Spade and Archer is the name of a San Francisco detective agency. That's for Sam Spade and Miles Archer. The two men are partners, but Sam doesn't like Miles much. A knockout, who goes by the name of Miss Wonderly, walks into their office; and by that night everything's changed. Miles is dead. And so is a man named Floyd Thursby. It seems Miss Wonderly is surrounded by dangerous men. There's Joel Cairo, who uses gardenia-scented calling cards. There's Kasper Gutman, with his enormous girth and feigned civility. Her only hope of protection comes from Sam, who is suspected by the police of one or the other murder. More murders are yet to come, and it will all be because of these dangerous men -- and their lust for a statuette of a bird: the Maltese Falcon.Written by
Mary Astor's off-screen notoriety was instrumental in her casting. She had been in several scandals concerning affairs she had been involved in during her marriage. When she first came to Hollywood she had an affair with the much older John Barrymore, her husband had been killed in a plane crash, had been married multiple times--which was considered scandalous behavior in those times--and was an alcoholic. During a bitter custody hearing, a diary she had kept recounting her various sexual exploits was made public--her former secretary had stolen it and gave it to her soon-to-be-former husband Franklyn Thorpe, whose attorney, Joseph Anderson, leaked copies of cherry-picked passages to the press--and the salacious details were splashed across the front pages of most newspapers in the country for the duration of the trial. See more »
The opening crawl tells a story about "Charles V of Spain" in 1539. This king was Charles I of Spain; Charles V was his title as Holy Roman Emperor. See more »
With a fine combination of cast, characters, story, and atmosphere, this classic is one of the most entertaining films of its kind, enjoyable even after several viewings. It gets you right into the action and introduces you to a list of interesting personalities, who mesh together nicely and who are also matched well with the cast members. Beyond that, it's also effective as a character study involving greed, trust and distrust, and conflicting ethics.
Sam Spade is an ideal role for Bogart, giving him plenty to work with and some very good dialogue as well. Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet are very entertaining, providing suitable foils for Bogart, and they really take the film up a notch. The rest of the cast also works well (worth mentioning is Elisha Cook, Jr., whose character doesn't do a lot, but who provides Bogart with some very amusing moments at his expense). The story is nicely adapted from the novel, and each scene is constructed well, with everything moving along nicely from start to finish.
If you are a fan of either film noir or mysteries, make this a must-see. There are very few films that work as well as "The Maltese Falcon".
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