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Old 11-07-2008, 01:52 PM   #1
Bullitt68
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Icon1 CLASSIC FILM 101: High Sierra (1941) and The Maltese Falcon (1941)

In 1936, Humphrey Bogart made his first big splash in Hollywood as Duke Mantee in the gangster classic The Petrified Forest.

That film should've made him a bonified star; instead, he became relegated to cheap ripoffs of that character in supporting roles to such stars as James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, and George Raft.

It wasn't until 1941 that Bogart finally started getting the parts he deserved and getting the recognition he deserved, and it all started with High Sierra.

The film is one of the best of the old-school gangster films, written by a man Bogart would team up with several times subsequently in his career: John Huston

The film stars Bogart and Ida Lupino and follows Bogart's character Roy Earle as he is paroled from prison and commissioned to pull of a heist in California.

Having spent eight years in prison, when Earle gets out, he feels that the world has passed him by. Despite the way some people might choose to write Bogart off as an unskilled actor who played the same gruff tough guy every movie, this character was a very complex character and Bogart pulled it off perfectly.

Despite being a hard ass career criminal, the farmer in him still shows through, and when he meets a family on their way to L.A. after having lost their farm back home, he feels more comfortable with them than he does the crooks he's set-up to pull off the job with.

He also happens to fall for a member of the family: The shy, reserved Velma, played by Joan Leslie at the tender age of sixteen.

Watching Bogart go from a gentle man tired of running through life one step ahead of death and then back to the hardened criminal he is is the true treat of High Sierra.

The film picks up steam once Bogart makes his way to the cabin where his partners in crime await. Once he arrives, he's disconcerted at seeing a woman---Lupino---in the mix.



Once he talks with her, though, he realizes she's a very savvy woman and that she can handle herself just fine.

There's a long build-up to the heist, during which time we watch Bogart try to get Velma to love him and also watch Lupino try to get Bogart to see that he just doesn't fit with a girl like that.

There's also a scene before the heist where the two men helping Bogart get into a fight. One of them gets hot and hits Lupino, and then the two fight each other.

The best scene of the film is when Bogart comes back to the cabin and sees Lupino's face and goes after the guy.



Bogart takes care of the things and then it's time for the heist. It doesn't go as planned, though, and as they're making their escape---Bogart and Lupino in one car and the two other robbers plus their inside man, the front desk clerk at the hotel, in the other---the other car crashes.

Unfortunately, the scared, loose-lipped inside man is the one who survives, and when he's facing prison time, he gives up both Bogart and Lupino.

The film's climax is after the police chase Bogart up into the Sierras.



Knowing that he'll never do any more prison time, Bogart sticks it out to the end, getting shot and falling down the mountains in a tremendous end scene.

The film was highly successful and really put Bogart on the map, and Huston liked him so much that he had him appear in his directorial debut: The quintessential film noir, The Maltese Falcon.

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Old 11-07-2008, 01:53 PM   #2
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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.

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"[We must] abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. Yet, it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents, as well."

-Bruce Lee

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Old 11-07-2008, 01:53 PM   #3
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The next person Bogart comes across in the search for the falcon is Sydney Greenstreet, playing a character perfect for him: The Fat Man



A much more dangerous man that he lets on, he spends the film trying to get Bogart to lead him to the falcon, be it intentionally or unintentionally.

At the end of the film, everybody converges in Bogart's office after he tells them he finally got his hands on the bird.



They've got the bird, but with the dead bodies lined up down the beaten path to it, they need a story that'll satisfy the police. Bogart suggests they use Greenstreet's hoodlum, played by one of the best character actors of all-time, Elisha Cook, as their fall guy.



After Bogart knocks him out and they all agree on their story for the police as well as Bogart's fee---can't forget that---they finally get their hands on the bird. . .only to find out it's a fake.



Everything Greenstreet, Lorre, and Astor had been searching for, fighting for, even killing for, was for nothing.

Peter Lorre loses it while Sydney Greenstreet leaves, dumbfounded.

That leaves Mary Astor with Bogart. . .or so she thinks. Despite his feelings for her, Bogart knows Astor is a deceptive and manipulative woman who's killed before, including killing Archer, and who'd kill again in a heartbeat.

He tells her he's going to turn her into the police, that he "won't play the sap for her," and it's after the police take her away that Bogart says one of the most famous lines in film history, and instead of just writing it, you can see the man deliver it himself.


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"[We must] abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. Yet, it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents, as well."

-Bruce Lee

www.sherdog.net/forums/f48/classic-film-index-894553/

https://chicago.academia.edu/KyleBarrowman

Last edited by Bullitt68; 04-07-2009 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 11-07-2008, 01:53 PM   #4
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That's it for this week's Classic Film thread. Next week, whether you're a fan of the classics or not, IMHO, I think you should make it a point to read my thread next week anyway, because I'm covering what is the consensus #1 film of all-time on more film lists than I could possibly count.

Orson Welles' masterpiece and quite possibly the singular masterpiece in all of cinema: Citizen Kane.



Thanks for reading.

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"[We must] abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. Yet, it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents, as well."

-Bruce Lee

www.sherdog.net/forums/f48/classic-film-index-894553/

https://chicago.academia.edu/KyleBarrowman

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Old 11-07-2008, 01:55 PM   #5
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GREAT movies!

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Old 11-07-2008, 02:49 PM   #6
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Both excellent movies. Bogie was the man.

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Old 11-07-2008, 04:11 PM   #7
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The Maltese Falcon is a great film with and extremely dark movie

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Old 11-07-2008, 05:12 PM   #8
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Great movies got to watch High Sierra and rewatch The Maltese Falcon... damn my "got to watch" list is getting really big now

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Old 11-07-2008, 05:14 PM   #9
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maltese falcon was great i haven't seen it in awhile. i think i need to watch it again.

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Old 11-07-2008, 09:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by konfirm View Post
Great movies got to watch High Sierra and rewatch The Maltese Falcon... damn my "got to watch" list is getting really big now
That's the way it should be, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pinoy ninja View Post
maltese falcon was great i haven't seen it in awhile. i think i need to watch it again.
You certainly can't see The Maltese Falcon too many times

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"[We must] abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. Yet, it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents, as well."

-Bruce Lee

www.sherdog.net/forums/f48/classic-film-index-894553/

https://chicago.academia.edu/KyleBarrowman
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