Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre
Director: John Huston
Running Time: 100 mins
The Maltese Falcon is an American film about a private detective who, after finding his friend has been mysteriously murdered, becomes wrapped up in a web of lies and deceit that revolves around finding the illustrious ‘Maltese Falcon’.
This is an absolute classic of cinema, and it’s easy to see why. It kicked off the iconic film-noir ‘genre’, and it also features great performances and an engrossing story that is to this day as unpredictable as it was back in 1941.
It may not be the fastest-paced or tensest of thrillers, however this film is still captivating from start to finish. Amidst the central storyline of finding the falcon, there are various other plot points that keep you on your toes throughout.
From the beginning, nothing about the characters and their motivations is quite clear enough, making everything all the more mysterious and setting the mood for an unpredictable story line right up to the climax.
As a result, this is a truly intriguing crime story. The actual details and mystery of the crime are one thing, but what’s most fun and interesting is to try and unlock the various characters as the story unfolds as to who’s deceiving who, and where everyone’s true intentions and allegiances lie.
Away from the engrossing plot, this film also contains a whole host of great performances. Humphrey Bogart’s turn as Sam Spade is iconic to this day, being both the cunning detective as well as the cool, suave guy who keeps his head in all of the chaos. Meanwhile, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre are also excellent in the supporting roles, with their performances being integral in the extreme mystery surrounding each of their characters.
Finally, this film deserves credit now for its extremely iconic and important status. As well as being an impressively intelligent and complex thriller for the age, this is credited as the first true American film-noir, a genre/style that has been replicated over the years, and made so brilliantly during Hollywood’s Golden Age, and it’s possible to say that if this wasn’t so good, that entire genre may have taken a hit and not been the icon that it is today, so overall, this gets a 7.9 from me.