#8 of 501: The Maltese Falcon

Bogart didn't fire a gun in this movie
Bogart didn’t fire a gun in this movie

Last night Cindy and I watched The Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet, Elijah Cook Jr., and others (including the favorite of Cindy’s mom, Ward Bond [inside joke]). The movie was released in 1941 and is one that I watch every year or two. Cindy has seen it before as well, but agreed to watch it anyway. We both like the movie.

The movie script was based on a novel by Dashiell Hammett, adapted by John Huston. Huston also directed the movie.

I was surprised to learn (thank you Wikipedia) that there had been two previous movies of this story, one in 1931 and one in 1936.

As I said, we liked this movie. However, I do have one problem , and that is with Mary Astor’s acting. In my opinion, much of it is over the top. My real problem is that I haven’t seen many movies in which she had been, so I don’t know if this was par for the course or not. I think there are three possible reasons for her performance.

1) She is a bad actor. I believe that is unlikely since she had a starring role.

2) It was an acting decision that she made. If so, it was a bad decision.

3) This was the performance that John Huston wanted. I believe that it is the most likely reason for the performance.

One other complaint I have with th movie is the dialogue Mr. Huston puts in the mouth of Elijah Cook Jr’s. character, Wilmer. I haven’t read the novel, so I don’t know if Huston quoted directly from it, but I doubt it. All of the other characters have reasonably good dialogue, but not Wilmer.

So, I had two complaints. They aren’t major complaints, so I’ll watch the movie again in twelve to eighteen months.