The Maltese Falcon (1931)
as Sam Spade
as Ruth Wonderly
as Casper Gutman
as Dr. Joel Cairo
as Iva Archer
as Effie Perrine
as Police Lt. Dundy
as District Attorney
as Miles Archer
as Wilmer Cook
as Captain Jacobi
as Joel Cairo
News & Interviews for The Maltese Falcon
Critic Reviews for The Maltese Falcon
Dated grandpoppa of Bogart's classic is worth seeing to compare.
Surprisingly racy pre-code first version of the Hammett novel.
Audience Reviews for The Maltese Falcon
Better than "Satan Met a Lady" but not in the same league as the 1941 remake.
Very faithful pre-code adaptation of Hammett's novel. The femme fatale, marvelously played by Bebe Daniels, sticks with the name Ruth Wonderly, rather than revealing that to be just an alias. There's also a prison scene at the end, since the romance between Ruth and Spade is played up more. Except for Dudley Digges not quite having the girth required for the character of Gutman (he looks and sounds like the model for Burgess Meredith's Penguin on the Batman TV series), I thought the cast was wonderful at bringing the characters from the book alive. Ricardo Cortez (who was Austrian and adopted this stage name during the Valentino mania of the silent era) is a suave womanizer. The subplot about Spade having an affair with his partner's wife isn't ignored like in the other adaptations and the sexual innuendo is closer to the source material than later films censored by the production code. The camera work is definitely not bland, too.
The first film adaptation of Hammett's novel, but certainly not the best. As an early "talkie," this film had practically no atmosphere, and Sam Spade is played by Cortez as a leering, lecherous playboy with a boyish smile; there is none of the "tough guy" detective that Spade deserves to be. While it's a bit more risque than the 1941 Huston film due to its being filmed before the Production Code took effect, this film is really only of interest to those who might be interested in seeing how different directors tackle the same material (and how different they turn out). If you love this story, skip this film and see the Huston masterpiece.
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