8 comments on “The Maltese Falcon

  1. My review of this film was similar. I found the fast-talking a little hard to keep up with. It’s certainly not a favorite, but I do acknowledge that it has some skillful elements.

  2. my wife has zero tolerance for fast-talking 30s and 40s movies, so i have to watch them on my own. i was just thinking about the talking thing. back then, most folks walked down and took in one or two double features a week. most of the movies on offer emphasized dialog delivered on a set, and most in the audience also spent a lot of time listening to radio dramas. i did, for one, being a kid at the time. it occurs to me that that onscreen patter is a lot like the radio dialog. folks sat down in the theater and heard what they were used to hearing at home. had they been confronted with 60s method mumbling or modern taciturnity, they would have looked at each other in amazement.

    or maybe i’m generalizing.

    don’t know if you’ve seen “the big sleep,” but if not, it’s like “the maltese falcon” except that in the end, all the talking ends up making no sense whatever, due to script and producton difficulties when the movie was made.

    • Very good point about the radio dialogue. People try to do that quick, sharp dialogue in movies today and it never works quite as well as it did back then. I do rate The Big Sleep above Maltese Falcon, mostly because of the writing. Hawks, Faulker, Furthman and Brackett, can’t beat that. Plus, Hawks was a master by that point as a director, and Huston was just starting. Plus there’s Bogart and Bacall. Plus, the plot doesn’t completely make sense, so you don’t have to worry about it.

  3. Well, I like the movie quite a lot (though I do need to see it again to evaluate the idea that it’s too talky — could be true). It’s not quite as satisfying as the book, but the book is pretty great. Of course, Hammett would never have ended a story with a line as sappy as “The stuff that dreams are made of,” but pretty much everything else in there is directly from the book (somewhat cleaned up, of course).

  4. Your opinion is felt by many other people. I often see The Maltese Falcon popping up on Most Overrated movie lists. I like it, though not nearly as much as its classic status dictates that I should. But my problem with it is the lack of action, not the fast talking. I like fast talking.

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