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The Maltese Falcon 4K UHD Review

“The Maltese Falcon” is a film noir classic.

Based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett, 1941’s “The Maltese Falcon” is a San Francisco set film noir tale. The story begins with Private Eye partners Sam Spade and Miles Archer talking to a client (Ruth Wonderly) who initially claims her sister ran off with a man named Thursby. Miles goes off to tail Thursby, but Miles is shot and killed. Moreover, Thursby is also killed the same night. As the plot thickens, Spade is offered money by Joel Cairo and later The Fat Man (AKA Kasper Gutman) to find the Black Falcon statue (a priceless artifact). How do the murders connect with the statue? That would be telling.

Written and directed by John Huston, “The Maltese Falcon” is often cited as the gold standard for film noir and it’s hard to argue with that. Between the meticulously plotted murder-mystery story (which is purposefully perplexing), the intriguing characters (especially Sam Spade), and the deep themes about greed, desire, secrets, and lies, ‘Falcon’ is an ahead of its time and influential Detective yarn that stands tall. It doesn’t look or feel like most film noirs mostly due in part to John Huston’s bold direction and smart writing. He creates a story full of shadowy characters, subtext, mystery, and perhaps the film world’s most iconic MacGuffin. There’s a reason it has stood the test of time.

It’s no secret that Humphrey Bogart had a storied career and is well known as one of cinema’s best actors. His work in “The Maltese Falcon” easily ranks as one of his finest performances. Sam Spade is such a fascinating character. He’s gruff, tough, smooth talking , manipulative and he lives dangerously. He’s also a selfish and shady person with questionable morals. Despite all of that, he remains strangely compelling perhaps because he’s such a challenging character. Bogart isn’t the only star here though as the cast is comprised of some acting legends in peak form like Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, the scene stealing Sydney Greenstreet, Ward Bond, and Elisha Cook Jr.


Presentation: 1.37:1 2160p. How does it look? The 4K restoration offers up impressive video clarity for this B&W classic.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? A quality track that is a step above most Mono mixes.

* Blu-ray copy
* Digital copy
* Commentary by Humphrey Bogart biographer Eric Lax on the 4K and Blu-ray.
* 3 radio drama adaptations
* Trailers for “Sergeant York,” “The Maltese Falcon” and “Satan Met A Lady.”
* The feature length 1931 “The Maltese Falcon.”
* A newsreel
* Makeup tests
* 2 cartoons titled “Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt” and “Meet John Doughboy.”
* A 20 minute short tiled “The Gay Parisian.”
* “The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird”- A 32 minute featurette on the film’s history and legacy and the cast.
* “Becoming Attractions: The Trailers Of Humphrey Bogart”- A TCM special.
* “Breakdowns Of 1941”- Outtakes from various films. 


April 1, 2023 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , ,

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