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Cameron H.

The Maltese Falcon

Maltese Falcon   

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  1. 1. What do you say, sweetheart? Does The Maltese Falcon belong on the list?

    • Yes, it’s a priceless treasure
      11
    • No, it’s nothing but a fraud
      1

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  • Poll closed on 08/23/19 at 07:00 AM

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Amy & Paul fly through 1941's Humphrey Bogart proto-noir The Maltese Falcon! They ask if this is the ultimate "dad movie," learn about all of Malta's unique animals and praise the incredible fonts of 1940's San Francisco. Plus: Adam Savage (Mythbusters) talks about his obsession with recreating the original Maltese Falcon prop.

How would you recast The Philadelphia Story's love triangle in 2019? Call the Unspooled voicemail line at 747-666-5824 with your answer! Follow us on Twitter @Unspooled, get more info at unspooledpod.com and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts. Photo credit: Kim Troxall

This episode is brought to you by Sonos (www.sonos.com) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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For the record, there are quite a few movies on the AFI List the I would happily replace with Galaxy Quest. 

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This is a no-brainer to put on the list in my opinion.  This and Casablanca are the only Bogarts I need on the list, as they tower over the rest of his films, both in terms of his performance and in quality of the film.  And after the stretch of super long films we've had, the 100 minute runtime of this feels so breezy, without a wasted second.  We don't need to spend extra time introducing the character with a performance as great as Bogart's in this, as we understand his Sam Spade almost immediately.  He doesn't quite click in the romantic parts here, just as those parts feel off in The African Queen (to be honest, his only truly great work as a romantic lead that I've seen has been with Lauren Bacall; even in Casablanca his chemistry with Ingrid Bergman works more because of the absence of outward romance).  

It's an iconic and influential film that is still a remarkably easy and fun watch today, and it'll make my top 50 for sure.

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Maybe I missed something (probably), but I never felt like the love plot in The Maltese Falcon was ever meant to be sincere. I just figured that they were just using each other to get what they wanted ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

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I'm not quite over-the-moon about The Maltese Falcon like some people are. I enjoy it all for the most part, but there are some segments where it seems to go for a lot of exposition and "tell, don't show" storytelling. It helps that the telling is done by Sydney Greenstreet, but still, it's a bit heavy on speeches that describe prior events. You can chalk some of that up to the time it was made, but . . . Citizen Kane came out the same year.

That said, it's full of iconic lines and characters and is clearly a major influence, so I still vote for it to stay. And that final exchange is dynamite, really ties the room together.

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I enjoyed The Maltese Falcon, but decided to vote, and I voted, "no."

I might be suffering from the bleed-out effect people often say they get with The French Connection, but TMF having been the archetype for so many stories it doesn't seem that unique.  And while I enjoyed it, just going through other noir films, I'd just easily drop this for something like The Third Man or A Touch of Evil.

I liked the tension in Double-Indemnity more.  I liked the use of character-actors (Lorre and Greenstreet - though when I think of Peter Lorre, I think of M) and Spade's just completely dead cynicism, but I find the darkness of his character in A Lonely Place to be more interesting.  I find the accepted nihilism of his character in Casablanca more poignant.  I feel like this film is more iconic and good than it is great.  As influence, in terms of a shift to what we'd now call noir films, my suspicion is it's more of "first of the trend" rather than "the movie that unexpectedly started the trend."  Admittedly, that's pure speculation on my part. 

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I pretty much agree with @sycasey 2.0, and also voted for it to stay. Looking at my rankings of the 60 movies so far, it is right on the borderline for me as a film that I would keep on the list. So it could easily go the other way for me if say Casablanca or other films shove it down at all. So it was sort of "yes I guess so" vote as opposed to any strong stance.

I think as a noir, there's just so many better ones out there after it (a few of which we've seen on the list). Amy mentioned the lack of a sense of location and that stuck out to me too. Early movies rarely have that, but when you look at how the cities are characters in Vertigo or Chinatown or whatever, it's really missed here.

I never loved Citizen Kane quite as much as most people, and mainly it's because I never really forget I'm watching a film. I'm not sucked into it in that way the best movies pull me in. That's sort of what happens here too, actually. I like them both, they're well-written and made, but they sort of keep me at a distance a little more than I want the 'best' movies too.

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On 8/15/2019 at 4:54 PM, Cameron H. said:

Maybe I missed something (probably), but I never felt like the love plot in The Maltese Falcon was ever meant to be sincere. I just figured that they were just using each other to get what they wanted ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

That's always been my take on it as well.

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SLowly catching up on the list. Tryting to watch/rewatch and listen in order of the podcast. 

My fifth time (at least) to watch this film, although it's been a long stretch since the last time. Things felt a bit more cheesy and melodramatic this time, perhaps due to its familiarity. Also, I think I noticed for the first time some of the more hiccupp-y technical glitches, like a few continuity errors or editing jumps. I guess know that I'm older I recognize the wrinkles in others' faces more. Disappointing but strangely conforting. These older movies are so sacred; they're just "normal people" like you and me. And it doesn't slip too far down the line. It still makes my top 15, so far. 

As a superhero junkie (sorry, Amy, it's true and you are objectively wrong LOL) I was excited, as in this viewing, it was so clear to me that Spade is essentially a super hero. It makes sense, as the pulpy noir world that he comes from likewise spawned the masked mystery man tropes that became detectives like Batman and the Spirit. Sam Spade (note the alliterative name) has superhuman senses to sniff out lies, as it were, and powers that let him deceive others and slip out of any situation. He even has a sidekick with his secretary. And yet he is quintesentially good, forgoing his own happiness or reward for objective justice. 

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Just a quick note: I took this photo in San Francisco a few years ago. It's one of my favorite finds from wandering the city.

spoiler alert.JPG

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