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The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Humphrey Bogart , Mary Astor , John Huston  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (470 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre, Barton MacLane
  • Directors: John Huston
  • Writers: John Huston, Dashiell Hammett
  • Producers: Hal B. Wallis, Henry Blanke
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Special Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 15, 2000
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (470 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305729328
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,489 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Maltese Falcon" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Documentary: Becoming Attractions: The Trailers of Humphrey Bogart, a documentary look at Bogart's Warner Bros. career through trailers of his films, hosted by Turner Classic Movies' On-Air Personality Robert Osborne
  • 2 Theatrical Trailers
  • A History of Mystery Essay

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

This special edition contains trailers and a 45-minute documentary look at Bogart's Warner Bros. career. Becoming Attractions: The Trailers of Humphrey Bogart is hosted by Robert Osborne.

Product Description

Sam Spade is caught in a frantic search for the jeweled falcon of Malta and his partner's killer. His pursuit leads him to a group of desperate individuals who also want the bird.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
183 of 199 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warner Bros. does it yet again. March 24, 2007
Format:DVD
Again, Warner Bros. continues to rival other studios with their DVD releases of their classic movies. This time, they've pulled out all the stops for the 1941 version of The Maltese Falcon, the film that practically invented the film noir genre. Although not as packed with bonus materials like some of their other previous Special Edition, they've still put enough material on here to use THREE discs. The set contains a cardboard slipcase packaging two slim DVD cases. Disc 1 is contained in the first case, and the second case contains discs 2 and 3. I won't go into detail on the movie, because I'm here to review the product itself, not the movie.

The first disc contains the 1941 film noir classic, with a newly restored digital transfer. Digital artifacting is minimal if existent. Some film artifacting, such as occasional slight shakiness is present, but for the most part, the transfer is clean and free from flaws. The audio is presented in its glorious original mono mix, which has been cleaned up for this new transfer. An audio commentary is included, but I have yet to listen to it. Also included is a bonus called Warner Night At The Movies, which allows you to view a gallery of short subjects before The Maltese Falcon - the way you would have in 1941. The short subjects included are informative and/or entertaining and even include a couple of short cartoons. But the restored movie is, of course, the main attraction - and what an attraction!

Disc 2 contains a nice surprise - the first two film versions of The Maltese Falcon! The first one is the pre-code 1931 version starring Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade and Bebe Daniels as Ruth Wonderly. Although this first version is very similar to the 1941 version, it contains a bit more sexual innuendo and suggestive scenes.
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61 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have! May 17, 2000
Format:DVD
Sometimes with a movie everything turns out right. That was the case with this 1941 classic. John Huston's driectorial debut is a masterpiece of film noir, featuring a great performance by Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade. Actually, the entire cast is fantastic from top to bottom, with standout performances from Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. The story is a classic tale of greed, murder, and manipulation with some surprising plot twists (surprising if you haven't seen it already). THE MALTESE FALCON is one of those movies that you can watch over and over and find something new each time. The picture and sound quality are actually quite good for a film from 1941 as any flaws are minor and inconsequential. The DVD also features the original theatrical trailer, plus a special feature on trailers from Humphrey Bogart movies. This truly is a must-have! Add this DVD to your collection; you will be glad that you did!
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The original 1931 version is really good, too! May 6, 2008
Format:DVD
The three-disc special edition of the 1941 version of The Maltese Falcon contains some very interesting bonus features: the two previous adaptations of Dashiell Hammett's novel, the first also called The Maltese Falcon (though it was renamed Dangerous Female for TV in the '50s to avoid confusion), and the second titled Satan Met a Lady.

Since the 1941 version (directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet, and Peter Lorre) is the one considered "definitive," it's not surprising that relatively few viewers realize that was actually Hollywood's third adaptation of Hammett's classic detective novel.

Satan Met a Lady (directed by William Dieterle and starring Bette Davis and Warren William), is by all accounts a disaster (a very loose adaptation by screenwriter Brown Holmes, who co-wrote this version), but the first Maltese Falcon, filmed in 1931 by director Roy del Ruth, is a terrific alternative for viewers who love the story and would just like to watch a different take on it. (Both films are faithful to the source, with few changes.)

The main difference in tone comes from Ricardo Cortez's portrayal of Sam Spade. Cortez's Spade is much more of a ladies man than Bogart's. In fact, the opening scene of the movie shows a woman leaving Spade's office, adjusting her stockings (later, he is shown picking up sofa cushions from the floor). His roving eye (and hand) also includes his secretary, Effie. Una Merkel plays Effie as if she's not only a willing participant in these shenanigans, but is also quite aware of Spade's other dalliances -- including partner Miles Archer's wife Iva (Thelma Todd) -- and thinks it's funny.

That lightness extends to Cortez, as well.
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282 of 341 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warners Doesn't Do It Again February 21, 2000
Format:DVD
Warner Brothers has one of the greatest film catalogs of any studio; yet they don't appear to take their DVD issues very seriously. Who on earth would put "Goodfellas" on two sides of a disc? or not release the "Director's Cut" version of "Eyes Wide Shut" (imagine the added revenue if they had)? or release a slapdash collection of Kubrick's films? or almost never digitally enhance the audio or visual transfer or provide any significant extras? Compared to the deluxe packages that Universal, Criterion, and, even, Paramount has mustered, Warners' issues - all released in cheap and easily breakable snap cases - are a peculiar desecration of a vaunted film legacy.
Case in point: "The Maltese Falcon". Arguably the greatest detective film ever made, Warners at least releases it with a decent video transfer. Unfortunately, the audio synchronizing is off during the last 15 minutes of the movie (by a second but it's still noticable) and I wasn't able to access all the people on the "Cast and Crew" menu (no, it wasn't a machine error, as I tested on several discs thereafter). Moreover, although I enjoyed the "Trailers of Humphrey Bogart" section, it would have been nice if Warners spent the money to create a documentary history of the film the way they did on Universal's "Casablanca" release.
Much ink has been spilt praising "The Maltese Falcon" so I won't go into any panegyrics here. It's just a shame that Warners doesn't take this market seriously enough to put more care into the DVD releases of their finest films.
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hilarious parody of this movie-The Maltese Falcon!
The Cheap Detective.
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