The Maltese Falcon

Director: John Huston

Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Gladys George, Lee Patrick, Barton MacLane, Elisha Cook, Jr., Ward Bond, Jerome Cowan, James Burke, Murray Alper, John Hamilton, Creighton Hale, Walter Huston, William Hopper, Charles Drake, Robert Homans

Miss Wonderly (Astor) walks into the office of San Francisco detectives Sam Spade (Bogart) and Miles Archer (Cowan) and engages them to rescue her young sister from a dangerous man called Floyd Thursby. Archer agrees to be at the hotel lobby where Miss Wonderly has agreed to meet Thursby, and to follow him to find and rescue the young sister. That night Sam Spade gets a call from the Police, telling him that Archer has been found dead. Spade calls his secretary, Effie Perine (Patrick), and tells her to break the news to Archer’s wife, Iva (Gladys George). Spade learns from Detective Tom Polhaus (Bond) that Archer was shot at close range by someone facing him. He was not robbed and had not drawn his gun. Spade tells the Police about Archer shadowing Thursby, but not about Miss Wonderly. He tries to telephone her, but learns she has checked out of her hotel. The Police turn up later at Spade’s apartment. Thursby has been found dead, shot four times, and they suspect Spade. The next day at his office, Effie tells Spade that Iva is there to see him. Iva is not so much distraught at Miles’ death as at the thought that Sam may have killed him, since she and Sam had been having an affair. Spade manages to send Iva away just in time to receive a phone call from Miss Wonderly, who is staying at an apartment under the name “Miss LeBlanc.” When Spade meets her, she tells him that her real name is Brigid O’Shaughnessy, that she made up the story about her sister. She had wanted Thursby followed because she was afraid of him, having earlier enlisted his help in the Orient as protection in a dangerous situation. Brigid asks for Spade’s help, but remains vague about the exact nature of the problem she faces. Although attracted to her, he is aware of her deceits. Back at Spade’s office, Effie announces the arrival of a new client, Joel Cairo (Lorre). Cairo says that he is interested in the recovery of a missing ornament, a figure of a bird, that may be connected to the unfortunate deaths of Archer and Thursby. Cairo thinks Spade may have the statuette. Dodging Police questions about the two murders, Spade arranges a meeting between Brigid and Cairo, and learns that they are both past associates of someone they call the Fat Man. They obtained the statuette in Istanbul, and although neither of them has it, Brigid thinks she can get hold of it soon. It is from the Fat Man, Kasper Gutman (Greenstreet), that Spade learns that the figurine they are all after is a priceless jewel-encrusted falcon crafted in Malta in the sixteenth century by the Knights Hospitalers. Spade must solve the two murders before the Police pin them on him, and he must find the falcon without becoming a victim of the greedy villains that covet it. Based on the Dashiell Hammett novel of the same name.

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