Let’s talk about the Black Bird

For those of you who haven’t seen the Maltese Falcon, here’s my favourite scene from the film. Everything about this is just right: perfect dialogue (from the novel by Dashiel Hammett, adapted by director John Huston), perfect acting (Humphrey Bogart and Sidney Greenstreet), and perfect lighting and camera work (credit the great cinematographer, Arthur Edeson). This film is 75 years old this year but I don’t think it has dated at all!



4 Responses to “Let’s talk about the Black Bird”

  1. “This film is 75 years old this year but I don’t think it has dated at all!”

    Depends on the definition of “dated” (which, of course, has a different meaning for Bill Clinton). Right away, I notice: hats, no beards, and a mid-Atlantic accent. Certainly this class of people normally don’t wear hats today, beards are more common (in all classes), and, while many actors of course don’t use their native accent, they at least try to mimic a real one (Dick Van Dyke’s attempt at Cockney in Mary Poppins is an especially bad example).

    • telescoper Says:

      It’s set in the 1930s. Hats, cigarettes, etc are all of the period. That’s different from being dated in terms of production.

      Who has the mid-Atlantic accent, by the way? Sidney Greenstreet’s character is most definitely English.

      • Having listened to more of it, yes, English. At the beginning he sounds bit more mid-Atlantic to my ears. I admit I’ve never watched the film! 😦

        Inspired by this post to read up a bit, I see that Greenstreet was originally English but moved to the States and became a naturalized citizen well before the film was made, that the atomic bomb “Fat Man” was named after him, and that the film leaves out much of the “lewd” material of the novel and earlier versions of the film.

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      Phillip: Do you know how to attach subtitles to YouTube clips, as people do to the Hitler Rant from Untergang? It would be amusing to turn off the sound from this Maltese Falcon clip and relate it to Peter’s imminent departure from the Sussex School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences…

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