To those of you who enjoyed The Maltese Falcon
, may I recommend the Hammett short story it was based upon - Who Killed Bob Teal?
I read Falcon
in 1972, and have seen the Bogart movie since. The movie really stuck in my mind, and I had to make an effort to visualize the characters as they were described in the book, rather than the actors. I feel that nearly all of the actors were way too old, particularly Mary Astor and Elisha Cook, Jr. Brigid told Spade initially that she was 21, so I figure that she was at most 25. And I put Wilmer at 19. Sidney Greenstreet was great, but not fat enough in my mind. Peter Lorre was the hardest to shake.
The movie did not make clear that Spade and Brigid were sleeping together, and as a result I felt that Spade's final monologue in the movie was out of the blue. The book made it all make sense. Was Falcon
the first popular novel to have a bedroom scene?
was originally published in 1929 in a magazine (Black Mask?, I don't remember), before the Crash. I think that it is important to remember that Falcon
is a Roaring Twenties story, not a depression era story.
For years I have considered Red Harvest
to be a better story than Falcon
, but I reread that one last year, and I would have to say now that I like Falcon
I read once years ago that Sam Spade was the first popular protagonist that was nobody's idea of a hero (the "anti-hero"); i.e., he was sleeping with his partner's wife, and then dropped her when he got tired of her.