October 5, 2010
Warner Home Video
- Runtime: 100 minutes
- NTSC (Canada and USA)
- Originally in English
Hard-drinking private eye Sam Spade sleuths the backyard of San Francisco in search of an elusive black bird statuette while evading the setups of three disparate miscreants: the duplicitous Brigid, the perfumed Mr. Cairo, and the scheming Fat Man. HustonÆs brilliant directorial debut is aided by first-rate performances, excellent camera work, as well as the directorÆs acute attention to detail while shooting the film. Based on the crime novel by Dashiell Hammett. Academy Award Nominations: 3, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Sydney Greenstreet), and Best Screenplay. Previous versions of the story were filmed in 1931 (a.k.a. "Dangerous Female") and in 1936 (as "Satan Met a Lady," starring Bette Davis), and poorly redone in 1975 ("The Black Bird").
Dashiell Hammett's novel was first adapted for the screen in 1931. Known alternately as "The Maltese Falcon" and "Dangerous Female," this version was directed by Roy del Ruth and starred Bebe Daniels, Ricardo Cortez, Dudley Digges, Robert Elliott, Thelma Todd, Una Merkel, and Dwight Frye.
In 1936, a second adaptation appeared. The William Dieterle film, "Satan Met a Lady," featured Bette Davis, Warren William, Alison Skipworth, and Arthur Treacher.
After years of screenwriting, John Huston made his directorial debut with "Falcon." His father, actor Walter Huston, has a cameo in the film.
Sydney Greenstreet made his sound-film debut with "Falcon." He was previously a member of the Lunt-Fontaine theater troupe.
Mary Astor and Humphrey Bogart were cited by the National Board of Review for their acting achievement in "The Maltese Falcon."
A colorized version of the film is also available.