Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

The Maltese Falcon (1941) – Classic Review


Films that revolve around the quest for priceless artefacts often share similar features; the artefact is usually mysterious and somewhat forbidden, it’s incredibly difficult to obtain and the desire for it changes people.

1941’s dark mystery/crime oriented noir “The Maltese Falcon” sees private detective Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) involved in a convoluted quest to obtain the priceless statuette of the same name.

Said to be worth more than most could even begin to comprehend, Spade soon discovers how deeply popular the item is and finds himself dealing with outlandish criminals and a compulsive liar, amongst others, all vying for the Falcon.

Of course, “The Maltese Falcon” goes further than a simple wild goose chase; there are elements of betrayal, love, death, wealth, greed, desire, morality, trust and a heavy focus on symbolism with the Falcon itself symbolising many things about the human condition.

Bogart is ever so slick as Spade; his calm and collected performance with hints of aggression and frustration add so much drama to this already incredibly dramatic classic.


In terms of classic noir films, “The Maltese Falcon” epitomises what a true noir is. Exhibiting standard features of noir like heavy doses of black, a femme fatale with judicious intentions, the change in protagonist, the element of crime (particularly murder), the inclusion of shadows (often cast by venetian blinds) and the the theme of a con-game make “The Maltese Falcon” is a true noir classic.

Regarded as an all time classic film, it’s hard not to see why “The Maltese Falcon” is at the top of many people’s lists and how many neo-noir films or modern films in general have been influenced from it’s story and themes. With superb acting and a marvellous score that adds so much emotion and excitement to every moment of the mystery/crime epic, “The Maltese Falcon” is a progressive story that is on from the word go.

“The Maltese Falcon” is exceptionally crafted in its score, acting, screenplay and cinematography. The way it progresses is highly entertaining and the transformation of characters, mixed with the overall sense of mystery and the unknown add to the drama of the piece. Humphrey Bogart is fantastic while the performances all round are brilliant, making the film an overall joy to watch as it gradually unravels and the tension mounts.



One comment on “The Maltese Falcon (1941) – Classic Review

  1. Noémie
    November 16, 2014

    Seen it now 😉

    The movie is good and I understand why it’s a classic. However I can say now I’ve seen a few of his movies that I’m not a Bogart fan.
    I gave a 3.5/5. Probably too low as the movie is objectively very good but I was just not that much into it. I’m in a big “films noirs” serie at the moment and I’ve seen better already.

    So yeah, I liked Virgin Suicides more :p

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This entry was posted on March 14, 2014 by in Classic Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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