The Black Bird (1975)

The Black Bird (1975)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Black Bird Photos

Movie Info

In this satirical sequel to The Maltese Falcon, Sam Spade Jr. inherits his father's detective agency in a seedy section of San Francisco. The ubiquitous Maltese Falcon surfaces once again. This time, Spade's friends and foes include femme fatales Anna and "Decoy Girl," historian Dr. Crippen, and midget villain Litvak.
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Columbia Pictures


George Segal
as Sam Spade Jr.
Stéphane Audran
as Anna Kemidov
Lionel Stander
as Gordon Immerman
Lee Patrick
as Effie
Felix Silla
as Litvak
Signe Hasso
as Dr. Crippen
John Abbott
as DuQuai
Connie Kreski
as Decoy Girl
Titus Napoleon
as Hawaiian Thug
Harry Kenoi
as Hawaiian Thug
Howard Jeffrey
as Kerkorian
Ken Swofford
as Brad McCormack
Vic Tayback
as Warren Finley
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Black Bird

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

The general tenor of the film shows a sentimental empathy for the original material with no heartless put-downs marring the work. There are lots of smiles, many chuckles, and a few strong laughs.

Full Review… | February 22, 2012
Top Critic

As a whole the movie fails to top the wry tone of Huston's classic or to produce a surprise denouement.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The Black Bird is an enchanting half-hour spoof of Humphrey Bogart and The Maltese Falcon. Too bad it lasts over an hour and a half.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Too bad it's not funny, just sentimental crap.

Full Review… | February 1, 2015
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

While there are a few laughs to be had, this is hardly a worthy tribute to the original.

Full Review… | May 24, 2003

Quote not available.

July 29, 2007
Echo Magazine

Audience Reviews for The Black Bird

A pretty funny sequel/spoof of Maltese Falcon, which was an interesting idea, but I think we could have done without it. Overall, it's okay.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

I hate Robert Rodriguez movies. Not that I really hate them, but they really drive me crazy, because there is so much good about them, but there's just something off that I can't quite put my finger on. A sense of timing, a sense of perportion...something like that. Anyhow, [size=5][b]Grindhouse[/b][/size] Directed by: Quinten Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez [img][/img] [size=4][b]Planet Terror[/b][/size] Directed by: Robert Rodriguez This film has the same basic problem of the other two Rodriguez films I've seen (Sin City and From Dusk Till Dawn). They have the pulpy goodness down pat, I love aspects of them...but they don't seem to appropriate sense of irony? The right pacing? Too much gore without context? A little bit of all these things? Or maybe none of them. Honestly, I can't quite put my finger on it, but all of them have the exact same problem, and all of them grate at me in ways that Tarentino, or other similar directors films, don't for me. Example: From Dusk Till Dawn is grating, John Carpenter's Vampires is not. I can't quite explain why. Anyhow, this movie references a ton of good cheesy films, and a bunch of good cheesy films that already reference good cheesy films, and it understands the conventions of the genres it's mixing very well. I loved that Michael Biehn was in it, and his character was great. There were a ton of moments in this film that I really loved...and a ton I wasn't crazy about either. The gore was occasionally cool, and occasionally just gross when it was suppose to be funny, and funny when it was suppose to be gross. It somehow missed the irony of the gore in similar films from the 70's, it seems to me. Or maybe not. Like I said, I can't quite put my finger on why this film didn't quite work for me, but it's the same reason that Sin City and From Dusk Till Dawn only worked moderately well for me. I'd be open to seeing this again, and it actually makes me want to see Sin City again, but there is something about Rodriguez's style that drives me batty even when I enjoy most aspects of his films. EDIT: Upon further reflaction, I think it what Rodriguez misses is an appropriate respect for the films he's spoofing. To him, he's spoofing bad films, and thus, his films are bad. Of course, that's not totally wrong, but it misses the point. It's possible to like a film because it's "So bad, it's good" sort of thing, but rarely is that really the case on films this side of Plan 9 From Outer Space (Who's main attraction is that it has no redeaming qualities whatsoever except for badness) What we often mean when we say that, is that we enjoy one or two elements of a film that are genuinely good, and that those good elements are in a way enhanced by the bad elements. An excellent example of this is Death Proof. Death Proof has nothing on Planet Terror in terms of cheesyness or cheap thrills, but it's got a solid core to it, some genuinely enjoyable and thoughtful elements on which to hang all of the rediculousness and craziness. Rodriguez misses that almost entirely, and thus, his films are vastly inferior. [size=4][i]6.5[/i][/size] [size=4][b]Death Proof[/b][/size] Directed by: Quinten Tarentino Even this film is a bit off in some ways, mostly because it's two movies by it's self, it seems to me. This is a car chase/crash movie and it's sequel. That said, I really enjoyed this one, especially the second part. The second part was flat-out mindblowingly good. Other then the tragedy of the destruction of a beautiful Dodge Challenger and an almost as beauful Dodge Charger, of which there are fewer and fewer, this film was just wicked fun. Kurt Russell was the perfect choice to play Stuntman Mike, and they got the tone and look of the film just right. I haven't seen any of the films they mentioned, but it did remind me a lot of car chases in movies like the original Walking Tall series and other similar films. The end also reminded me of Switchblade Sisters. This film was almost as harsh as Planet Terror, but it didn't grate at me in the same way. It isn't quite a masterpiece, but it's a lot of good fun in the QT tradition. [size=4][i]8.5 [/i][size=2]Having said that, I think some of my favorite parts of the movie was the parts before and in between the films. I am TOTALLY stoked to see Machete, it looked like my kind of exploitation film. I'm even willing to give Rodriguez another shot I loved the preview so much. I like Danny Trejo a ton anyway, so I can't wait to see it! Anyhow, overall, a fun, if flawed, experience. [size=4][i][b] 7.5 [/b][/i][size=2]Oh, and one I almost forgot: [size=5][b]The Black Bird[/b][/size] Directed by: David Giler [img][/img] Maybe I should have forgot anyway. This lackluster sequel/spoof to the immortal The Maltese Falcon just isn't that good. It has some funny moments, to be sure, but on the whole, it's just not that good. It's poorly paced, the jokes are only so-so, the acting is meh, it drags in spaces, and so on. I've seen worse, but I wish I wouldn't have wasted my time. [size=4][i]4.0 [/i][/size][/size][/size][/size][/size]

Cliff Smith
Cliff Smith

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