I really can't say enough about The Maltese Falcon
. The best film noir of all-time, arguably the most influential crime drama of all-time, and IMO, one of the ten best films ever made.
The archetypal film detective was created in this film courtesy of writer/director Huston and star Bogart, and when one watches The Maltese Falcon
, they can see a trace of pretty much every crime film made subsequently.
It's a masterful film with a tight screenplay, magnificent cinematography, and top-notch performances from the entire cast, included in which are Mary Astor
, Gladys George
, the wonderful character actor Elisha Cook Jr.
, the consistently perfect Peter Lorre
, and renowned stage actor Sydney Greenstreet
, who, with this film, made his film debut at the age of 61. . .and was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance.
The plot of the film centers around the titular falcon. An infamous artifact of great value but also of great danger, people have been fighting to get their hands on it for centuries.
At the time in the film, the people fighting over it are Greenstreet, Lorre, and Astor, and stuck in the middle of it all is Bogart.
Bogart plays private eye Sam Spade, commissioned by Astor to find her sister, who she tells Bogart and his partner, Miles Archer---played by Jerome Cowan
---is in danger.
While on the job, Archer gets killed, prompting Bogart to now go on the search for whoever killed him, and on that course, he gets tangled up in all sorts of misadventures that, after, became crime film hallmarks.
My favorite scene of the film is when Bogart and Peter Lorre meet for the first time. Bogart gets to his office and finds Lorre searching the place. He pulls a gun on Bogart, but Bogart takes it from him and becomes the one asking the questions.
Lorre tells him of his search for the falcon and he tells Bogart he'd pay him if he tracked down the bird for him. Bogart tells him no dice, and when he gives him his gun back, Lorre pulls it on him again
The next best scene IMO also features Lorre, this time when he, Astor, and Bogart are all together talking about the falcon.
From the time that Archer was killed, two cops had been hounding Bogart, thinking he knew more about his death than he was letting on. . .and to be fair, they were right
They show up and Bogart tries to get them out without them knowing either Lorre or Astor were there with him, but then all of a sudden they hear a loud commotion and enter to the two fighting.
As a huge Peter Lorre fan, I can never say enough about his performances, and his performance here is no exception. He's supremely hilarious from his first scene to his last.