NOIRVEMBER Day 7 – FILM REVIEW – The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Noirvember Day 7I cannot go through Noirvember and not write about one of my favourite films. Not just noir films, but films in general. So here goes!

A guy without a conscience! A dame without a heart!

It is tough to summarize the plot of “The Maltese Falcon”. The film’s protagonist is a private detective, Sam Spade. He is hired to handle a simple case for a Miss Wonderly. He quickly finds himself in the middle of a complicated intrigue, full of betrayal and murders perpetrated by adventurers obsessed with finding a legendary precious figurine.

Released in 1941, “The Maltese Falcon” was not the first adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s novel The novel, which to this day is a hard-boiled classic, originally appeared in parts in pulp magazine “Black Mask” in 1929. Hammett’s style of writing was an influence for many other crime writers, such as Raymond Chandler, John Le Carré or Sara Paretsky. Hammett was one of the first to take the “crime” part of whodunit novels and place it on the streets. Gone were the closed spaces, train compartments, drawing rooms of Agatha Christie stories. Due to its popularity, the novel was quickly adapted into a movie in 1931, which achieved moderate success. The second, more comedic adaptation (“Satan Met A Lady”, 1936) received even poorer reviews despite having Bette Davies in it. But the third time’s a charm! At first the 1941 film was planned simply as a remake of the first adaptation. Soon after its release, this version became the most popular one, thanks to great casting and production.

The stuff that dreams are made of

“The Maltese Falcon” was the movie that put writer-director John Huston on the Hollywood map. It showcased Humphrey Bogart’s talent and proved he could be a successful leading man. Although it’s clearly Bogart’s feature, the supporting cast is wonderful as well. Mary Astor is convincing as the innocent but dangerous Brigid O’Shaughnessy. Peter Lorre plays the sleazy, effeminate Joel Cairo. The others – Sydney Greenstreet, Lee Patrick, Jerome Cowan, Gladys George – are great too. They brilliantly transferred their novel characters to the silver screen. In fact, the chemistry between Bogart, Lorre and Greenstreet was so impressive that they appeared together in two more movies (“Casablanca” and “Passage to Marseille”).

The influence of “The Maltese Falcon” on the following movies is undeniable. The archetype of private detective was forever changed with the antiheroic, cynical Sam Spade. Bogart’s delivery of the dialogue became iconic. The visual style was a result of Huston combining elements of German expressionism with classic Hollywood techniques. The interplay of light and shadows matches the dark plots and shady characters.

What I really, really like about this movie is how seamless it seems. There are no unnecessary shots, no extra scenes. This is impressive, considering it was Huston’s first full-length film. The story is that he prepared for it meticulously, planning the shoots with sketches and instructions for camera setup. As a result, the final version of the movie retains almost all dialogue from the original shots. Of course, some elements from the original novel had to be removed due to the restrictions of the Hays Code. Nevertheless, it’s really no wonder that, like “Double Indemnity”, the U.S. Library of Congress deemed the movie “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”, and thus selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1989.

Should you watch it?

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Since it’s my first time participating in Noirvember, all the movies I’m recommending are real classics, so if you are unfamiliar with film noir, I highly recommend you watch the ones I’m going to write about this month. And don’t forget that you can watch “The Maltese Falcon” on Netflix!

NOIRVEMBER Day 6 – My Favourite Film Noir Quotes

Noirvember Day 6 - film noir quotes

Hello lovelies! In today’s Noirvember post I want to talk about my favourite quotes from noir movies!

I think witty writing is an essential element of good film noir. Due to the constraints of the Hays Code, scriptwriters had to be inventive in showing the dubious morality of their characters.

The Big Sleep (1946)

Vivian, not talking about horses: “Speaking of horses, I like to play them myself. But I like to see them work out a little first, see if they’re front runners or come from behind, find out what their whole card is, what makes them run.”

Philip Marlowe: “Find out mine?”

Vivian: “I think so.”

Marlowe: “Go ahead.”

Vivian: “I’d say you don’t like to be rated. You like to get out in front, open up a little lead, take a little breather in the backstretch, and then come home free.”

Marlowe: “You don’t like to be rated yourself.”

Vivian: “I haven’t met anyone yet that can do it. Any suggestions?”

Marlowe: “Well, I can’t tell till I’ve seen you over a distance of ground. You’ve got a touch of class, but I don’t know how far you can go.”

Vivian: “A lot depends on who’s in the saddle.”

 

Double Indemnity (1944)

Phyllis Dietrichson, at their first meeting: “There’s a speed limit in this state, Mr. Neff. Forty-five miles an hour.”

Walter Neff: “How fast was I going, officer?”

