The Maltese Falcon Establishes a New Style for Crime Films (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: Director John Huston’s faithful film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s hard-boiled detective novel became a classic in the film noir style, influencing filmmakers worldwide.
Summary of Event
The release of The Maltese Falcon in October of 1941 marked a turning point in the careers of three Americans: screenwriter and director John Huston, actor Humphrey Bogart, and novelist Dashiell Hammett. It also greatly boosted the careers of four other actors: Mary Astor, who played the compulsive liar and murderess Brigid O’Shaughnessy; Sydney Greenstreet, who delivered a spectacular performance as the jovial but sinister fat man, Caspar Gutman; Peter Lorre, a veteran film actor who was cast perfectly as the effeminate but dangerous Joel Cairo; and Elisha Cook, Jr., who played “the punk” responsible for the murders of Floyd Thursby and Captain Jacobi.
John Huston, best known up to that time as the son of prominent Hollywood star Walter Huston, had a checkered career before winning the opportunity to direct The Maltese Falcon. He had been working as a Hollywood screenwriter, and his experience as a writer proved invaluable to him during the rest of his life. He understood that the most important ingredient of a good film was the story.
Dashiell Hammett’s hard-boiled detective novel The Maltese Falcon (1929) had been made into motion pictures twice...
(The entire section is 2091 words.)
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