The Maltese Falcon - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Maltese Falcon Reviews

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May 1, 2017
Bad acting, poor direction, bad movie. 1941 version much better.
April 1, 2016
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April 1, 2016
eager to see this classic in a theater
½ July 31, 2015
not as good as 1941 version or the other version, 'satan met a lady'
½ July 5, 2014
Can't miss a Dwight Frye performance. Even is the screen time was little and the lines were even more scarce. Pretty good, but the 1941 with Bogart was better. It had more emotion and more of a moral struggle.
Super Reviewer
½ June 10, 2014
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.
½ November 8, 2013
I have to say that I may've judged this one more harshly due to my existing familiarity with the Bogey version, but I just couldn't fully get behind this version of the film.

Rental? See for yourself?
½ June 13, 2013
The Maltese Falcon (1931)

It's no secret that the Bogie version is one of my all-time favorite movies, but this still holds its own. In some ways it tells the same story slightly better, and is a leaner/meaner version. Plus, I get the feeling that this Sam Spade could actually prove himself off the gallows, where Bogie's version would never hold up in court, especially with Detective Dundy gunning for him.

This is a pre-code movie, so there's a lot more skin and Ricardo Cortez is a lot more believable as the private dick on the make, despite the polkadot pajamas. Bebe Daniels is a lot more believable as the sexually manipulative Ruth Wonderly than the ultra-melodramatic Mary Astor. And, Una Merkel, as Spade's private secretary, Effie Perine is a hottie.

This is well worth a viewing.
April 22, 2013
If Cortez were half the actor Bogart was, this movie might be half as good as that superior movie.
½ November 10, 2012
This was not too bad of an adaptation of the Maltese Falcon. I was not particularly happy with Cortez's take on Sam Spade. He played it in a bit more of a comical fashion than I would have preferred for a suspense movie. Overall, the Humphrey Bogart version is considerably better. Unless you really feel the need, this movie can be skipped in favor of the one made 10 years later.
½ June 23, 2012
I got this thinking it was the Bogart version, and I was disappointed that it wasn't.
½ October 9, 2011
The 1931 "Maltese Falcon" adaptation was barely anything in impact. A rather bland take on the novel, but filled with pre-code naughty stuff, like 'son of a bitch' or sexual hints that just wouldn't be done a few years later. It's fun to see in comparison, but there's no question it pales in the John Huston adaptation.
½ March 9, 2011
Still good, but lacking in a few key areas: The acting is a little over the top and exaggerated. Continuity errors abound, and too much time is spent reading for a talkie. To top things off, Ricardo Cortez's portrayal of Sam Spade is a bit too happy, and is borderline goofy. Definitely glad that they remade this film.
½ November 20, 2010
Overacting is the operative word here...skip this like the plague.
September 11, 2010
More explicitly sexual, but not nearly as tense or suspenseful as the Huston version. Bebe Daniels and the supporting players all deliver fine performances, but the Cortez/Del Ruth interpretation of Sam Spade is just so different from the Bogart/Huston version that three viewings later I still can't wrap my head around it. Worth seeing, though, as an historical artifact of film's early talky years and an example of how the same material can be be interpreted with such different results.
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Super Reviewer
½ April 17, 2010
Better than "Satan Met a Lady" but not in the same league as the 1941 remake.
½ March 15, 2010
This is the 1931 version of the Dashiell Hammett story. It has some giggles and is surprisingly quite racy (for its time at least) compared to the far more famous 1941 John Huston/Humphrey Bogart version. But it is nowhere near as great. Still quite entertaining to watch though.
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