Today! Because I couldn’t be fonder of you if you were my own son. But, well, if you lose a son, it’s possible to get another. There’s only one Maltese Falcon –
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Directed by John Huston
Starring Humphrey Bogart (x2), Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre (x2), Elisha Cook Jr. (x3), Gladys George, Ward Bond (x2), Barton MacLane, Lee Patrick, Jerome Cowan
I had a kick for a few years where I would buy people replica movie props as gifts. I don’t know why, it seems like kind of a cool idea, right? Like, you know someone is into a movie and you find some random junk an Etsy store threw together and boom! Box checked on that gift occasion! Got my wife a “Don’t Fuck with Mr. Zero” t-shirt that she never wears in public from this concept! But I think my favorite item I handed out in this weird stretch was a replica Falcon to my dad one Christmas, which came wrapped sort of like in the movie, and does look pretty authentic, to the grainy 1941 film anyway. It still awkwardly sits near the fireplace at my mom’s house, totally not going with any decor scheme attempted. I’m gonna recommend slapping a Santa hat on that guy next year – maybe that’ll help.
Based on the classic Dashiell Hammett novel, The Maltese Falcon is Bogart cool at its peak. At a stretch, he made Falcon, Casablanca, To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, Dark Passage, and Key Largo (with a bunch of lesser fare thrown in), cementing his iconic style of unflappable toughness and half-lisp mumbling. And sure, Casablanca is better, and also features Greenstreet and Lorre in very similar roles (They appeared in nine movies together! Greenstreet only made 23 films total in nine years working!), but Falcon has gritty, San Fran crime noir backstabbing at its core, with the most sought after treasure in history hypnotizing the entire criminal underworld.