The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

Finally! Better late than never, here is my triumphant return with a review of the Maltese Falcon. Expect the Art of the Trailer schedule to recommence in about a week, and I have some more good stuff on the way pronto. Enjoy 🙂

**Summer Film Challenge 2011**
Film:  Maltese Falcon
My Rating:  8/10

This film is blunt so I will strive to be also:  it is the epitome of Film Noir.  The “fight for my own cause” detective, the femme fatale, the mysterious gangsters and the more mysterious treasure.  I can fully see why it has sealed the title of the Perfect Noir film but I have a few issues with it.

First and foremost, let me start off by offending most of you: I have a new famous actor  to add to my “Can’t act” list – HUMPHREY BOGART.  He shows no emotion during any of his scenes.  He has the exact opposite problem of Daniel Radcliffe – I can tell he is processing the emotions of the characters but it is too buried in his eyes.  You can see that it is there but only just.  Maybe I should say that he can only act as one character, which isn’t much of an upgrade (Nicholas Cage, Keanu Reeves, etc).  It is the same roles and same non-emotional response we see in Sam Spade as is found in Rick Blaine of Casablanca.  You stop seeing the roles because you can’t stop seeing Humphrey Bogart, “that wonderful, classic actor”.  It really made it hard to enjoy the film. [In case you are wondering the other major figure of that list is the GREAT AND MIGHTY Orson Welles]

The second thing is the blistering pace of Film Noir.  It both makes the film work and can make it not work at all. In this case it did a little of both.  I enjoyed that the film kept moving and shifting, never giving you time to stop and figure it all out.  However, I did get a little lost towards the end.  Basically it is a trade-off that if you want that action pace you have to deal with some people losing the plot for a bit.  I am sure that a second viewing would help me understand it better.

And on that note I must clarify that I knew how it ended before I saw the film (Thanks AFI’s Top 100 Movie Quotes!) BUT it was still fun to get there.  I did enjoy watching Spade delve deeper and deeper into the mystery of the Falcon and the hunt for it.  It was fun to watch him get to the place of being in the thick of it all.

My only other note is that while Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet give excellent performances, Mary Astor never acted the way her character really was. Is she the coldhearted player she seemed to actually be or was she in reality the sweat girl caught up in it all?  Just like Bogart, I can tell that she (Astor) knows the answer but her performance doesn’t give me (the audience) any answers.  Really disappointing there.

Ultimately I would say that it was a good story that was marred by some rather mediocre acting.  The good performances balanced it out however so I will gladly give it an 8 out of 10. Glad to cross that of the list of movies to see.

Whelp! Thanks for sticking around. I know it took me forever to get this out and I thank you for my patience.  I just got really busy – my mom and I drove across country, I have been moving into my junior year of college, and I found this really weird device….from the future?  I don’t really know.  I will have to compile all of my notes and put them up on the blog soon…so be expecting that.  I also just finished Assassin’s Creed II!  So that review will be up very soon as well!  Finally the Art of the Trailer will return this Friday with my review of the teaser for the Hunger Games film!  Yeah!  Thanks all and check back soon for new content!

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Author: Tyler D. Welch

Filmmaker, Storyteller, Scholar

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