Satan Met a Lady (1936)
In this rip-off of the 1931 filming of Dashiell Hammett's novel The Maltese Falcon, Bette Davis is a determined woman searching for another woman who is looking for a lost and valuable artifact. She hires detective Ted Shayne (Warren William) to help her in her quest. Troubles arise when last-minute contenders arrive who also want the valuable artifact. If this sounds confusing to you, it apparently sounded so to the famed Ms. Davis as well, for although contracted to appear in the film, she was determined not to appear in the movie and was finally forced to. She later often referred to Satan Met a Lady as her worst effort. The movie was capably remade five years later by director John Huston, titled The Maltese Falcon. … More
as Ted Shayne
as Valerie Purvis
as Mme. Barabbas
as Anthony Travers
as Astrid Ames
as Mr. Ames
as Parents of Sextuplet
as Parents of Sextuplet
as Mrs. Arden
as Taxi Driver
as City Father
as Night Watchman
as Dock Walloper
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Critic Reviews for Satan Met a Lady
[A] snappy, funny film that spoofs the detective genre using the framework of Hammett's famous story.
Audience Reviews for Satan Met a Lady
Light version of Maltese Falcon, really not much of worth here. Legend has it that Bette fought tooth and nail not to make this and it shows in her performance, she's either disinterested or chewing the scenery to try and make something of the lackluster script. Marie Wilson as the secretary is brightest spot in the film.More
"satan met a lady" is a typical example of how you could ruin a ballistic novel by whimsically twisting it into a slapstick comedy. "satan met a lady" is based upon the well-reputed novel of danshiell hammett "maltese falcon" which had made a legend of humprey bogart as sam spade in early 40s. "satan met a lady" is destined to be forgotten (which i wouldn't call a doom) for its misguided adaption. there's no hard-boiled grit which is the essential attribute to "maltese falcon"...and the primary question would be: why bother to make it tough task by farcial attempt? is that a joke on hammet? sure, a forgotten joke.
names of the protagonists are all changed. william warren is the womanizing detective shane who toys around with dames, and bette davis is the femme fatale who doublecross shane for a precious "flute" instead of the phenomenal black bird. then the rest follows along the fixed storyline of maltese falcon. an obese rich dame and her also overweight tepid assassin united together against davis while shane observes with smirks. warren william does have an idiocyncratic sense of ridicule, a surviver from the silent movie days in transition to talkies, and he's tall, dashing and suave with a profile which could rival john barrymore. unfortunately, william's charisma is soon to be dated after the 30s. william is the ideal personification of leading man in pre-code hollywood, and he's the only one who could blend elegance with cynicism without vulgarities but a refined sort of decadence. every player in "satan met a lady" seems playfully abscent-minded to deliver their lines, laughing flirtatiously on the script dispatched to them. it's the least noirish movie made upon american detective novel ever, and even more frivilous than william powell's "thin man" which has been turned into a screwball comedy of success.
warren william's physiques do fit into sam spade by the novel but he's a reluctant sam spade who doesn't wish to be sam spade. he ain't so bitter like spade. how about davis? the only worthwhile moment she employs is her feministic assertation of asking a man to hold his hat high while being threatened with a gun because she's a LADY in presence. there's no female ferocity she expresses in "human bondage", no dubious sexuality but a girlish poise of mischief as she remakrs to william at the end "you would regret turning me in because you cannot find any other woman who is as smart as you"...so? is that a desire to be so obviously cute??
generally, the value of "satan met a lady" is its campiness, the campiest version of "maltese falcon" ever! no actor involved is really paying a heart to pull it off, and the whole set of cast is literily mocking themselves. and the treasure is a flute? so, you're gonna blow it off soundly, i suppose.
The comic version of The Maltese Falcon. Fairly clever the way the story is twisted for comic purposes. Spade becomes Shane (Warren William), Ruth né Brigid becomes Valerie Purvis (Bette Davis), and the "Fatman" Gutman becomes a woman (Skipworth). Everyone's trying to get their hands on a Medieval horn filled with jewels rather than a golden bird encrusted with jewels. William portrays Shane as having many of the characteristics of Spade, just exaggerated for comedic effect. Bette Davis, however, doesn't seem very invested in her character.More
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