Re: RARA-AVIS: Maltese Falcons on DVD

From: Mary Reagan (
Date: 02 Feb 2006

On 2/2/06, Brian Thornton <> wrote:
> Bill Denton wrote:
> > Here's something to look forward to: this year Warner Brothers will be
> > reissuing the 1941 movie version of THE MALTESE FALCON on DVD and
> > including the two earlier adaptations: THE MALTESE FALCON (1931, with
> > Ricardo Cortez as Spade) and SATAN MET A LADY (1936, with Bette Davis as
> > the Brigid character). I saw SATAN MET A LADY years ago but I've never
> > seen the first version.
> I saw them both on the same day on TCM a couple of years back. They both
> stank in completely different ways. The second one took way too many
> liberties with the plot, and the Spade character was this jaunty, cowboy
> hat
> wearing clown. Also, Davis was all wrong for the Brigid character, played
> it brassy all the way, which, as anyone who has read the book knows, is not
> how Brigid gets men to do her dirty work for her. I don't recall much
> about
> the Ricardo Cortez version plot-wise, because I was utterly distracted by
> the wooden acting of the less-than-stellar cast. On the other hand, it is
> entertaining to watch them, knowing what the story was in store for once
> Huston got his hands on in, first as screenwriter, then as director. Can
> it
> be possible that even at this late date, we underestimate the ability of
> John Huston as a director? Watch those three films together, and see how
> he
> frames a shot, the angles and lighting he chooses. I don't think budget
> has
> much to do with it. He was just a genuine student of the craft.
> Thanks for the head's up on this, Bill. I already own THE MALTESE FALCON
> on
> DVD, but I'm definitely going to keep my eyes peeled for this version.
> Brian Thornton

At Crime Scene in London last summer they had a panel on The Maltese Falcon that featured discussions of both the book and all the movies. Mark Billingham was one of the participants and it was fantastic.



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