The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Starting today, I will be kicking off the DailyView: EYG 2021 Spring/Summer Unseen Classic Binge. The idea is that I will be watching a movie a day (at least) through the summer months, a movie in which I had never seen before. I am starting the binge off with a multiple movie day. First, up the John Huston film noir classic, The Maltese Falcon.

I will admit that there were some scenes here that were fairly familiar to me, so I have certainly seen some of this movie before. However, this would be the first time that I watched the entire flick, thanks to HBO Max.

Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) was a private detective hired by a woman Brigid O’Shaughnessy (Mary Astor) to follow a business partner. Sam’s partner Archer (Jerome Cowan) takes the case and ends up dead. While the police try to determine if Sam was involved in the murder, a plot to find a mysterious statuette called the Maltese Falcon shows to be connected to the happenings.

Bogart played Spade as a manipulative sort and it kept me off balance through the film. I was never quite sure if the detective was as crooked as the people he became involved in.

We meet a henchman named Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) who was working with the fat man, Kasper Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet) in an attempt to get their hands on the valuable artifact. Greenstreet was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role here.

The mood of the movie is part of the reason this is as successful a film as it has been. It sets the mystery early and gives you several moments throughout where you are just not sure exactly what was going on.

John Huston proved himself to be a master director as he provided a wonderful movie that is considered an all-time classic. Humphrey Bogart gave a layered performance that not only kept you rooting for him, but also wondering what he might do next. Was he being self-destructive or was he a few steps ahead of everybody?

The ending is also as mysterious and uncertain as the rest of the film as it creates perhaps the most famous MacGuffins in cinema history.

{P.S.}- Unfortunately, the film had felt so familiar to me that I went to do some further research and discovered that I had already reviewed the movie and had seen it. Sadly that kicks off the DailyView with a mistake, but we shall press on and not be derailed by a minor error. I decided to leave this review active as well. EYG

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