The Maltese Falcon

Must-See Cinema! The greatest Hammett film adaptation!

Original poster art for John Huston's The Maltese FalconHumphrey Bogart’s most exciting role was Sam Spade, that ambiguous mixture of avarice and honour, sexuality and fear, who gave a new dimension to the detective genre. This film, the first directed by Huston, is an almost perfect visual equivalent of the Dashiell Hammett thriller. Huston used Hammett’s plot design and economical dialogue in a hard, precise directorial style that brings out the full viciousness of characters so ruthless and greedy that they become comic. It is (and this is rare in American films) a work of entertainment that is so skillfully constructed that after many years and many viewings it has the same brittle explosiveness – and even some of the same surprise – that it had in its first run.

– Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

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