Sardonic detective Shane, thrown out of one town for bringing trouble, heads for home and his ex-partner's detective agency. The business is in a sad way, and Shane, who has had the ... See full summary »
Nan, a racketeer's daughter, is in love with The Kid, a shooting gallery showman. Despite Nan's prodding, The Kid has no ambitions about joining the rackets and making enough money to ... See full summary »
During the campaign for reelection, the crooked politician Paul Madvig decides to clean up his past, refusing the support of the gangster Nick Varna and associating to the respectable ... See full summary »
Lou Ricarno is a smart guy. His plan is to organize the various gangs in Chicago so that the mugs will not liquidate each other. WIth the success of his leadership, Louie prospers, marries ... See full summary »
Conscript Fridolf and his sergeant, Göransson, both try to win the love of sweet Mary. According to an older relative's last will, she will inherit a fortune if she marries the unfortunate ... See full summary »
Sam Spade is quite the womanizer. When his secretary tells him the new customer waiting outside his office is a knockout, he wastes no time before seeing her. It turns out she's a knockout with money. And she wants to spend it on his services as a private detective. She has some story about wanting to protect her sister. Neither he nor his partner, Miles Archer, believes it. But with the money she's paying, who cares? The job proves to be more dangerous than either of them expected. It involves not just the lovely dame with the dangerous lies, but also the sweaty Casper Gutman, the fey Joel Cairo, and the thuggish young Wilmer Cook. Three crooks, and all of them are looking for the statuette of a black bird they call the Maltese Falcon. Written by
Despite the silent-to-talkie transition style, I liked this one better than the Bogart one. In fact, I think it exposes Bogart's counterfeit toughness (among other things, he was too short). Ricardo Cortez was a great choice. Perhaps George Raft might have been a better Sam Spade in the 1941 version. The similarity in dialogue between the two movies begs the issue of insufficient originality in the later version.
Comparing 1931 v 1941 characters, I think only Sydney Greenstreet provides a more interesting product. As the same (or similar) character, Alison Skipworth, as Madame Barabbas in Satan Met a Lady 1936, finishes second. From that same movie, Marie Wilson finishes second to Una Merkel as Effie, with 1941's Lee Patrick a distant third.
I like them all. I like the structure of the mystery. It reminds me (it's just me) a little of John Le Carre mysteries where, as in Tinker Tailor, the investigator knows the answer from the beginning.
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