The Maltese Falcon (1931)

75 or 80 mins | Drama | 13 June 1931

Director:

Roy Del Ruth

Cinematographer:

William Rees

Editor:

George Marks

Production Designer:

Robert Haas

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were All Women , A Woman of the World and Dangerous Female . In the onscreen credits of the print viewed, art director Robert Haas's surname was misspelled "Hass." Although Oscar Apfel is credited with the role of the "District Attorney" in the Var , FD , NYT and other contemporary reviews, as well as Warner Bros. publicity material for the film, the role was actually played by actor Morgan Wallace. A news item in MPH mentions that Brown Holmes was assisting Lucien Hubbard and Maude Fulton in adapting The Maltese Falcon for Bebe Daniels. Hubbard was not credited on screen.
       According to FD , some scenes were filmed on location in San Francisco, but the San Francisco exteriors of the print viewed did not include any of the cast and may have been stock footage. The film was retitled Dangerous Female for television. In l936, William Dieterle directed Satan Met a Lady , which was based on the same source (see below). The story was filmed again in l941 under the title The Maltese Falcon , directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor. The 1931 film retained a scene from Hammett's novel in which "Sam" forces "Ruth" to strip so he can search her for a missing $1,000 bill. That scene was not used in the 1941 Huston version because of stricter censorship regulations. Columbia released a parody of the tale, The Black Bird , in l975, starring George Segal and Stephane Audran under ... More Less

The working titles of this film were All Women , A Woman of the World and Dangerous Female . In the onscreen credits of the print viewed, art director Robert Haas's surname was misspelled "Hass." Although Oscar Apfel is credited with the role of the "District Attorney" in the Var , FD , NYT and other contemporary reviews, as well as Warner Bros. publicity material for the film, the role was actually played by actor Morgan Wallace. A news item in MPH mentions that Brown Holmes was assisting Lucien Hubbard and Maude Fulton in adapting The Maltese Falcon for Bebe Daniels. Hubbard was not credited on screen.
       According to FD , some scenes were filmed on location in San Francisco, but the San Francisco exteriors of the print viewed did not include any of the cast and may have been stock footage. The film was retitled Dangerous Female for television. In l936, William Dieterle directed Satan Met a Lady , which was based on the same source (see below). The story was filmed again in l941 under the title The Maltese Falcon , directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor. The 1931 film retained a scene from Hammett's novel in which "Sam" forces "Ruth" to strip so he can search her for a missing $1,000 bill. That scene was not used in the 1941 Huston version because of stricter censorship regulations. Columbia released a parody of the tale, The Black Bird , in l975, starring George Segal and Stephane Audran under the direction of David Giler. Neil Simon's l978 movie The Cheap Detective drew on The Maltese Falcon as well as two other Bogart classics, Casablanca (1942) and The Big Sleep (1946). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
6 Mar 31
p. 8.
Film Daily
31 May 31
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 31
p. 3.
International Photographer
1 Jul 31
p. 11.
Motion Picture Herald
10 Jan 31
p. 55.
Motion Picture Herald
24 Jan 31
p. 46.
Motion Picture Herald
18 Apr 31
p. 40.
New York Times
29 May 31
p. 26.
Variety
2 Jun 31
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
WRITERS
Scr and dial
Scr and dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
2d cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Vitaphone Orch cond
PRODUCTION MISC
Still photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (New York, l930).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
All Women
Dangerous Female
A Woman of the World
Release Date:
13 June 1931
Production Date:
late January--late February 1931
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 May 1931
Copyright Number:
LP2266
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
75 or 80
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Ruth Wonderly hires San Francisco private detectives Sam Spade and Miles Archer to follow a man named Lloyd Thursby in hopes that he will lead them to the man who ran away with her sister. Miles takes the job, and later that night, Sam receives a call telling him that Miles has been murdered. When Thursby is found dead a short time later, the police suspect Sam has taken revenge for his partner. Sam demands an explanation from Ruth, but she begs Sam to help her without one. When he threatens to walk out, she tells him another story. Joe Cairo, who is waiting for Sam at his office, suggests that Miles's death may have had something to do with the statue of a black bird known as the Maltese Falcon and offers Sam $5,000 to recover it. He then tries to search Sam's office, but Sam stops him by force. Because Sam was having an affair with Miles's wife, Iva, the police now suspect him of killing Miles as well. Ruth spends the night at Sam's apartment, and while she sleeps, Sam searches her apartment for the missing statue. He does not find it, but is convinced that she knows where it is, so when Caspar Gutman tells him the complete story of the black bird, Sam agrees to retrieve the statue for a large sum of money. Meanwhile, Cairo tells Gutman that he suspects the falcon statue is on a boat arriving from China. Gutman drugs Sam and takes back his money. Sam returns to his office, where a Captain Jacobi staggers in with a suitcase and dies. After ... +


Ruth Wonderly hires San Francisco private detectives Sam Spade and Miles Archer to follow a man named Lloyd Thursby in hopes that he will lead them to the man who ran away with her sister. Miles takes the job, and later that night, Sam receives a call telling him that Miles has been murdered. When Thursby is found dead a short time later, the police suspect Sam has taken revenge for his partner. Sam demands an explanation from Ruth, but she begs Sam to help her without one. When he threatens to walk out, she tells him another story. Joe Cairo, who is waiting for Sam at his office, suggests that Miles's death may have had something to do with the statue of a black bird known as the Maltese Falcon and offers Sam $5,000 to recover it. He then tries to search Sam's office, but Sam stops him by force. Because Sam was having an affair with Miles's wife, Iva, the police now suspect him of killing Miles as well. Ruth spends the night at Sam's apartment, and while she sleeps, Sam searches her apartment for the missing statue. He does not find it, but is convinced that she knows where it is, so when Caspar Gutman tells him the complete story of the black bird, Sam agrees to retrieve the statue for a large sum of money. Meanwhile, Cairo tells Gutman that he suspects the falcon statue is on a boat arriving from China. Gutman drugs Sam and takes back his money. Sam returns to his office, where a Captain Jacobi staggers in with a suitcase and dies. After finding the statue of the falcon inside, Sam hides it. He returns home to find Gutman, Cairo and Wilmer, a gunman, waiting for him. Because the police have given him twenty-four hours to clear himself, Sam insists that he will deliver the statue as soon as they agree on a fall guy. Reluctantly, Gutman agrees to deliver Wilmer to the police. Sam's secretary, Effie, brings the statue to his apartment, where they discover it is valueless. Wilmer kills Gutman and Cairo, and Sam accuses Ruth of killing Miles. Even though he has fallen in love with her, he turns her over to the police, and at her trial, she is identified by a Chinese eye witness. As his reward, Sam receives a political appointment. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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