The Maltese Falcon & the Big Sleep. Two Hardboiled Novels Go Into Holltwood.

Topics: Humphrey Bogart, Sam Spade, The Maltese Falcon Pages: 25 (9869 words) Published: July 2, 2012
Take note that Prospero says "made on," not "made of," despite Humphrey Bogart's famous last line in the 1941 film The Maltese Falcon: "The stuff that dreams are made of." (Bogart suggested the line to director John Huston, but neither seems to have brushed up his Shakespeare.) Film buffs may think "made of" is the authentic phrase, but they're only dreaming.

(We are such stuff / As dreams are made on; and our little life / Is rounded with a sleep. [The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, 148–158]

: I think that there are some pretty significant differences between the : novel and the 1941 film, presumably largely caused by adherence to the : Hays Code. I am most disturbed by Spade's strip-search of Brigid : O'Shaunessy.

Cleaning up the language and scenes like that seem to make up most of the changes. One other different is Gutman's daughter, Rhea, who was dropped completely for the movie. In the book, just after Captain Jacobi stumbles into Spade's office, he gets a phone call, goes to Gutman's hotel, sees the daughter (who's been drugged and was sticking herself with pins to stay awake), and gets an address from her. He goes there, finds an empty house, searches it, and comes back knowing it was all misdirection. In the movie, Spade gets the phone call and is given an address, and when he goes there he finds it's an empty lot. He turns around and comes back. It's simpler, more efficient, and I think it works better. Gutman's daughter doesn't serve any purpose anywhere. One other difference is a matter of scene construction. At Spade's first meeting with Gutman, he smashes his glass and threatens Gutman, saying he's got to decide fast if he's in or out. In the book, the chapter ends with this. By God, you think, Spade's one tough hombre. The next chapter opens with Spade getting in the elevator, sweating, his hands shaking, wired up after putting on a show. In the movie, Spade walks out in the corridor, sees how badly his hands are shaking, laughs, goes to the elevator, and the scene ends. The difference casts the threat, and Spade's moxie, in a bit of a different light.

The first character that we read or see is Sam Spade. In the book he is written as being tall and lanky with blond hair, and a recurring v-motif that makes him out to be what Hammett describes as a "blond Satan." With these descriptions, we can easily make out a powerful image of what Sam Spade must look like in our heads. When we have an image of what something is going to be like and it turns out to not at all be what we expected, we are often let down, disappointed.This is due to the casting of Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade. His hair is brown, and his, round, soft face is the farthest a face can come from having a satanic v-motif. Although Humphrey Bogart's acting was very good, it was intruded by my perception of what Sam Spade was supposed to look like.

The precocious director Huston was very faithful to Dashiell Hammett's 1929 novel The Maltese Falcon, that had originally appeared as a five-part serialized story in a pulp fiction, detective story magazine publication named Black Mask. However, for an early preview audience, the film took a different, short-lived title, The Gent From Frisco. There were two major differences between the book and film: (1) Gutman was killed by Wilmer, and (2) the last quotable line of dialogue, with a Shakespearean reference, was thought up by Bogart on the set.

The third, and perhaps best known, version is The Maltese Falcon (1941), directed by John Huston, and starring Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, Jerome Cowan as Miles Archer, Lee Patrick as Effie Perine (the correct spelling from the book), Gladys George as Archer’s wife Iva, Mary Astor as Brigid O'Shaughnessy (the femme fatale, and the name used in the book), Peter Lorre as Joel Cairo (who is not titled Dr. in the book either), Sydney Greenstreet as Kasper Gutman (spelled with a C in the book), Elisha Cook Jr. as Wilmer Cook (also...
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