TV Party Tonight! #126

TV Party Tonight! #126

Tuesday, 13 June 2023

The Maltese Falcon
[4K/Blu-Ray combo]

When the pandemic started, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to go through the AFI 100 list. Get some takeout, queue up a movie rental from the library, and get educated. I made it through all of them except Sophie’s Choice (I don’t know if it’s the feel-good movie for a new parent) and Intolerance (my endurance for silent movies is low, especially a 3+ hour one). Through it all, I laughed (both WITH and AT movies), I cried (both WITH and AT movies), and scratched my head. There are some downright clunkers on this list, but for some reason The Maltese Falcon had always remained in the back of my head. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it and was shocked that this complex movie was so popular back when people were even dumber than they are today. I knew I was going to revisit it at some point and the WB 100 4K edition is the perfect opportunity.

I’ll be damned is the Maltese Falcon was much more enjoyable on this second viewing. I guess I knew that you never see the Maltese Falcon, so I was able to focus on everything else going on. And really, this movie is about everything else going on. I will stick to my assessment that this movie would probably have made no sense to the much dumber audience of the 40s (then again, superhero movies are collectively making us all dumber, right?), and I greatly benefitted from having the subtitles on this time, paying attention to the names, and making sense of Bogart’s hilarious slurred speech. You really can’t make any sense of what he’s saying in sped-up 40s talk. What’s enjoyable about the Maltese Falcon is the intrigue, suspense, and danger surrounding the lives of people caught up in acquiring the Maltese Falcon. The plot thickens and gets more complex, and we feel safe learning about it through the eyes of Bogart, who is cool, and always ahead of the pack. Who’s in on it? Who’s innocent? Who’s going to die? DO we really need to call him “fat man”? Everything ties up in a highly satisfying way in the end, even though, yes, we NEVER get to see the stupid falcon. This is all about the journey, and one wonders why there isn’t a series of books surrounding Sam Spade a la 007. Would have been great, huh?

The WB 100 series keeps knocking it out of the park, and this edition of the Maltese Falcon is the definitive edition to have, fully remastered with audio cleanups and gorgeous back and white presentation. This feature has a commentary track and lots of featurettes detailing the remastering process and making of the movie. Add this one to the collection!

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