Friday, April 8, 2016

AFI Top 100, #23: "The Maltese Falcon" (1941)

Movie Stats:
Released 1941 (USA)
American, in English
Director - John Huston
Stars - Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet

Plot Summary:
When beautiful dame Brigid O’Shaughnessy (Astor) walks into the office of private detective Sam Spade (Bogart), he immediately finds himself embroiled in the dangerous hunt for a valuable artifact. Lorre co-stars as the simpering Joel Cairo and Greenstreet as the wealthy Kasper Gutman, two men who are also after the artifact.


Bad Stuff:
It’s confusing with a side of the ridiculous. Basically, it’s a lot of “I’m double crossing you!” “No, I’m double crossing YOU!” and “You’re lying!” “Yes, but you are ALSO lying!” to the point where I just felt annoyed.

Poor character development. I really didn’t understand who anyone was or what their motivations were (other than basic greed). Nor did I care about anyone. Literally everyone could have died and I would’ve shrugged.

Sam Spade has the uncanny ability to knock out a person with one punch. Is his fist made of steel or something?

Astor’s performance was terrible.

Good Stuff:
On the other hand, the rest of the main cast was really good, but I particularly enjoyed Greenstreet and Lorre. Peter Lorre makes everything better. The scene where he throws a temper tantrum made me laugh out loud. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be funny, but it was.

I liked the ending. It was very fitting.

Costuming did a good job.

The Verdict:
I don’t get the love for this film. I’d seen it once before, and could remember not liking it, but wasn’t sure why. Now I remember. The whole thing is complete mess. It's nonsense. It’s so tiresome that it couldn’t hold my interest. Perhaps that added to my confusion [SPOILER] Did they show the boat captain before he stumbled into Sam’s office and died? Because I was like, “Who the F is that guy?” and Spade is like, “Why, it’s the boat captain” and I’m like, “How does he know that?” [SPOILER] but I honestly think I’m blameless here. Make your movie more interesting and my attention won’t drift. The only thing it really has going for it is some quality acting.

I give it 2.25 stars.


Patricia said...

I watched this too in the past 10 years or so. I was not blow away by it and can remember very little about it.

balyien said...

There's not much to remember. It's people arguing about a statue for an hour. To which I say a big old "meh."