Noirvember Reviews: The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Directed and written by John Huston. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, and Peter Lorre.

The Maltese Falcon is based on the novel of the same name from author Dashiell Hammet. The Maltese Falcon is considered to be one of the greatest films of all-time and one of the top noir films of all-time. The film is a beautiful tale of mystery with an amazing cast. Humphrey Bogart stars as Sam Spade, who is a hard-boiled detective that is keen on the morals of the people that surround him. After the arrival of the seductive Miss Wonderly (Mary Astor), Spade gets trapped into a web of crime that follows a valuable object called the Maltese falcon.

John Huston (director) does a tremendous job getting viewers emotionally invested in this film. No matter how tough Bogart plays Sam Spade, there is always a sense of urgency that Spade could be killed by these criminals. Mary Astor is perfect playing the innocent woman, who has a sinister side. Bogart and Astor have chemistry together. Bogart, with his facial expressions, shows that Spade finds Miss Wonderly beautiful, but that she is not to be trusted. Spade isn’t going to play her games.

A black-and-white San Francisco is alluring to the eyes. Huston paints the city with a steady brush. Huston lets viewers know the city is a jewel with evil that lurks in the night. A private eye in the city will always be watching their back. Spade’s office at night features a skyline of San Franciscan buildings lit perfectly with white, illuminated bulbs highlighting certain businesses. It’s a gorgeous shot that lights up the black sky.

The film is an exhilarating portrayal of how far people will go for riches and rarities. Greed is influential to the point that people will travel the earth to get wealthy. Spade is a hero that never falters. No one can bribe him or persuade him into helping with their messy schemes. He never falls for the stuff that dreams are made of.

Overall rating: 5/5.

Author: Jordan Lash

My name is Jordan Lash. I write about gaming and comics.

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