather, John Huston, a long-established screenwriter making his directorial debut, got it right, simply by adhering as closely as possible to the original. Taking over from a recalcitrant George Raft, Humphrey Bogart achieved true stardom as Sam Spade, a hard-boiled San Francisco private eye who can be as unscrupulous as the next guy but also adheres to his own personal code of honor. Into the offices of the Spade & Archer detective agency sweeps a Miss Wonderly (Mary Astor), who offers a large retainer to Sam and his partner Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) if they'll protect her from someone named Floyd Thursby. The detectives believe neither Miss Wonderly nor her story, but they believe her money. Since Archer saw her first, he takes the case -- and later that evening he is shot to death, as is the mysterious Thursby. Miss Wonderly's real name turns out to be Brigid O'Shaughnessey, and, as the story continues, Sam is also introduced to the effeminate Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) and the fat, erudite Kasper Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet, in his film debut). It turns out that Brigid, Cairo and Gutman are all international scoundrels, all involved in the search for a foot-high, jewel-encrusted statuette in the shape of a falcon. Though both Cairo and Gutman offer Spade small fortunes to find the "black bird," they are obviously willing to commit mayhem and murder towards that goal: Gutman, for example, drugs Spade and allows his "gunsel" Wilmer (Elisha Cook Jr.) to kick and beat the unconscious detective. This classic film noir detective yarn gets better with each viewing, which is more than can be said for the first two Maltese Falcons and the ill-advised 1975 "sequel" The Black Bird. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Product Details

Release Date
10/5/10 
Studio
Warner Home Video
MPAA Rating
NR -- Not rated
Length
1 hour, 40 minutes
Sound
  • Dolby Digital Mono
  • Dolby Digital Stereo
Region
  • USA & territories, Canada
Subtitles
  • English
  • French
  • Spanish
Video Features
  • cc
  • Commentary by Bogart Biographer Eric Lax
  • Warner Night at the Movies 1941 Short Subjects Gallery:
  • Newsreel
  • Technicolor Musical Short The Gay Parisian
  • 2 Classic Cartoons: Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt and Meet John Doughboy
  • Plus Trailers of This Movie and 1941's Sergeant York
Number of Discs
1

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