Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Maltese Falcon (1931)

AKA: Dangerous Female

Director: Roy Del Ruth

Writers: Dashiell Hammett, Maude Fulton, Brown Holmes

Composer: ???

Starring: Bebe Daniels, Ricardo Cortez, Dudley Digges, Una Merkel, Robert Elliott, Thelma Todd, Otto Matieson, Walter Long, Dwight Frye, J. Farrell MacDonald

More info:  IMDb

Plot: A lovely dame with dangerous lies employs the services of a private detective, who is quickly caught up in the mystery and intrigue of a statuette known as the Maltese Falcon.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

I'm such a huge fan of THE MALTESE FALCON (1941), and I've seen it many times, that there's no way I'm passing this up.  Now I just need to see the first filmed version of Hammett's story, SATAN WAS A LADY (1936) with Bette Davis.  After seeing the '41 film a few times, it's hard not to think of it when watching this one.  It is superior in every way to the '31 version.  Right off the bat I was turned off by Cartez's take on Sam Spade.  He's more of an eye-rolling wise ass.  It could've been played, and would've been more fun if it were played, by comedian Eddie Cantor.  It's hard not to mention the lack of music, which hurts the picture, but it's understandable as this was the norm in the early days of the talkies.  The lack of music does make the picture drag more than it would with it.  I found it fun and neat to see similarities between this and the '41 picture outside of the story.  Things like the casting of Gutman and Cairo.  Even Gutman's hotel room looks like it was re-used for the '41 film.  It's a great story and it does entertain.  Any fans of the '41 film would be amused by this one.  This one goes beyond the ending of '41 with a scene in prison between Sam and that sweet 'you know who'.  People complain about remakes constantly.  I used to be one of them many years ago until I stopped caring and accepted it.  Naturally it's out of my control so why bother burning calories bitching about Hollywood's seemingly lack of original ideas.  The '41 Bogart version of the film was the second remake of the story in ten years and it's also considered one of the all time great films, too.  I'm surprised it hasn't been remade a third time.  I should just wait a couple of more years to eat my words. 

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