The Maltese Falcon
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After two previous film versions of Dashiell Hammett's detective classic The Maltese Falcon, Warner Bros. finally got it right in 1941--or, rather, John Huston, a long-established screenwriter making his directorial debut, got it right, simply by adhering as closely as possible to the original. Taking over from a recalcitrant George Raft, Humphrey Bogart achieved true stardom as Sam Spade, a hard-boiled San Francisco private eye who can be as unscrupulous as the next guy but also adheres to his own personal code of honor. Into the offices of the Spade & Archer detective agency sweeps a… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The Maltese Falcon is the first crime melodrama with finish, speed and bang to come along in what seems ages."
‑ Otis Ferguson, The New Republic
"This is one of the best examples of actionful and suspenseful melodramatic story telling in cinematic form."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
""The stuff that dreams are made of," comments Spade about the elusive black bird of the title, a sentiment easily applied to this indisputable masterpiece."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"Immaculately designed, evocatively photographed, and easy to watch but also spiky, morally complex, and ultimately unsettling."
‑ Bryant Frazer, Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus
"The film is made up almost entirely of talk, and yet the performances are so wonderfully flamboyant and focused that conversations become the action of the movie."
‑ Douglas Pratt, DVDLaser
"Frighteningly good evidence that the British (Alfred Hitchcock, Carol Reed, et al.) have no monopoly on the technique of making mystery films."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"Who can argue with Bogart's glower or Mary Astor in her ratty fur?"
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"exceptionally crafted"
‑ Kevin Carr, 7M Pictures
"Excellent but too mature for the littlest kids."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"Perfect use of the old McGuffin."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"The Maltese Falcon is among the most important and influential movies to emerge from the Hollywood system -- as significant in some ways as its contemporary, Citizen Kane."
‑ James Berardinelli, ReelViews
"Filmed almost entirely in interiors, it presents a claustrophobic world animated by betrayal, perversion and pain."
‑ Derek Adams, Time Out
"It's the classic hardboiled private-eye movie; the nervy maiden offering of its celebrated director, John Huston; the first glamorous star vehicle for Humphrey Bogart..."
‑ Richard T. Jameson, Parallax View
"This Spade is no stranger to the guile of shady clients and colorful suspects..."
‑ Sean Axmaker,
"With its dark, complex plotting, stark black-and-white photography, concentration on the baseness of man, and a cynical mood sustained to its still shockingly grim conclusion, this is the prototypical film noir."
‑ , Film4
More reviews for The Maltese Falcon on Rotten Tomatoes

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