Review: ‘Satan Met a Lady’

This is an inferior remake of The Maltese Falcon, which Warner produced in 1931. Many changes have been made [to the novel by Dashiell Hammett], in story structure as well as title, but none is an improvement.

This is an inferior remake of The Maltese Falcon, which Warner produced in 1931. Many changes have been made [to the novel by Dashiell Hammett], in story structure as well as title, but none is an improvement.

Bette Davis is dropped to featured billing rank in this one, on an equal basis with Warren William, and both under the title. But as for importance in the story, Davis has much less to do than at least one other femme member of the cast.

Where the detective of Maltese Falcon and his activities were natural and amusing, he and his satiric crime detection are now forced and unnatural.

Among items changed are the names of the characters as well as a few of the characters themselves. Sam Spade, played by Ricardo Cortez in the original, is now Ted Shane as played by Warren William. The plaster bird is now a ram’s horn. There’s hardly any mystery in this version. The comedy isn’t strong enough to fill the bill.

William tries hard to be gay as the eccentric private cop and his performance is all that keeps the picture moving in many lagging moments. Marie Wilson has a tendency to muff her best chances through overstressing.

Satan Met a Lady

Production

Warner. Director William Dieterle; Screenplay Brown Holmes; Camera Arthur Edeson; Editor Warren Low; Art Director Max Parker

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1936. Running time: 74 MIN.

With

Bette Davis Warren William Alison Skipworth Arthur Treacher Winifred Shaw Marie Wilson
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