16 January 2007

Noir In Its Best Colours - "The Maltese Falcon" (1941)

"Film-noir" had its most successful period in 40’s and 50’s. Why is it still important and respected? Because of the specific atmosphere, tangled dialogs and complex criminal plots. Films such as "Sin City" (200), based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel, prove that the genre is not used up yet.
Many movie stars appeared and built this genre. For example unforgettable personas like William Holden ("Sunset Blvd."), Orson Welles ("The Third Man"), Billy Wilder ("Double Indemnity") and Robert Mitchum ("Out of the Past"). Humphrey Bogart with his "Casablanca", "The Big Sleep", "Dark Passage" and finally "The Maltese Falcon" established himself as a number one in noir genre. He is also considered as an icon of American cinema. Playing smart, crafty, cynical characters always accompanied by a cigarette. Clever man with strong inner moral code who fights his way and goals against crooks, criminals, mobsters, police and suspected figure of any kind.
"The Maltese Falcon" is a typical crime, thriller, and detective story in one. High-tempo, rapid and nervous dialogs that blow away from the screen every minute, long raincoats, big hats, cigarette smoke, rooms covered with shadows and beautiful but treacherous women. This is the world of detective Sam Spade who feels in it like a fish in water. He can take a punch in a face and insults spat by thugs but at the end he will trick them all and bring his intentions to life.
John Huston’s picture is a masterpiece. Bogart’s character survived the test of time and is called cult now. Recognizable, popular, desirable and admired. Great films are not made by great budgets. It’s about actor’s faces and their voices, even if they remain silent.

Kaohsiung (13-11-2006)

"The Maltese Falcon" (1941), directed by John Huston, starring: Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet.

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