The Maltese FalconAFI Rank: #23
Year Released: 1941
Director: John Huston
Actors: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre, Barton MacLane
This classic film noir movie follows the famous book by Dashiell Hammett almost scene by scene, with its sharp dialogue, tense scenes and triple crosses. A movie which still grabs you even in modern times.
I love film noir movies with their tough-and-intelligent heroes, the women who can hold their own against the men, and the desperate situations which drive both to their limits. Dashiell Hammett was an author who wrote some of the best material available for this genre, and John Huston brought his book "The Maltese Falcon" to life with unerring accuracy.
Huston had great material to work with - and fantastic stars to bring the characters to life. Humphrey Bogart is brilliant in the lead role of Sam Spade, the rough private investigator who lives by his own code of honor. An antique, very expensive falcon statue has been stolen, and numerous people are willing to kill in order to get their hands on it.
What follows is classic film noir. You never know who to trust, who is lying, and who might kill someone with little provacation. You're sucked in from the very beginning - and the ending is extremely satisfying.
It's amazing that any movie made in the early 40s would have this kind of power over a jaded modern day audience - and it's that kind of brilliant combination of directing, acting and dialogue that earn movies a spot on the top movies of all time. The AFI put this one at #23, and I would argue that it should be even higher.
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