Movie Review: The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon-John Huston-1941

Score: 2.5/4

There are some classic older films which do not stand the test of time, while there are others that are so timeless that they will still be great a hundred years from now.  Citizen Kane is an example of one that does not hold up as well today, while Casablanca still feels great.  The Maltese Falcon is more in the realm of Citizen Kane.  Like Citizen Kane, you can see why it was so influential, but overall I was left wanting more.

This is the film that launched Humphrey Bogart into superstardom.  And with good reason.  He is the best example of a classic movie star.  The movie’s shortcoming have nothing to do with his performance.  The Maltese Falcon is given credit for its influence on the film noir genre.  In fact, Bogart’s character, Sam Spade, set the stage for a whole new type of character.  The anti-hero.  There isn’t a clear cut black and white picture in which we judge his character.  Morally, they have qualities of both heroes and villains.  This type of character is prevalent now in crime movies.  Credit should be given to this film for being one of the first to introduce this type of character.

The story, which is very convoluted, tells the tale of different characters and their quest to obtain the valuable Maltese Falcon artifact.  Other than Bogart’s character, I did not care for the characters.  Probably since I’ve been spoiled by so many crime films, it just didn’t click with me.  A film worth watching for certain, but not one I would watch again.


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