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first version of this-the maltese falcon
Meh version of Dashiell Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon". This was the second film version, but did precede John Huston's classic Humphrey Bogart version of the hard-boiled detective novel. In this version, private detective Ted Shane (the Sam Spade character) and his partner are hired by femme fetal Bette Davis to trail someone, but when his partner gets murdered while shadowing the mark, Shane learns that Davis is not who she seems and runs into a cast of characters all trying to get a priceless ram's horn (the Maltese Falcon MacGuffin here). What's so striking about this film is how badly it compares to Huston's far superior third retelling of the Hammett story. This version tries to be light and breezy and almost has more of a screwball comedy tone to it than a hard-boiled mystery. Warren William as the Sam Spade figure just seems ridiculous compared to Bogart, especially given his very silly looking wide brimmed hat (looking almost like The Shadow). If anything, this film made me appreciate how much Huston got right with his film.
It is no Maltese Falcon, but it was entertaining enough. Could have done without the offensive racial stereotypes toward the end though. Although movies of this era are inherently rife with these.
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.
A decent looking film.
This was Hollywood's second attempt to adapt Dashiell Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon", just right before John Huston's version. The plot is the same except for the fact that instead of a falcon, it's a horn filled with jewels and it's all played for laughs. This attempt at blending film noir and comedy has some good lines here and there and features an interesting performance by a young Bette Davis but it's ultimately a failure. An interesting failure but still a failure.
Since the 1931 "Maltese Falcon" had to be shelved due to its immoral content, 1936 gave a remake that made it heavier in comedy, made it more of a vehicle for Bette Davis more than the detective played by Warren William. Big mistake in that? I don't necessarily think so. Davis can carry things on her own, but ones expecting a Falcon will be absolutely surprised that it is not even a Falcon everyone is going for in this version!
Take "The Maltese Falcon" and make a farce out of it. This is the movie you'd get.
Warren William is much more interesting and funny to watch then Humphrey Bogart, but the rest of the cast and script isn't as well as the remake. Kind of all piles on at the very end.