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3 versions of "The Maltese Falcon" tonight (June 7, 2013)


FredCDobbs
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The first one is from 1931 and is a strong pre-code, with lots of obvious vice in it.

 

In an early scene in Spade's office, just after some unknown dame leaves it, notice all the pillows scattered about and the other disaray of the furniture and even the pictures on the wall, and the whiskey bottle on the table in front of the sofa.

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In this first version, there is an important clue that is not in the Bogart version.

 

When Spade leaves the scene of the Archer murder, he briefly talks to a Chinaman who apparently was an eyewitness to the murder. We learn more about this in a newspaper headline late in the film.

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Note that much of the 3rd version (the Bogart version) is a scene by scene re-make of this film, and the characters such as Cairo and Gutman are played in the 3rd version just like the ones in this version, as if the screenwriter and director - and the actors - studied this version before making the 3rd version.

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Note that Miss Wonderly spends the night in Spade?s apartment, and in the morning BOTH pillows have the impressions of heads having been in them. I.E., Spade slept in that bed too.

 

I love Iva Archer's line, "Who is that dame wearing MY kimona?" And then Miss Wonderly takes it off as if it has cooties on it.

 

Otto Matieson, who played Dr. Cairo, died in a car wreck in Arizona a year after this film was made.

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The first version makes it clear why Gutman puts knock-out drops in Spade's drink, while the 3rd version does not.

 

In the first version, Gutman does it to steal back a thousand dollars from Spade. In the 3rd version, there is no reason given.

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....takes it off as if it has cooties on it......

 

...yes, I noticed that..she rolls it around her arm and then 'Throws' it..

 

Of course, it was a 'given' that Spade slept in the bed, we knew that when he said, "I'll sleep on the couch", you knew that was 'not' going to happen, no surprises there. :)

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}I think Bebe Daniels is a better Miss Wonderly than Mary Astor. Mary reminds me of an old maid school teacher, but Bebe seems really dangerous.

 

 

Boom-chaka-laka-laka! I agree 100%!!! In fact I think the female cast members in this version rock the house!

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After the trial, a newspaper headline says that a Chinese merchant, Fu Gow, was the only eyewitness to the Archer murder, so Spade knew all along that Miss Wonderly had killed Archer. Fu Gow was the Chinaman who talked to Spade at the scene of the murder.

 

All of this, and the closing scene in the jail, with Miss Wonderly behind bars, makes Sam Spade seem almost as bad as the crooks and murderers of the story. A big deviation from the Sherlock Holmes and other famous detectives of the era.

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I watched the first 15 minutes of it and then started recording it 'cause I left the house for a while.

 

As soon as the this next feature it over, City Streets, which I've never seen before either(looks pretty interesting so far), I'll watch the rest of the this version of The Maltese Falcon and let ya know what I think of it.

 

(...gotta say though, just from watching those first 15 minutes of it, I agree with you guys...the "dames" are MUCH hotter in THIS one than in the Bogie version..but then again, I've always had a mild little crush on cute little Una since I saw her years ago yelllin', "CALLAHAN! CALLAHAN" and cat-fightin' Frenchy in [/i]Destry Rides Again[/i] !!!) ;)

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> In the first version, Gutman does it to steal back a thousand dollars from Spade. In the 3rd version, there is no reason given.

 

I always figured it was to keep Spade from following them to the La Paloma. They could get the bird and leave the city.

 

Note that in the 1931 version, there's only one visit by Spade to Gutman. In the 1941 version it's split into two, with Spade stealing Wilmer's gun before entering Gutman's suite in the second visit, if memory serves. It would help explain why Wilmer had it in for Spade.

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Thanks everyone for the comments. :)

 

Later tonight is the 1941 Maltese Falcon, the famous one.

 

And at 4:30 in the morning, Eastern Time, is the 1936 Bette Davis version, SATAN MET A LADY. But this version has been changed all around and turned into a weak comedy-drama, with an older lady, Alison Skipworth, playing the Gutman role. Bette seems to be the only one in this film playing it straight, while the other actors ham it up.

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> {quote:title=twinkeee wrote:}{quote}Sam Spade seems almost as bad as the crooks..

>

> ..true, I did not like the ending, the way he laughed when he left the jail, as if he had '[put one over' on her...

.

 

Isn't that one of the keys to a good noir film ? That the good guys aren't much better than the bad guys ??

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You're right, Fred, Satan Met A Lady is a mess. It's almost like they said, "We did The Maltese Falcon just a few years ago. Let's use the same script, change the names of the characters and the title, and make it funny, and maybe people will plunk down their dimes thinking it is a new story." It's pretty horrible.

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You make a good point. True noir will be ambiguous and show that corruption overcomes good, before/during/after a Hollywood production code. Anyone who wants a traditional happy ending had better seek out musicals.

 

Personally, I am not crazy about the '31 version. I think it's trying to be a little too provocative for its own good as most pre-codes do. And as a feminist (oh, no, there's that word), I dislike the way all the women are chasing after a man who will sleep with anything, anyone, anytime. I would really like to see Molly Haskell present this film, not a male host who obviously may condone the unchecked sexual promiscuity of the lead character.

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>And as a feminist (oh, no, there's that word), I dislike the way all the women are chasing after a man who will sleep with anything, anyone, anytime.

 

I didn't see him chasing any women. They were chasing him. He tried to get rid of Iva and he put Miss Wonderly in prison.

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