Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Maltese Falcon screenplay

From: Patrick King (
Date: 20 Mar 2008

--- Dick Lochte <> wrote:

> Another point in the Cortez Falcon's favor is that
> it reflects the period in
> which the novel itself was set. Most of us tend to
> see the novel as a
> Forties piece because of the fame -- certainly
> justified -- of the Huston
> movie. My guess is the lounge lizard sleaziness of
> Cortez may even have been
> closer to Hammett's idea of Spade than Bogart's more
> rugged interpretation.
> I always had a problem with Bogart playing around
> with his partner's wife,
> but with Cortez, you kinda expect it.
***************************************************** I don't get that from the book. Spade is a tough, no bullshit guy who drinks wiskey and uses women when one's available. Hammett describes him physically on the first page and he could be describing Bogart. Archer's wife is throwing herself at Spade in the Huston version. Its played as though the affair is entirely her "fault." I get a similar feeling from the book. Spade is using Mrs. Archer because he has no respect for his partner. He never comes off as a Romeo. He apparently has a vibe that make women feel he'll protect them. He never lives up to this vibe and they all come away disappointed, even Effie, who's the only one he has any regard for. As to the time, it's not as important to THE MALTESE FALCON as it is to THE THIN MAN, much of which takes place in speakeasies. Outside of the quality of the film making, I don't get a specific temporal feel from the earlier version of the story.

Patrick King

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