RARA-AVIS: Re: Maltese Falcon screenplay

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 18 Mar 2008

On Mar 18, 2008, at 4:56 AM, rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com wrote:

> I saw the Ricardo Cortez version on TCM a couple of
> weeks ago, and it is faithful to the book. Cortez
> leering portrail of Sam Spade is more than a little
> hard to deal with and Gutman is horribly miscast, but
> the story sticks just as closely to the book as
> Huston's classic. The story aside, however, both
> directing and acting leave much to be desired in this
> earlier production.

Nonetheless, it impressed Huston enough that some of his scenes seem like exact rip-offs (uh, I mean homages), right down to how they were framed and the actors' gestures and emphasis.

It's been a few years since I watched the two back to back, but I remember being surprised by that.

Certainly, Huston had the better cast, but the original isn't without merit, especially when you consider what passed as standard hard- boiled P.I. fare at the (pre-Code) time. As for the leering, Spade was a dog, after all.

Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site 1998-2008 10 Years of P.I. Thrills

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