Miss Wonderly (Mary Astor) hires the San Francisco private eye team of Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart)and Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) to follow the man she claims knows the whereabouts of her missing sister. Miles is killed and Sam is suspected of murdering him. In search for the truth, he gets tangled up with rival gangs on the trail of the Maltese falcon, a valable gold statue.
Then Spade contacts a group of colorful criminals; The obese leader Kasper Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet; the perfumed Dr. Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre); and a short-fused gunsel named Wilmer Cook (Elisha Cook, Jr.). Using his wits, Spade expertly turns the conspirators against each other, eventually learning the true killer of his partner.
Within 9 days it would have been Dashiell Hammett`s (Writer) 119th birthday.
* May 27, 1894
† January 10, 1961
This week 18 years ago Elisha Cook Jr. (Wilmer Cook) died (aged 92)
May 18, 1995
Release date: October 3, 1941
Most of the characters (except Sam Spade) in the movie are based on real life people who writer Hammett met when he worked as a Pinkerton detective. Source / More (Book)
Mary Astor: “I have heard people say [Bogart] wasn’t really a very good actor. I don’t go along with that. It is true that his personality dominated the character he was playing-but the character gained by it. His technical skill was quite brilliant. His precision timing was no accident” Source / More (Book)
Of the ten plaster and India ink statuettes that were created for the film, three still remain. The statuettes have been conservatively valued at over $1 million each, making them some of the most valuable film props to date.
The movie is based on a 1930 novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett. Source / More (Book)
Many film critics believe that The Maltese falcon was the first film noir.
The stories was already filmed in 1931. For decades, this film could not be legally shown in the USA because of the rather extensive use of sexually suggestive situations.
Sam Spade: “Why d’ya let these cheap gunsels hang around the lobby with their heaters bulging in their pockets?”. Writer Dashiell Hammett used the slang word Gunsel. Studio censors okayed the word because they thought it meant gunman. But in the thirties a gunsel was a young homosexual male (Wilmer Cook), especially one who was the companion of an older man (Gutman). Source / More (Web)
This week 74 years ago You can’t get away with murder premiered (May 20, 1939)
December 25, 1899
Humphrey Deforest Bogart
January 14, 1957
He grew up in New York, met with disciplinary problems at school and was expelled.
After his discharge from the Navy, Bogart never took acting lessons, but just started an acting career on the Brooklyn stage in 1921. In 1935 he would act in his last Broadway play The Petrified Forest, a role he would reprise on film in 1936.
In 1930 Humphrey went to Hollywood. His big break came in 1941 with High Sierra and The Maltese falcon. Now Bogey was a big star and he made classics like Casablanca and The African Queen. The Caine Mutiny was Bogart's last major movie, a film made when he was already seriously ill. He dropped his asking price to get the role of Captain Queeg.
Terrence Pettigrew -> Bogart: A Definitive Study of His Film Career (1981)
Stephen Humphrey Bogart -> Bogart: In Search of My Father (1995)
Gerald Duchovnay -> Humphrey Bogart: A Bio-Bibliography (1999)