×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Maltese Falcon

This is one of the best examples of actionful and suspenseful melodramatic story telling in cinematic form. Unfolding a most intriguing and entertaining murder mystery, picture displays outstanding excellence in writing, direction, acting and editing--combining in overall as a prize package of entertainment for widest audience appeal.

With:
Samuel Spade - Humphrey Bogart Brigid O'Shaughnessy - Mary Astor Iva Archer - Gladys George Joel Cairo - Peter Lorre Lt. of Detectives Dundy - Barton MacLane Effie Perine - Lee Patrick Kasper Gutman - Sydney Greenstreet Detective Tom Polhaus - Ward Bond Miles Archer - Jerome Cowan Wilmer Cook - Elisha Cook, Jr. Luke - James Burke Frank Richman - Murray Alper Bryan - John Hamilton

This is one of the best examples of actionful and suspenseful melodramatic story telling in cinematic form. Unfolding a most intriguing and entertaining murder mystery, picture displays outstanding excellence in writing, direction, acting and editing–combining in overall as a prize package of entertainment for widest audience appeal. Due for hefty grosses in all runs, it’s textured with ingredients presaging numerous holdovers in the keys–and strong word-of-mouth will make the b.o. wickets spin.

John Huston, son of actor Walter Huston, makes his debut as a film director after several years as a film writer. His entrance into the directorial field is noteworthy, with display of keenest knowledge in tempo development and handling of the various players. Huston also wrote the script solo, endowing it with well-rounded episodes of suspense and surprise, but detouring from synthetic theatrics–and carrying along with consistently pithy dialog.

Popular on Variety

Of major importance is the standout performance of Humphrey Bogart, an attention-arresting portrayal that will add immeasurable voltage to his marquee values. Bogart not only dominates the proceedings throughout, but is the major motivation in all but a few minor scenes. Mary Astor skillfully etches the role of an adventuress whose double-crossing is not disclosed until the final scenes.

Critical and audience spotlight will be focused on Sydney Greenstreet, prominent member of the Lunt-Fontaine stage troupe, who scores heavily in his first screen appearance. Player displays consummate ability as an artist of high rank, and solidly holds attention through several extensive dialog passages that could easily fall apart in less competent hands. Advantageous support is provided by Lee Patrick, Peter Lorre, Ward Bond, Gladys George, Barton MacLane, Elisha Cook, Jr., Jerome Cowan and James Burke.

Picture is a remake of an original film turned out by Warners 10 years ago, with Bebe Daniels and Ricardo Cortez. Despite this fact, it’s still a strongly melodramatic tale concocted in Dashiell Hammett’s best style. Story details the experiences of private detective Bogart when called in to handle a case for Miss Astor–shortly finding himself in the middle of double-crossing intrigue and several murders perpetrated by strange characters bent on obtaining possession of the famed bejeweled Maltese Falcon. Keeping just within bounds of the law, and utilizing sparkling ingenuity in gathering up the loose ends and finally piecing them together, Bogart is able to solve the series of crimes for the benefit of the police.

An intriguing piece of melodramatic entertainment, “Maltese Falcon” weaves swiftly through a series of attention-holding episodes to crack through to a most unsuspecting climax. To secure utmost in audience reaction, exhibs can take advantage of the surprise finish by publicizing starting times of the picture, and advising patrons to get maximum entertainment by seeing it from the start. Extra advance exploitation to obtain first day patronage will roll up hefty momentum in the key runs.

Picture is an A attraction in its class, and will hit biz of the same kind in all bookings.

Walt.

1941: Nominations: Best Picture, Supp. Actor (Sydney Greenstreet), Screenplay

The Maltese Falcon

Production: Warner. Director John Huston; Producer Hal B. Wallis (exec.); Screenplay John Huston; Camera Arthur Edeson; Editor Thomas Richards; Music Adolph Deutsch; Art Director Robert Haas. Tradeshown in L.A., Sept. 29, '41.

Crew: (B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Original review text from 1941. Running time: 100 MIN.

With: Samuel Spade - Humphrey Bogart Brigid O'Shaughnessy - Mary Astor Iva Archer - Gladys George Joel Cairo - Peter Lorre Lt. of Detectives Dundy - Barton MacLane Effie Perine - Lee Patrick Kasper Gutman - Sydney Greenstreet Detective Tom Polhaus - Ward Bond Miles Archer - Jerome Cowan Wilmer Cook - Elisha Cook, Jr. Luke - James Burke Frank Richman - Murray Alper Bryan - John Hamilton

More Film

  • Imogen Poots

    'Black Christmas' Star Imogen Poots on Why Male Horror Fans Should See Slasher Remake

    “Black Christmas” is the second remake of the 1974 slasher classic, which centers on a group of sorority sisters stalked by an unknown murderer. While the original had the female protagonists (SPOILER) offed, in this one, the women fight back. “It’s been called a re-imagining of the original, and I think, in ways that the [...]

  • Imogen Poots as Riley in "Black

    'Black Christmas': Film Review

    “Black Christmas,” a low-budget Canadian horror movie released in 1974, was a slasher thriller with a difference: It was the very first one! Okay, there were more than a few precedents, from “Psycho” (the great-granddaddy of the genre) to “The Last House on the Left” and “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” to Mario Bava’s “A [...]

  • David Benioff, D.B. Weiss. Creators and

    'Game of Thrones' Creators to Develop H.P. Lovecraft Movie at Warner Bros.

    Following their exit from the “Star Wars” universe, “Game of Thrones” co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have found their replacement pic, signing on to produce an untitled thriller based on the graphic novel “Lovecraft” for Warner Bros. It is unknown if they will also direct the project, but they’ve already set Phil Hay and [...]

  • Little Women Greta Gerwig BTS

    Greta Gerwig and 'Little Women' Crew Mix Modern and Classical

    Greta Gerwig wrote and directed Sony’s “Little Women,” a new look at Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved 19th-century classic. Eager to pay tribute to her artisan colleagues, Gerwig says, “It was a joy for me to work with all these people. It’s a movie that’s impossible to create without world-class artists. They killed themselves for me!” [...]

  • Honey Boy

    Shia LaBeouf's 'Honey Boy' Adds Unusual Twist to Oscar's History With Kids

    Hollywood has made many terrific films about childhood, and many about filmmaking. Amazon’s “Honey Boy,” which opened Nov. 8, combines the two: A movie with a child’s POV of the industry. That unique angle could be a real benefit during awards season, and the film’s backstory — with Shia LaBeouf as the main attraction — will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content