THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) B/W 100m dir: John Huston
w/Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet (debut), Gladys George, Barton MacLane, Lee Patrick, Ward Bond, Jerome Cowan, Elisha Cook Jr.
Huston's first directorial effort, here is the classic Sam Spade: full of action, mystery, pathos, sex. Bogart is simply sensational: he anchors every scene he's in; and Astor is a revelation.
From Georges Sadoul's Dictionary of Films : "John Huston already had an established reputation as a scriptwriter when he directed this, his first film. It is a faithful adaptation of the original novel with a style that reflects the essence of [Dashiell] Hammett . In fact, its style and pace still make it one of Huston's most memorable films. Although the two earlier versions passed almost unnoticed, they are part of the development of the American film noir in the literary tradition of Hammett and James Cain. Humphrey Bogart was well known as an actor at the time, but this film was really the first to introduce the famous 'Bogie' characteristics that made him a star. Sidney Greenstreet gives one of his most memorable performances as Kaspar Gutman."
THE MALTESE FALCON was nominated for three Oscars: Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Greenstreet), and Screenplay (Huston).