Phyllis: “I’d say around 90.”

Neff: “Suppose you get down off your motorcycle and give me a ticket.”

Phyllis: “Suppose I let you off with a warning this time”

Neff: “Suppose it doesn’t take.”

Phyllis: “Suppose I have to whack you over the knuckles.”

Neff: “Suppose I bust out crying and put my head on your shoulder.”

Phyllis: “Suppose you try putting it on my husband’s shoulder.”

Neff: “That tears it.”

 

Murder, My Sweet (1944)

“Okay Marlowe,” I said to myself, ‘You’re a tough guy. You’ve been sapped twice, choked, beaten silly with a gun, shot in the arm until you’re crazy as a couple of waltzing mice. Now let’s see you do something really tough—like putting your pants on.”

 

Out of the Past (1947)

Jeff: “That’s not the way to win.”

Kathie: “Is there a way to win?”

Jeff: “There’s a way to lose more slowly.”

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

“We didn’t exactly believe your story, Miss O’Shaughnessy. We believed your two hundred dollars. I mean, you paid us more than if you’d been telling us the truth, and enough more to make it all right.”

Do you have your favourite quotes from movies? Maybe you’ve even used them in real life? Tell me in the comments!

Happy Noirvember!

NOIRVEMBER Day 4 – Moving pictures

noirvember
Well, hello there! Are you enjoying Noirvember so far? Have you watched any noir films yet?

Since I plan on infecting all of you with my love of film noir, today I decided to share a collection of my favourite gifs from noir films. Because everyone needs a good reaction gif, and these old movies are absolutely full of wonderful shots!

Rita Hayworth in “Gilda” (1946) gif by mattsko.wordpress.com

“Gilda” is actually full of really good shots, but I think this one fits as a reaction gif best 🙂

Paul Valentine in “Out of the Past” (Tourneur, 1947) gif by littleplasticthings.tumblr.com

Humphrey Bogart in “The Maltese Falcon” (Huston, 1941) gif by bellecs.tumblr.com

Dick Powell in “Murder, My Sweet” (Dmytryk, 1944) gif by ??? (if you recognize the author, please let me know!)

Lauren Bacall in “???” gif by rphelper.tumblr.com

Barbara Stanwyck in “Double Indemnity” (Wilder, 1945) gif by charlottecamillevale.tumblr.com

Humphrey Bogart in “The Big Sleep” (Hawkes, 1946) gif by ??? (if you recognize the author, please let me know!)

This might also be my favourite quote from the movie!

Gloria Grahame in “The Big Heat” (Lang, 1953) gif by filmnerdsunite.wordpress.com

Rita Hayworth in “The Lady From Shanghai” (Welles, 1947) gif by grafixandnoirandgarage.tumblr.com

The last one probably isn’t a good reaction gif, but it was just too good not to share…

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in “The Big Sleep” (Hawks, 1946) gif by bellecs.tumblr.com

Do you have your favourite film noir gifs? Please share them in the comments!

NOIRVEMBER Day 3 – Noir films you can watch on Netflix now!

Noirvember Day 3

It’s day 3 of Noirvember! We started talking about specific noir films so I wanted to prepare a list of recommendations to watch on streaming services such as Netflix (as this is the one I personally subscribe to). Unfortunately, their current offer available in Poland is not very rich when it comes to film noir 🙁 Nevertheless, I decided to list films that are, in my opinion, absolutely must-see.

The Maltese Falcon

Maltese Falcon on Netflix Polska

Double homicide? Call a spade a spade. Unless it involves unusual suspects, then call cool-as-ice P.I. Sam Spade. Humphrey Bogart stars as private eye Sam Spade in this noir classic that finds the sultry Miss Wonderly seeking protection from a man called Thursby.

L.A. Confidential

L.A. Confidential on Netflix

It’s 1950s L.A., where politics, Hollywood and cops collide. No one’s off-limits and no one’s secrets are “hush hush”. Three wildly different cops form an uneasy alliance to ferret out corruption in this Oscar-winning whodunit set in 1950s Los Angeles.

Sin City

Sin City on Netflix Polska

Revenge, passion and fear are the threads that connect these intertwined stories in a pitch-black world. In these intertwined stories, an ex-con avenges a hooker’s death, a gumshoe gets mixed up with dangerous vixens, and a cop saves a dancer from a rapist.

Do you agree with this list for Noirvember? Have you found some other films that you think would fit here? Let me know in the comments!

12 Retro (-themed) Movies Available on Netflix NOW!

At the moment, the weather behind the window makes me dream of nothing else than cuddling under a blanket and watching a movie. Since Netlix is available in Poland for two months now, I decided to prepare a little list of retro movies for you (and me) to watch.

