Main character and ultimate cool guy Samuel Spade (Humprey Bogart) has an air about him that must be vigilantly followed from beginning to end. His dynamic personality makes him irresistible to women in any era, and idolized by men just the same. His unpredictability allows the audience to get lost in his story, and immediately we are obsessed to see how the story will unfold.
At first, there is not much complexity to this private eye. He and his partner seem nothing more than your average pair of cliché private eyes, willing to help any damsel in distress that throws cash their way. However, when Spade’s partner Archer (Jerome Cowan) is murdered in cold-blood, something in Sam’s demeanor is off. His partner just died, and he is oddly unemotional. He received the early morning phone call, and reacted as though he were called to the crime scene of a stranger. This particular lack of emotion begs the viewer to find out what exactly Det. Spade is up to.
As the story of the falcon begins to unravel, on opposing sides of this highly prized relic appears femme fatale Ms. Brigid O’Shaughnessy (Mary Astor) and Mr. Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre). The long, overcast shadows that seem to linger in their presence suggest that something odd is going on with both of these chara...
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...ut the frightening ease in which its characters fall to the power of the unattainable. They all seek to be in control, and fail miserably. When Sam answer’s the cops question about the maltese falcon, the answer is as haunting as Sam’s expression. He replies, full of insight, “It’s the stuff dreams are made of.” Every one of these criminals had acted on the idea of the falcon, only for it to turn out to be a fake. What’s truly being said for humanity is that we all fall under the ideals unspeakable fortune represents. Power corrupts. Money corrupts. But truth, now that’s something truly beautiful, something worth fighting for. Sam may have walked away broke, but he was rich with the knowledge he had brought his partner’s murderer to light. A thought he may take little comfort in on the loneliest of nights, sobbing in his tear-streaked glass of scotch, on the rocks.
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