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NOIR: The Maltese Falcon

(Rated PG)

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"The stuff that dreams are made of..."

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San Francisco private detectives Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) and Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) are hired by Ruth Wonderly (Mary Astor). Wonderly wants the duo to track down her sister, who has gone missing after being involved with a man named Floyd Thursby. Within a day, Archer has been murdered, as well as Thursby. Lots of double-crossing and intrigue emerge, centered around a mysterious, diamond encrusted figurine of a bird – the Maltese Falcon, which Spade is offered $5,000 to find by Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre). This 1941 film is regarded by many as the first great film noir, based on a Dashiell Hammett story serialised in the 1929 pulp magazine Black Mask.

Why You Should See This Film

Hammett is regarded as one of the finest writers of hardboiled fiction and Sam Spade his crowning creation – a major influence on Raymond Chandler’s later creation Philip Marlowe). Bogart and Lorre’s portrayals were so unique and characterful, they’ve been spoofed, referenced, and riffed on for decades since in cartoons and comic impersonations. The directorial debut from legendary writer/director (and father to Anjelica) John Huston (The African Queen, Night of the Iguana), The Maltese Falcon is an indisputable classic. Don't believe us? The film's titular statuette prop went for $4 million in a 2013 auction, one of the most expensive pieces of movie memorabilia ever sold.

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Session Times

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  • Year: 1941
  • Rating: PG
  • Director: John Huston
  • Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre
  • Duration: 100 minutes
  • Language: English
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