THE MALTESE FALCON (1930) set the standard by which the private eye genre is judged. Sam Spade is hired by the fragrant Miss Wonderley to track down ...Show synopsisTHE MALTESE FALCON (1930) set the standard by which the private eye genre is judged. Sam Spade is hired by the fragrant Miss Wonderley to track down her sister, who has eloped with a louse called Floyd Thursby. But Miss Wonderley is in fact the beautiful and treacherous Brigid O'Shaughnessy, and when Spade's partner Miles Archer is shot while on Thursby's trail, Spade finds himself both hunter and hunted: can he track down the jewel-encrusted bird, a treasure worth killing for, before the Fat Man finds him?Hide synopsis
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Anyone wanting to read the definitive private detective novel,this is the book for you.Even if you have seen Humphry Bogart as Sam Spade in the movie or not,this story is a great tale of greed ,murder,and "The stuff dreams are made of". San Francisco in the 40's, with some of the greatest dialog ever written,will keep you glued to the page.
Read 'The Maltese Falcon.' Watch the Bogart movie. Read the book again. One thing that should strike you is the fact that there is scarcely one spare word in either creation. Working with Hammett's book in one hand, John Huston must have slapped his screenplay together in about 30 minutes.
Hammett's 'Falcon' is tight as a drumhead. The characters are not drawn but chiseled. The action is as fast as any speeding bullet. Every word of dialog sparks blue and crackles with electricity while it speeds things along. Nothing is wasted. 'The Maltese Falcon' is lean and mean, 100 percent nonfat.
Chandler's Marlowe is more cerebral. Every once in a while he even notices what somebody is wearing. In recent memory, only Gus Hasford's Dowdy Lewis is so hard, so fast, so smooth, and cracks so wise. Hammett's Spade, by contrast, doesn't horse around. He just walks into the room and goes for the throat.
Philosophical issues are fun to ponder. It's nice to be able to think about big issues when, every once in a while, one gets the chance. That's the stuff that typically wins prizes in literary circles, and that's as things should be. Even so, anybody can write a good, hard-boiled dick deserves (and gets) my respect.
Dashiell Hammett gave us Sam Spade, and there are none better anywhere. Read 'The Maltese Falcon.' You will never be sorry.
In Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, detective Sam Spade is taller and bulkier than Humphrey Bogart in John Huston's movie version, but otherwise Hammett's versions of Brigid O'Shaughnessy, the fat man Gutman, the perfumed Joel Cairo, and the boy gangster seem right out of central casting. O'Shaughnessy is a duplicitous femme fatale, while Spade is almost diabolically knowing about the depredations of the human character. There is nothing these characters will not do to obtain "the black bird." Spade's violence is often nasty, and the portraits of O'Shaughnessy and Cairo may not always suit our easily offended modern sensibility, but one imagines that this is how a character like Spade would think. In all ways, deservedly a compelling classic of the genre.
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