Great Blu-ray, but lacking in supplements
jrc | Jonesboro, AR USA | 10/09/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gorgeous transfer of this classic film. Contrary to popular belief, these old black & white pictures look great on Blu-ray. I subtracted one star due to the relative lack of significant bonus material. Basically, you only get the bonuses from the 1st and 3rd disc of the previous DVD 3 disc set: making of documentary, Night At The Movies program with shorts and trailers, radio plays, etc. Unfortunately, Warners chose not to include either of the two previous adaptations of FALCON, which were on disc 2 of the DVD edition. SIERRA MADRE Blu-ray has comparable extras, but also includes the 125-minute John Huston biography feature. Surely Warner had room on FALCON's Blu-Ray to at least include the 1931 version! Still, for the price, it's an acceptable package."
I don't mind a reasonable amount of trouble.
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 08/16/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"He may not look like a "blond Satan," but Humphrey Bogart became the ultimate Sam Spade in "The Maltese Falcon," the classic movie adapted from Dashiell Hammett's noir mystery. It's a gloriously seedy, dark path through a tangle of lies, murders and and thefts, all centering on the legendary
"Shoo her in, darling." A beautiful woman (Mary Astor) comes into Miles & Archer's detective agency and claims to be looking for her sister, who has supposedly gone off with a guy called Thursby.
Just an ordinary case? Wrong. Later on, Miles is shot, followed by the mysterious Thursby -- and since Spade (Bogart) has been dallying with Miles' wife, he's a prime suspect. After being grilled by the police, Spade visits the client -- now calling herself Brigid O'Shaughnessy -- and gets the real story out of her. Or not. Seriously, this woman lies like most people say "Hello."
Things go from bad to worse when Spade is kicked around by little weaselly Joel Cairo and the sinister yet hearty Fat Man. Like O'Shaugnessy, they are searching for the priceless Maltese Falcon, a jeweled bird statue covered in black enamel. Who has the Falcon? Who stole it? Who killed for it? And who might kill again to get it back?
The San Francisco of "The Maltese Falcon" is a smoky, shadowed world, where men and women from across the world ruthlessly pursue priceless treasures. In fact, it's fortunate that this film was filmed before the advent of color, because the black-and-white film just adds to the murky, bleak atmosphere.
The plot is a little hard to follow at first, since there seem to be two unrelated mysteries that don't seem to have anything to do with each other. But as Spade unravels lies and motives, the subplots are twined together and the story becomes truly brilliant. The dialogue is sharp and witty ("I've been bad, worse than you could know." "You know, that's good, because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we'd never get anywhere").
And the small cast put the "anti" in antiheroes -- everybody is painted in dark shades of gray. Bogart's growly Sam Spade is strangely charming, and you end up liking him even though he's not much better than the crooks. Astor plays a floaty fluffy femme fatale who has a nastier side, Peter Lorre is wonderfully creepy as Joel Cairo, and Sydney Greenstreet is pleasantly sinister as the Fat Man. The only really GOOD person seems to be Effie.
Sharp, dark and very twisted, this is a fantastic mystery full of twists, greed and the ultimate anti-heroic detective. This is primo noir!"