International readers, take note that I live in Poland and having Netflix is a very new thing for us. Also, the selection of titles I will be writing about is definitely available in Poland, I do not know about other countries (although if you know, drop me a line in the comments!)

If English is not your first language, all of these movies have English subtitles available. Sadly, none of them have Polish subtitles. However, as a person with MA in English, I encourage you to give English subtitles a try, I find I’ve learnt most from exactly this type of activity.

A Night At The Opera

Netflix: A Night at the Opera | The Marx Brothers wreak opera house havoc in the film that contains one of the guys' most popular comedy bits ever: the crowded stateroom scene.

The Marx Brothers wreak opera house havoc in the film that contains one of the guys’ most popular comedy bits ever: the crowded stateroom scene.

A Streetcar Named Desire

Netflix: A Streetcar Named Desire | After losing the family plantation to creditors, aging Southern belle Blanche DuBois travels to New Orleans seeking solace in her sister, Stella.

After losing the family plantation to creditors, aging Southern belle Blanche Dubois travels to New Orleans seeking solace in her sister, Stella.

Casablanca

Netflix: Casablanca | American expat Rick Blaine runs a Moroccan nightclub during World War II and contends with his ex, who walks back into his life.

American expat Rick Blaine runs a Moroccan nightclub during World War II and contends with his ex, who walks back into his life.

Chinatown

Netflix: Chinatown | With a suspicious femme fatale bankrolling his snooping, private eye J.J. Gittes uncovers intricate dirty dealings in the Los Angeles waterworks.

With a suspicious femme fatale bankrolling his snooping, private eye J.J.Gittes uncovers intricate dirty dealings in the Los Angeles waterworks.

Gangster Squad

Netflix: Gangster Squad | When notorious East Coast mob boss Mickey Cohen looks to set up his operations in L.A., it's up to a group of hard-nosed LAPD cops to take him down.

When notorious East Coast mob boss Mickey Cohen looks to set up his operations in L.A., it’s up to a group of hard-nosed LAPD cops to take him down.

Gone With The Wind

Netflix: Gone with the Wind | Self-absorbed, headstrong Southern Belle Scarlett O'Hara meets her match in Rhett Butler just as the Civil War breaks out.

Self-absorbed, headstrong Southern Belle Scarlett O’Hara meets her match in Rhett Butler just as the Civil War breaks out.

L.A. Confidential

Netflix: L.A. Confidential | Three wildly different cops form an uneasy alliance to ferret out police corruption in this Oscar-winning whodunit set in 1950s Los Angeles.

Three wildly different cops form an uneasy alliance to ferret out police corruption in this Oscar-winning whodunit set in 1950s Los Angeles.

Roman Holiday

Netflix: Roman Holiday | Audrey Hepburn stars as a stifled princess who slips away from her guardians and is taken under the wing of a tabloid reporter looking for a scoop.

Audrey Hepburn stars as a stifled princess who slips away from her guards and is taken under the wing of a tabloid reporter looking for a scoop.

Sin City

Netflix: Sin City | In these intertwined tales, an ex-con avenges a hooker's death, a gumshoe gets mixed up with dangerous vixens, and a cop saves a dancer from a rapist.

In these intertwined tales, an ex-con avenges a hooker’s death, a gumshoe gets mixed up with dangerous vixens, and a cop saves a dancer from a rapist.

Sunset Boulevard

Netflix: Sunset Boulevard | When a struggling screenwriter stumbles upon the crumbling mansion of washed-up actress Norma Desmond, she persuades him to help her mount a comeback.

When a struggling screenwriter stumbles upon the crumbling mansion of a washed-up actress Norma Desmond, she persuades him to help her mount a comeback.

The Great Gatsby

Netflix: The Great Gatsby | Fascinated by the mysterious and affluent Jay Gatsby, his neighbor Nick Carraway bears witness to the man's obsessive love and spiral into tragedy.

Fascinated by the mysterious and affluent Jay Gatsby, his neighbour Nick Carraway bears witness to the man’s obsessive love and spiral into tragedy.

The Maltese Falcon

Netflix: The Maltese Falcon | Humphrey Bogart stars as private eye Sam Spade in this noir classic that finds the sultry Miss Wonderly seeking protection from a man named Thursby.

Humphrey Bogart stars as private eye Sam Spade in this noir classic that finds the sultry Miss Wonderly seeking protection from a man named Thursby.

So, did you like this little list of retro movies? Would you like me to review some of them before you decide to watch them? Let me know in the comments!

All images and descriptions taken from Netflix.