Last modified on 2 May 2014, at 15:51

The Maltese Falcon (1941 film)

MainTitle2MaltFalc1941Trailer.jpg
Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade
Mary Astor as Brigid O'Shaughnessy
Gladys George as Iva Archer
Peter Lorre as Joel Cairo
Sydney Greenstreet as Kasper Gutman

The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 film noir about a San Francisco private detective and his dealings with three unscrupulous adventurers, all of whom are competing to obtain a jewel-encrusted falcon statuette. The film has been named as one of the greatest films of all time by Roger Ebert and Entertainment Weekly, was cited by Panorama du Film Noir Américain as the first major film noir, and was selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry in 1989.

Directed and written by John Huston, based on Dashiell Hammett's novel.

Sam SpadeEdit

  • We didn't exactly believe your story, Miss O'Shaughnessy; we believed your two hundred dollars...I mean, you paid us more than if you'd been telling us the truth, and enough more to make it all right.
  • My guess might be excellent or it might be crummy, but Mrs. Spade didn't raise any children dippy enough to make guesses in front of a district attorney, and an assistant district attorney, and a stenographer.
  • [to Cairo] When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it.

Kasper GutmanEdit

  • Well, Wilmer, I'm sorry indeed to lose you, but I want you to know I couldn't be fonder of you if you were my own son. Well, if you lose a son, it's possible to get another. There's only one Maltese falcon. When you're young, you simply don't understand these things.

DialogueEdit

Brigid: You've got to trust me, Mr. Spade. Oh, I'm so alone and afraid. I've got nobody to help me if you won't help me. Be generous, Mr. Spade. You're brave. You're strong. You can spare me some of that courage and strength surely. Help me, Mr. Spade. I need help so badly. I've no right to ask you, I know I haven't, but I do ask you. Help me.
Spade: You won't need much of anybody's help. You're good. It's chiefly your eyes, I think, and that throb you get in your voice when you say things like "Be generous, Mr. Spade."
Brigid: I deserve that. But the lie was in the way I said it. Not at all in what I said. It's my own fault if you can't believe me now.
Spade: [smiling] Now you are dangerous.

Spade: You, uh - you aren't exactly the sort of a person you pretend to be, are ya?
Brigid: I'm not sure I know exactly what you mean.
Spade: The schoolgirl manner, you know, blushing, stammering, and all that.
Brigid: I haven't lived a good life - I've been bad, worse than you could know.
Spade: That's good, because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we'd never get anywhere.
Brigid: I won't be innocent.
Spade: Good.

Brigid: It's more than I can ever offer you if I have to bid for your loyalty.
Spade: That's good coming from you. What have you ever given me beside money? Have you ever given me any of your confidence, any of the truth? Haven't you tried to buy my loyalty with money and nothing else?
Brigid: What else is there I can buy you with?
[Spade kisses her roughly]
Spade: I don't care what your secrets are. But I can't go ahead without more confidence in you than I've got now. You've got to convince me that you know what this is all about, that you aren't just fiddling around, hoping that it will all come out right in the end.

Spade: [smiling] You are a liar.
Brigid: I am. I've always been a liar.
Spade: Don't brag about it. Was there any truth at all in that yarn?
Brigid: Some...not very much...Oh, I'm - I'm so tired, so tired of lying and making up lies, not knowing what is a lie and what's the truth.

Spade: Let's go someplace where we can talk.
Cairo: No, no, no. Our private conversations have not been such that I'm anxious to continue them. Forgive my speaking so bluntly, but it is the truth.
Spade: You mean last night? What else could I do? I had to throw in with her. I don't know where the bird is and neither do you. She does. How are we gonna get it if I don't play along with her?
Cairo: You always have a very smooth explanation...
Spade: What do you want me to do - learn to stutter?

Gutman: We begin well, sir. I distrust a man who says "when". If he's got to be careful not to drink too much, it's because he's not to be trusted when he does. Well, sir, here's to plain speaking and clear understanding. [They drink.] You're a close-mouthed man.
Spade: No, I like to talk.
Gutman: Better and better. I distrust a close-mouthed man. He generally picks the wrong time to talk and says the wrong things. Talking's something you can't do judiciously unless you keep in practice. Now, sir, we'll talk if you like. I'll tell you right out - I'm a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk.
Spade: Swell. Will we talk about the black bird?
Gutman: [chuckling] You're the man for me, sir. No beating about the bush, right to the point. Let's talk about the black bird, by all means. But first, answer me a question. Are you here as Miss O'Shaughnessy's representative?
Spade: Well, there's nothing certain either way. It depends.
Gutman: It depends on? Maybe it depends on Joel Cairo.
Spade: Maybe.
Gutman: The question is, then, which you represent. It'll be one or the other.
Spade: I didn't say so.
Gutman: Who else is there?
Spade: There's me.
Gutman: Ah. That's wonderful sir, wonderful. I do like a man who tells you right out he's looking out for himself. Don't we all? I don't trust a man who says he's not.

