The Maltese Falcon
Thursday, December 25, 2014
“The stuff that dreams are made of”: Huston’s directorial bow, which cemented Humphrey Bogart’s stardom on the heels of the Huston-scripted High Sierra, was in fact the third screen treatment of Dashiell Hammett’s hard-boiled novel. Bogart is Sam Spade, the cynical but incorruptible private eye drawn into the search for “the black bird,” a jewel-studded avian statuette of incalculable worth. Rounding out the rogues’ gallery of pursuers are Mary Astor as femme fatale Brigid O’Shaughnessy, Elisha Cook Jr. as “Gunsel” Wilmer, and, in the first of many dastardly pairings, Peter Lorre as the shady Joel Cairo and Sydney Greenstreet, in his screen debut, as “The Fat Man” (a character so instantly iconic that his nickname was lent to the second atomic bomb).