The Maltese Falcon [Blu-Ray] John Huston

The Maltese Falcon [Blu-Ray] John Huston
While notable mostly for its introduction of the indelibly cool Humphrey Bogart to the world of film noir, with nascent director John Huston foreshadowing a career-long trajectory of faithful literary adaptations, this version of The Maltese Falcon was actually the third studio attempt to adapt Dashiell Hammett's novel. The previous entries modified much of the original text, going for a more comedic tone, even venturing so far as to replace the titular falcon with a horn in Bette Davis vehicle Satan Met a Lady. What Huston did was introduce an antihero to the American studio lexicon ― a hardboiled detective, in the form of Sam Spade (Bogart) ― asking audiences to embrace a protagonist with a more pragmatic, cynical worldview. His turbulent quest to find the eponymous statue following the death of his partner on a routine tail forces him to encounter an unscrupulous femme fatale using the pseudonym Ruth Wonderly (Mary Astor), the effeminate and erratic Tony Cairo (Peter Lorre), and his corpulent, collector acquaintance Kasper Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet). More lightweight and accessible than the darker pulp movies that followed, the shadowy aesthetic, use of low shots and consistency in duplicitous motivations characterize it as the predecessor of the genre already popular in novel form. Having self-awareness in its contrived disposition, acknowledging within the rapidly paced tête-à-têtes that of affected character, Bogart's popular, calm, omniscient image projection is also one that would get him killed were these events to literally unfold. It's a world construct where safety and security are directly related to consistency of effigy. Included with this Blu-Ray release are an abundance of supplements, which aren't always relevant or insightful, including a commentary track with a Bogart biographer and a featurette titled "The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird," which examines the history of the story and its many interpretations. There is also a studio blooper reel, makeup tests and radio show (audio-only) adaptations of the novel, along with some random newsreels, cartoons and an irrelevant short for The Gay Parisian, which is essentially a bunch of French people dancing. (Warner)