This third adaptation of the Dashiell Hammet novel is without a doubt the best.
Unlike most films based on books, the movie sticks closely to the novel’s plot. In fact, it is nearly a word-for-word re-creation.
The only two deviations that come readily to mind include the casting of Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade. In the novel, Spade is described as looking like a “blonde Satan.” Not a bit like Bogey!
The other is the Flitcraft Parable, a story within the story Spade tells Brigid O’Shaughnessy. Unfortunately, the parable’s existential bent goes right over Brigid’s head and digresses from the plot enough to make it extraneous from a filmmaking perspective.
The film is one of the great classic noir movies. You can feel the tension between Bogart and Mary Astor as Brigid.
Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, and Elijah Cook, Jr. play their respective roles to perfection. Their characters will do anything to get their hands on the titular prize – an enameled, jewel-encrusted bird statuette.
However, Spade is something of a hard case. One who can only be pushed so far.
The ambiguity of Spade’s allegiances is what makes the plot so memorable. Why is he looking for the Falcon? For Brigid? For money? And what about the one who killed his partner?
In the end, Spade gets what he wants – sorta.
I give this movie two thumbs up!
And one badass dame! 🙂