Re: RARA-AVIS: Spade falling in love

From: Patrick King (
Date: 09 Oct 2007

It's too bad the film of The Maltese Falcon is so
"perfect" as it stands. It could do with a remake without the restrictions of the Hayse office. In the book, when Guttman accuses someone of stealing $1000 from the $10,000 he's been tossing around, Spade forces Brigid to strip naked at gun point to prove she hasn't got the cash. In the movie, he just asks her and she tells him she hasn't got it with a shake of her head. This gives the false impression that Spade trusts her. The book removes all doubt on that score... and makes for a very lively scene as well. Obviously, you don't force a woman to strip naked in a roomfull of other men for the purpose of proving she's not a thief if you have a deep romantic attachment to her. Not unless you're both into some pretty unusual foreplay! Spade is playing Brigid from the moment she walks into the office. That's why Archer gets the case: he's not smart enough to see that there's more going on than a run-away sister. Spade's last classic speech to Brigid is ironic and sarcastic, because he's done to her what she's done to Thursby and Jacoby and who knows how many others. Throughout the novel, Spade uses people to his own ends: he plays the villians against each other; he uses the police by understanding their protocols, and again, plays one off the other. Sam Spade is an amoral man in an immoral world. The illusion that he can reform Brigid O'Shaunassy and make a life with her never once enters his head. He knows her for a psychopath from the very beginning.

Patrick King
--- Michael Robison <> wrote:

> Juri Nummelin wrote:
> I'm pretty much with William here: Sam Spade doesn't
> really fall in love with the broad. Maybe the film
> gives a wrong impression about the whole case.
> ***********
> My reading is that he does fall for her. The whole
> point of his long dialogue at the end was to explain
> that he refused to be ruled by his emotions and let
> a
> snake like her go. A major theme of the book is
> that
> Spade survives in a wicked world by not succumbing
> to
> sentiment. Succumbing to impulse and emotion
> invites
> doom.
> If you have the time, Juri, reread just the last 12
> pages of the book and see what you think afterwards.
> miker
> Boardwalk for $500? In 2007? Ha! Play Monopoly Here
> and Now (it's updated for today's economy) at Yahoo!
> Games.

      ____________________________________________________________________________________ Fussy? Opinionated? Impossible to please? Perfect. Join Yahoo!'s user panel and lay it on us.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 09 Oct 2007 EDT