There Will Be Spoilers Ahead Of The Amazing Movie Maltese Falcon.
For those of you that have never seen this movie, The Maltese Falcon is a movie starring Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, Mary Astor as Brigid O'Shaughnessy, Peter Lorre as Joel Cairo, Sydney Greenstreet as Kasper Gutman. It is based on a Dashiell Hammett novel of the same name, and written & directed by the talented John Huston in his first directorial role.
A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.
The movie starts out with introducing the main character, Sam Spade and his partner Miles Archer played by Jerome Cowan. A woman comes into the office, Miss Wonderly, who is trying to find her missing sister who was last seen in the presence of a man named Floyd Thursby. Through a disjointed story that Spade and Archer don't seem to believe, they agree to shadow Miss Wonderly when she goes to confront her sister and the man Thursby.
Some hours later, Thursby is dead, Archer is dead, and the police think Sam Spade killed them both. Thus the plot of this movie really begins.
We also find out that Sam Spade has been having an affair with Archer's wife. Sam doesn't really like Archer but after all, they are partners. It really wouldn't look good for Sam's reputation if he didn't solve the murder of his partner despite what he might feel about him.
After the murder of Archer, Sam finds out that Miss Wonderly is actually searching for a solid gold statue called the Maltese Falcon that was painted black to protect it from treasure seekers. Sam also finds out that she has not been so forthcoming as she also has partners in this quest to find the bird. One is Gutman, the tall fat man that is eerily polite yet also quite menacing in his own right.
Villain Number One, Gutman, a brilliant scene where Sam confronts the fatman, (a term that is used throughout the movie). This was Sydney's first scene in front of a camera, though he had been a stage actor for over 40 years. Here you can see how formidable he can be across from a veteran star like Humphrey Bogart.
Villain Number Two, Cairo, a man that uses gardenia drenched business cards and is overtly homosexual for a movie made in the 40's. The brilliant Peter Lorre plays Cairo to a tee, single minded, delicate, yet truly sinister in the way he interacts with Sam Spade.
Villain Number Three, Wilmer, a gun for hire that looks up to Gutman as a father figure. Wilmer is also the murderer of Thornsby and the ships captain that was in cahoots with Miss Wonderly in smuggling in the falcon.
There are many twists and turns in this classic film noir story. And Sam must navigate the lies and deceit of the main players without losing his life. It all culminates in an almost twenty minute finale as Sam negotiates with Gutman and company to sell the falcon while trying to puzzle out who is who in this sordid tale.
Its is mesmerizing to watch the scene when the falcon actaully shows up and Gutman and company realize its a fake. The Maltese falcon is still out of reach, and they must continue their search. The three murders that has transpired seemingly secondary to their quest.
After putting all the pieces together, Sam confronts the murderer of his partner Archer.
One of the most iconic movie endings. What is the falcon? The stuff dreams are made of.
The Maltese Falcon is one of my favorite movies, its dialogue heavy that manages to keep you on the edge of your seat. The entire movie is almost shot over Humphrey Bogart to give your the illusion that you are finding out the plot points as the character Sam Spade is. Unlike the prior two movies based on this book, this one forgos the happy ending for a realistic turn that leaves you almost sad that Sam had to turn over the lady he loved for his morals.
I greatly urge you to watch this film, its on par with some of the best movies ever made.