Wednesday, March 9, 2011

#315: The Maltese Falcon

Directed by: JOHN HUSTON
1941, TSPDT Rank #162

This is one of the first true film noirs, dark crime films that began appearing in the 1940s. It focuses on hard-boiled detective Sam Spade, which in my opinion is one of Humphrey Bogart's greatest film roles, and his search for something, usually a precious figurine of a falcon once owned by the king of Spain, but possibly "the stuff dreams are made of" in general. The fact that the mystery going on is pretty unclear for a lot of the film is a common occurrence in the film noir of this period, but it is not a detraction to the film at all. In fact, this elusiveness of plot adds to the mystique and feel of the movie. With plot of little importance, the movie focuses on its characters, the feelings surrounding the mystery that truly make it a mystery, and the appealing style in which the film is made. The second half is better than the first, and I personally feel has some of the most brilliant film-making of this era. And Bogart's performance is incendiary. (As a side note, it also might be of interest that this was John Huston's debut film.)

(Rating: 9/10)

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