PODCAST WARNING: Lani and Jenny found it hard to discuss this movie as professionally as they should have; therefore if you’re interested in a serious discussion of The Maltese Falcon, you’ll probably want to skip this one. If you want to hear two women laughing hysterically about a noir classic, tune in.
Story: A private detective searches for his partner’s killer and the statue of a black bird, accompanied by a beautiful woman who lies to him a lot.
Sam Spade, the most famous hard-boiled detective ever.
Release Date: October 18, 1941
Writer: John Huston, Dashiell Hammett
Source: The novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett.
Detective as protagonist?
Jenny: Yep. First character on the scene, owns the whole movie.
Lani: Yes, the first thing you see is Sam, it’s him all the way through.
Murderer as antagonist?
Jenny: Yep. Shows up in the first scene, drives the protagonist crazy for the whole movie.
Lani: Also there right from the start, coordinating everything.
Conflict created by murder?
Jenny: It doesn’t seem so at first, but it does become evident at the end.
Lani: As soon as the murder happens, yes. Before that, it’s created by the fact that he doesn’t believe a word she says, right from the beginning. Which was good to discover, because neither did I.
Fair play with all the clues given?
Jenny: All the clues are given, but I think Sam makes a big deductive leap at the end, and there’s no way the police have enough evidence to prosecute. Of course, it was shot in 1941; maybe back then you didn’t need much evidence.
Lani: I give a qualified yes. Some things Sam came to were based upon his deep knowledge of Miles Archer, and I’m not sure we got that knowledge as well in the first couple of seconds before Miles was plot meat.
Solved using deduction, not luck?
Jenny: Yep. Spade’s a real detective, digging constantly.
Lani: Absolutely. The entire movie is him picking at people for clues. He’s a great example of an active protagonist.
Story Analysis & Ratings:
Jenny says: 5 Pops: Solid mystery, well told. The romance gets a 1 because that was sex, honey, not love, but then The Maltese Falcon isn’t a romance, so who cares? The comedy, though: It’s not supposed to be funny but we were on the floor. We NEED a gif of Brigid kicking Joel Cairo.
Mystery: 4, Craft: 5, Suspense: 4, Romance: 1, Comedy: 5
Lani says: 5 Pops – As a mystery, it’s a five. It does all the things a mystery is supposed to do. The ridiculous things we laughed hysterically about didn’t take away from that, so neither will I. I do have to say, it hasn’t aged well, in that I was laughing at a lot of things I don’t think they intended to be funny. On the other hand, it’s a movie I would absolutely watch again, if for nothing more than the moment he takes the gun away from Cairo, only to give it back loaded. And then, when he does it again with Wilmer. It’s the again that makes it funny.
Mystery: 5, Craft: 4, Suspense: 3 (I was laughing too hard and didn’t give a rat’s ass about any of them), Romance: 1, Comedy: 5