Generally regarded as the first example of film noir, The Maltese Falcon is a slick and engaging thriller set in San Fransisco. The low key lighting and interesting camera angles add to a thrilling story which focuses on the search for a 16th Century statue. The valuable gold statue was stolen long ago and has been hunted for years. Its location has finally been tracked to California where several people are working to discover its exact location. Private Detective Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) becomes entangled in the search along with three unscrupulous hunters, each of whom is out to outsmart and outwit the others. With several murders on the books and a number of motives and suspects, Spade is tasked with not only helping to solve the mysteries but also clearing his own name.
I’d been looking forward to watching The Maltese Falcon for a long time and had long heard about how good it was. I’m sad to report then that the movie failed to live up to my raised expectations despite some genuinely inventive story and film making craft. Although I wasn’t as disappointed as when I watched a couple of other classics (Vertigo), I failed to be entranced by the movie and wavered between gripped astonishment, dull boredom and everywhere in between.