The Maltese Falcon (1941)

1941

A private investigator’s partner is killed during a case which puts him on the trail of a conspiracy to acquire a lost treasure.

A lot of films that are considered “classic” are viewed because you feel you ought to rather than because you really want to, and the result can often be disappointment. The Maltese Falcon is an all-time classic that not only deserves to be seen, but demands it. Humphrey Bogart’s cynical anti-hero was far from the square-jawed do-gooder that was the staple of the crime story of the time, and Huston’s own adaptation of Hammet’s novel has barbed dialogue zinging off every character like a hail of ricocheting bullets. Some examples of this type of film can be too convoluted for their own good, but the comparatively straightforward plot of The Maltese Falcon makes it the perfect entry point for anyone interested in Film Noir, and what you’ll find is a wealth of taut, witty dialogue, timeless characters and one of the best detective movies ever made that arguably was the starting point for an entire genre.

And to think… this was John Huston’s first film. Remarkable.

10/10

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