The Maltese Falcon (1941)

I watched “The Maltese Falcon” just before the class started and this week watched the other 2 versions and read the book. I found four different versions a little hard to sort out at first but overall I decided on The Maltese Falcon” and “Satan Met a Lady” for comparison.

I really enjoyed watching Bogart. It might be the first Bogart movie I´ve seen. I liked the way he (and that adaptation) gave Sam Spade some character and dignity, things I felt he didn´t have much of in the book or “Satan Met a Lady”. I am also becoming a big Lorie fan. His characters are always so humorous or eccentric and without being over the top or offensive.

Same Spade overall is a character I only really like in “The Maltese Falcon” over the book and “Satan Met a Lady” by far. As soon as I saw him in “Satan Met a Lady” I started to compare him to “The Music Man” ( I had the musicals class last term). He came across as a manipulative, disrespecting con artist. Though when things got real, he pulled himself together just enough to help himself to $100k, “solve a crime” and get himself a girl that didn´t challenge him. Although it should have been mentioned earlier in the film, Valerie Purvis yells that Spade”only likes women who aren’t as smart as him, and once he finally meets someone smarter, he’ll probably marry her” (in the last scene). Had this subject been a sub plot in the film, some sort of inner battle with his sleazy self, I may have liked that adaptation more. I did like the character of the old woman crime boss more than the old man in “The Maltese Falcon” but I equally appreciated the underrated crime boss sidekick in both films. He worked as sort of a catalyst for Spade´s inner bully, bringing out a side of him he couldn´t help but indulge.

Overall the characters in both films were great except for the inherit personality traits of Sam Spade via “Satan Met a Lady”. He may have more accurately matched the book but not everything is done right the first time. Not even in a book.

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