Wilmer: Keep on riding me and they're gonna be picking iron out of your liver.
Spade: [laughs] The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.

Spade: Are you ready to make the first payment, and take the falcon off my hands?
[Gutman hands him an envelope of cash]
Spade: Ten thousand? We were talking about a lot more money than this.
Gutman: Yes sir, we were, but this is genuine coin of the realm. With a dollar of this, you can buy ten dollars of talk. And they're more of us to be taken care of now.
Spade: That may be, but I've got the falcon.
Cairo: You may have the falcon, but we certainly have you.

Spade: I'm in this up to my neck, Gutman. I've got to find somebody - a victim - when the time comes. If I don't, I'll be it. Let's give 'em the gunsel. He actually did shoot Thursby and Jacobi, didn't he? Anyway, he's made to order for the part, look at him. Let's give him to 'em.
Gutman: [laughing] By gad, sir, you are a character, that you are. There's never any telling what you'll say or do next, except that it's bound to be something astonishing.

Spade: If you kill me, how are you gonna get the bird? And if I know you can't afford to kill me, how are you gonna scare me into giving it to you?
Gutman: Well, sir, there are other means of persuasion besides killing and threatening to kill.
Spade: Yes, that's, that's true. But - they're none of 'em any good unless the threat of death is behind them - do you see what I mean? If you start something, I'll make it a matter of your having to kill me or call it off.
Gutman: [chuckling] That's an attitude, sir, that calls for the most delicate judgment on both sides. 'Cause as you know, sir, in the heat of action, men are likely to forget where their best interests lie and that their emotions carry them away.
Spade: Then the trick from my angle is to make my play strong enough to tie you up, but not make you mad enough to bump me off against your better judgment.
Gutman: By gad, sir, you are a character.
[Cairo whispers into Gutman's ear]
Spade: [To Wilmer] Six, two and even, they're selling you out, sonny. [To Gutman] I hope you're not letting yourself be influenced by the guns these pocket-edition desperados are waving around, because I've practiced taking guns away from these boys before so we'll have no trouble there.

Spade: Well, if you get a good break, you'll be out of Tehachapi in 20 years and you can come back to me then. I hope they don't hang you, precious, by that sweet neck...Yes, angel, I'm gonna send you over. The chances are you'll get off with life. That means if you're a good girl, you'll be out in 20 years. I'll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I'll always remember you.
Brigid: Don't, Sam. Don't say it even in fun. Ha, ha, ha. Oh, I was frightened for a minute. I really thought...You do such wild and unpredictable things.
Spade: Don't be silly. You're taking the fall.
Brigid: You've been playing with me. Just pretending you care to trap me like this. You didn't care at all. You don't love me!
Spade: I won't play the sap for you!
Brigid: Oh you know it's not like that. You can't say that.
Spade: You ever fight square with me for half an hour at a stretch since I've known you?
Brigid: You know down deep in your heart and in spite of anything I've done I love you.
Spade: I don't care who loves who! I won't play the sap for you. I won't walk in Thursby's - and I don't know how many other's - footsteps. You killed Miles and you're going over for it.
Brigid: How can you do this to me, Sam? Surely, Mr. Archer wasn't so much to you as... [crying]
Spade: When a man's partner's killed, he's supposed to do something about it. It doesn't make any difference what you thought of him, he was your partner, and you're supposed to do something about it. And it happens we're in the detective business. Well, when one of your organization gets killed, it's - it's bad business to let the killer get away with it. Bad all around. Bad for every detective everywhere.
Brigid: You don't expect me to think that these things you're saying are sufficient reasons for sending me to the...
Spade: [interrupting] Wait'll I'm through. Then you can talk. I've no earthly reason to think I can trust you, and, if I do this and get away with it, you'll have something on me that you can use whenever you want to. Since I've got something on you, I couldn't be sure that you wouldn't put a hole in me some day. All those are on one side. Maybe some of them are unimportant - I won't argue about that - but look at the number of them. And what have we got on the other side? All we've got is that maybe you love me and maybe I love you.
Brigid: You know whether you love me or not.
Spade: Maybe I do. Well, I'll have some rotten nights after I've sent you over, but that will pass. If all I've said doesn't mean anything to you, then forget it and we'll make it just this: I won't because all of me wants to, regardless of consequences, and because you counted on that with me the same as you counted on that with all the others. Don't be too sure I'm as crooked as I'm supposed to be. That sort of reputation might be good business, bringing high-priced jobs and making it easier to deal with the enemy, but a lot more money would have been one more item on your side of the scale.
Brigid: If you'd loved me, you wouldn't have needed any more on that side.

Polhaus: [lifting the fake falcon] It's heavy. What is it?
Spade: The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of.

TaglinesEdit

  • A story as explosive as his blazing automatics!
  • A guy without a conscience! A dame without a heart!
  • He's as fast on the draw as he is in the drawing room!
  • He's a Killer When He Hates!

CastEdit

External linksEdit