Friday, May 9, 2008
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
If you have ever been interested in detective stories, crime movies and unsolved murders, there is a
great chance that you might have come across the "film noir" genre. If you haven't, I should admit I envy you - you have the chance of diving in the sweet and deadly world of these films.
What is a film noir? A black-and-white crime drama, with a femme fatale and a "typical" man - showing no feelings, knowing what and how something needs to be done, being a cynic and yet having a complex moral code, hidden inside him.
I would like to turn your attention to "The Maltese Falcon" - one of the masterpieces in the film noir genre.
There is no sense of retelling the film, yet this is what happens in a few words.
First of all, there is the enormous Humphrey Bogart -
one of the symbols of the American cinema
and film noir in particular during the 40s and 50s. He plays Sam Spade - a popular, yet fictional character of some crime stories, private investigator.
Miss Ruth Wonderly ( the "femme fatale" in this film) is a customer, who shows up at his office, trying to find her sister. The same day Spade's partner (Miles Archer) gets killed.
After some rumble, a man of spectacular manners and speech, called Joel Cairo (played by Peter Lorre - another Hollywood star in these years) offers Spade 5000$ to find "the Maltese falcon" - a black figure of a bird, lost in the time of the Templars.
Murder and vice pursue our private detective in his search.
At last, after some very unexpected events and disclosures, Sam finds out who is the one
that killed his partner.
This film is spectacular - you can watch it over and over again for many times and never get bored. Apart from the thrilling story, the actors' crew is really good.
Bogart puts out a great performance, playing Sam Spade -the tough guy so deep in cynicism that nobody could hope to put anything past him. This is a milestone movie for Bogie - his rise to fame begins with it.
The movie itself wrote the book of the crime and mystery drama story. Probably the best written plot in its genre. No doubt that Bogart makes the character come alive, with that easy voice and his uncompromising demeanor. But the movie itself is, to say the least, great. The ending just does it for me. The last couple of lines are some of the best in film history.
A 40's classics definitely worth seeing!