John Huston Peter Barnes - Essay

Peter Barnes

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The Maltese Falcon reveals John Huston's] style at its best—direct, analytic, and disciplined. This film succeeds brilliantly as a character thriller, but also, through its ruthless elimination of inessentials, gains an extra depth. All the characters are obsessed; their lives are devoted to one pursuit only, the acquisition of money (in the shape of the fabulous maltese falcon, "the stuff that dreams are made of"). The Maltese Falcon and, later, The Treasure of Sierra Madre show what film art can gain by a relentless concentration on two or three characters only: what might be called "observation in depth" rather than painting the usual broad but superficial canvas—"observation in breadth."...

(The entire section is 1058 words.)