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mdtinney's Movie Reviews (315)

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Maltese Falcon, The (1941) 
Fantastic Film Noir!!!
3.5/4 stars

I wish film were so pure these days. This is a simple (on the surface) murder case which when looked at, has multiple layers of deceit and deception. The "bird" itself carries a curse, but where is the bird--is there really a bird? Those who hunt for it form a tenuous bond, devoting their very existences to the search. Bogart stumbles into the case, the lonely, baggage carrying private eye--intrepid to the bitter end. A man not to be bought. Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre, multidimensional bad guys--Mary Astor--cool--confident--certain her charms will out. Everyone knows what happens. Comic relief comes in the form of Elisha Cook, the gunsel, overconfident and violent, and in way over his head. This is no longer a movie to me. It's a series of memorable lines, facial expressions and reactions, tension, and tears. Is Sam Spade the friend of the police or an adversary? Do they resent his skills or just him. Does he have a shady past? Miles, his partner, is a fool to Spade, but he is his partner and that is enough. He must play this straight so he can sleep at night. The whole thing is pure atmosphere. Shades of gray. The film noir. Quick feints and moves of a fighter. This is one of those pieces of film heritage which will never grow old.


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