The Maltese Falcon
Directed by John Huston. US. 1941. NR. 100 minutes. Warner. 35mm.
Sun., August 9, 2015
In this, one of the finest and most iconic detective films ever made, we have a cast that was perfectly suited to the roles they played. Besides casting Humphrey Bogart as cynical, hard-boiled Sam Spade, a part with which he has forever been identified, it also defined the personas of such fine actors as Peter Lorre (as effete, treacherous Joel Cairo), Sydney Greenstreet (as devious Casper Gutman), Elisha Cook, Jr. (as hapless “gunsel” Wilmer), and, of course, the lovely Mary Astor (as the ultimate femme fatal, Brigid O’Shaugnessy). It also launched the luminous directorial career of screenwriter John Huston, who also scripted the story from Dashiell Hammett’s classic novel. Filled with a sense of what was later to be called “film noir,” it also bristles with sly and subtle humor. If you’ve only seen The Maltese Falcon on the small screen, or if you have been unfortunate enough to have never seen it before, come watch it on the Colonial’s big screen and be amazed at the details that Huston adds to the sets and the characterizations in this true classic of the silver screen. (Bill Roth)