This is a terrific idea!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

This is a terrific idea!

Courtesy of m'daughter many miles away:

'The Maltese Falcon' Is Coming Back to Theaters

"Cinephiles, rejoice! Humphrey Bogart is returning to the big screen for the 75th anniversary of 'The Maltese Falcon.'

The John Huston noir will be playing on February 21 and 24 in more than 650 theaters across the nation to celebrate the milestone anniversary."

Perfect, the Diamond year of a gem of a film.

First Edition 'Maltese Faklcon'

It all starts with the book, of course, Dashiell Hammett's third novel first brought to the screen by director Roy Del Ruth the year following its 1930 publication.

The best known version, the third and the one being afforded a threatrical re-release next week, was made in 1941 by first time director John Huston.

(I dismiss the oddball 1936 "Satan Met a Lady" because it strayed so far from the source material it was utterly forgettable other than the fact that Alison Skipworth plays the Sydney Greenstreet role!)

Yeah, the 1941 film is the one universally hailed as a classic, but that is more for its enduring casting of Humphrey Bogart , Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Elisha Cook Jr. and, in his film debut at age 62, Greenstreet.

The strength of both films is that Del Ruth and Huston used Hammett's novel as a shooting script, and in that regard, the 1931 version is stronger as it was released prior to the strict enforcement of the censorious Production Code.

(i.e., While there was no actual nudity or profanity, it had numerous racy elements... which is why it wasn't re-released in 1935: the Hays Office wouldn't approve it.)

The very first time I saw the Bogey version was probably 1952 at the Midway on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills... because 90% of the movies on TV at the time were "B" Westerns, I was unaware that this was a re-release.

I admit that I didn't get it the way I'd gotten "Casablanca" several years earlier (in a Quonset hut movie house in White Center outside of Seattle), and it wasn't 'til later when I was reading the five Dashiell Hammett novels and saw it on TV when I realized how good it was.

Still, as much as I have a great affection for the original version with Ricardo Cortez as "Spade" for its more faithful rendering of the book, I'll make the trek to Stony Brook or Holtsville to see the re-release.

I'm confident that a glorious new print will have been struck for the occasion, #1, and, #2, I want to support a movie that is not based on a comic book from Marvel or DC!


1. Hampton West said...

Somewhere in my pile of DVD's I have the 1931 version - I'll have to drag it out and watch. Meanwhile the 1941 version is a true classic.

Agreed... but as good as she was under Huston's direction, I just never liked Mary Astor all that much.

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