Marvin's Reviews > The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
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's review
Apr 07, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: mystery, favorites
Read from May 31 to June 03, 2011

I had one minor annoyance in reading this novel. I have seen the movie and I simply cannot get the voices of the actors out of my mind, especially those of Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Humphrey Bogart. It doesn't help that the dialogue of the film is almost totally out of the book. In spite of that, The Maltese Falcon is a hard-boiled delight from beginning to end. It doesn't matter that all the characters are louses, including the charismatic but hardened Sam Spade. It reeks of grittiness. It is the mother of all Crime Noir novels and never surpassed. Dashiell Hammett, you're good. You're very good.
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03/12/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Terri Lynn Perfect review! I love the movie and am just now reading the book after seeing the film a gazillion times. I see the faces and hear the voices of the actors and actresses and it is really enchancing my oexperience of the book. I just read Hammett's THE THIN MAN with the mystery group and loved it too.

Marvin Thanks. I recently read Red Harvest and didn't like it as much as this one. Plan to read The Thin Man soon.

Jonathan Marvin, I just finished listening to the audio book read by William Dufris. He makes EVERY character, right down to Gutman and Cairo sound just like how they sounded in the 1941 film. Because of that, the audio book wasn't as enjoyable as it should have been. He even read the speech at the end the same way Bogey read it: with sympathy.

Marvin I guess the movie is too ingrained into the modern psyche to expect anything else. We just have to live with the fact that when we hear the name Sam Spade we're going to see Bogey's face.

Gretchen For anyone who has seen the movie a gazillion times though, it is interesting to note the places the book and movie differ. For example, Spade and Brigid didn't sleep together in the film-- what does that say about 1940s movies? Guzman's daughter also is absent from the film. And did you catch the spot where Hammet refused to use the f-word? Repeatedly, when Wilmer used the f-word, Hammet merely says "a gutteral verb followed by you". What does that say about books in the 1930s? And one of the main characters dies in the end of the book who didn't die in the movie. And that classic line is missing... I wonder how Hammet thought about the abrupt ending of the movie.

Carac Allison "It is the mother of all Crime Noir novels and never surpassed."

I like Marlowe better than Spade. But this is quite possibly the ultimate Crime Noir novel because of the Great MacGuffin. People who have never seen the movie or read the book have heard of the Maltese Falcon.


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