Posts Tagged ‘The Maltese Falcon’

The Maltese Falcon: Movie Tuesday #1

I got a great movie to start out with!

The Maltese Falcon, as you’ll remember from my post about the book, was written by Dashiell Hammet. I enjoyed the fact that the controversy and conspiracy in the book were relatively low, while the tension and action were high.

The movie was made in 1941. It was directed by John Husten and stars Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, and Gladys George. I’d heard really good things about this movie, and it didn’t disappoint. It really is a classic, isn’t it?

Whenever I watch old movies from the 40s and 50s, I’m always a little sad, because they just don’t make movies like that anymore. Husten meticulously planned out and storyboarded the entire movie before he even started setting up and shooting. This allowed him to see exactly how the movie would look and helped him figure out what he wanted to do and how he could do it the best. And it worked. The film was beautifully shot and staged.

I was also really surprised at how well the movie followed the book. It’s been a few months since I read The Maltese Falcon, but I felt like the screenwriters used a lot of lines directly from the book. The plot, too, was exactly the same. Unlike today, when most movie adaptations of books add or take out elements, The Maltese Falcon seemed to follow the book exactly. I liked that.

Overall, I loved The Maltese Falcon. It was very noir-y and suspenseful and detective-y and perfect. I wish they still made movies like that. And I wish that Humphrey Bogart was still in all of them.

Rating: *****

The Understated Falcon

I finished The Maltese Falcon already. Short books, crappy internet, and 3-hour car rides will do that for you.

The book wasn’t what I was expecting. I guess because I live in a sensationalized, Dan-Brown, action sort of world, I thought it would have a lot more action, intrigue and over-the-top conspiracies. Instead, it was understated. The Knights Templar/artifact with dubious history was really just a vehicle for advancing the plot. Hammett focused very little on the falcon itself and rather on Spade and the characters involved.

THAT, friends, is what a good mystery book should do. It’s nice to read a book that can mention the Knights Templar and conspiracy theories only fleetingly. I wasn’t aware that you could do that sort of thing. How refreshing.

Anyway, I could easily picture the fast-talking Sam Spade bantering with the cops and comforting hysterical women. I appreciated his humor and the witty writing style.

At times I felt a bit lost with all of the driving around. In parts, too, I felt like there were plot holes where the characters both knew something that I didn’t. To make matters worse, they wouldn’t tell me what they knew. I felt a little lost when that happened.

Anyway, overall I enjoyed my first real detective novel. I was a little underwelmed by the lack of conspiracy theory, but now that I think about it, I like that. They don’t write them like that anymore. (Except they probably do)

Rating: ****
Up Next: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

“Hey, Dollface”: The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammet (#7)

The Maltese Falcon book cover

Oh look! It’s a detective book! This is really exciting. I haven’t read that many detective novels. I think the last one I read was Pulp by Charles Bukowski, but I don’t know if that counts as a classic “detective” novel. I enjoyed it, but it’s Bukowski. I have this weird lit-crush on him so I’m biased.

Actually, come to think of it, the last “detective” novel I read was Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. That DEFINITELY doesn’t count!

Anyway, I’m glad I finally get to read a Sam Spade novel. Goodness knows I’ve heard enough about him what with all the movies and books and everything. I’ve heard from several sources that this is where “it” all started. I don’t quite know what “it” is, but evidently all the awesome detective stuff from way back when movies were actually good is connected to this. Somehow. Or at least that’s what the lady I met in the stacks at the library told me.

I don’t know a whole lot about detective novels, to be honest.

Humphrey Bogart in fedoraFor awhile when I was in high school this boy called me “dollface.” It always made me feel like we should be in black and white and he should be sitting beside a desk with his feet up and a cigarette in the corner of his mouth. Then, he’d put on his fedora, tip it down over his eyes, and head out into the rain to solve a case. That is how I imagine 1930s detective stories should be. So if this isn’t, I’m going to be VERY disappointed.

I’m really looking forward to reading this book. I’ll probably read it all in one sitting because I have a 3 and a half hour car ride tomorrow and it’s probably going to be really exciting. I hope. Maybe if I’m lucky, someone will even say “dollface.”

Also, as a sidenote, don’t Google image search the word “dollface.” I mean, I found what you would probably expect to find, but don’t do it. I’m spending the night in my grandparents’ basement, and I’m pretty sure that I won’t be sleeping…

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