Look out folks…here comes GREATNESS
…“When you’re slapped, you’ll take it and like it”
Sam Spade (played by the legendary Humphrey Bogart) bitch-slapping the manhood out of Joel Cairo (played by Peter Lorre)….and telling him to shut up and take it!! Do I really need to continue the review after that? That is perfection. However, for those tough sells I will continue with my “Why is this book Awesome” thesis.
First, this story IS NOIR. Now there are a lot of wonderful noirs out there, many of them classics, but this story is THE
noir. It is the noirest (aka that which has reached the pinnacle of noirism).
Second, you have a smart, interesting mystery-based plot that is paced perfectly. This book doesn’t just flow…it saunters, it glides, it swaggers.
Third, you have a phenomenal cast of odd and engaging characters without a good guy in sight. Our hero by default, Sam Spade, is as gray as the economic skies over America and moves through the story as cool and slick as a Teflon cat.
Oh…the FUNtastic spectacle that is this book is something to behold.
HOWEVER….all of the above are not even necessary for making this a classic 5 star read. This book is all about the WRITING, especially the dialogue. This novel is stuffed so full of breezy, quotable lines that I’m surprised Hammett was ever able to come up with another one. In fact, rather then mess this review up any further, I am going to let the dialogue speak for itself….along with some images from the movie version that do not necessarily coincide with the quotes.
“Say, what's on your mind beside your hat.”
***You will quote that line at some time in the future...you know you will.***
“You're a good man, sister.”
***CoolDAR just starting beeping*** “Listen, Dundy, it's been a long time since I burst into tears because a policeman didn't like me.”
***The CoolDAR just went to 11*** Joel Cairo: “You always have a very smooth explanation.” Sam Spade “What do you want me to do, learn to stutter?”
***oh shit, I just had a coolgasm....This is tied with “Ugly as Incest” (from The Heroes
) as the greatest line of the week. Just classic.*** “People lose teeth talking like that. If you want to hang around, you'll be polite.”
***And the cool just won't let up...Brilliant, sir….just brilliant*** “By Gad, sir, you are a character. There's never any telling what you'll say or do next, except that it's bound to be something astonishing.”
***By Gad?….By Gad?….Oh that one is going right into the repertoire as it is too slicktastic.*** "Brigid O'Shaughnessy: “I haven't lived a good life. I've been bad, worse than you could know.” Sam Spade “You know, that's good, because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we'd never get anywhere.”
***It's official...Sam Spade makes me feel like a dorkadouche.*** Brigid O'Shaughnessy: “Help me.” Sam Spade: “You won't need much of anybody's help. You're good. Chiefly your eyes, I think, and that throb you get in your voice when you say things like 'Be generous, Mr. Spade.'”Brigid O'Shaughnessy: “I deserve that. But the lie was in the way I said it, not at all in what I said. It's my own fault if you can't believe me now.” Sam Spade: “Ah, now you are dangerous."
***'Ah, now you are dangerous'...Oh…that is so, so good *** Sam Spade: “All we've got is that maybe you love me and maybe I love you.” Brigid O'Shaughnessy: “You know whether you love me or not.” Sam Spade: “Maybe I do. I'll have some rotten nights after I've sent you over, but that'll pass. I hope they don't hang you, precious, by that sweet neck. Yes, angel, I'm gonna send you over. The chances are you'll get off with life. That means if you're a good girl, you'll be out in 20 years. I'll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I'll always remember you."
***Screeeeech…..back up and re-read that. Yes, that is exactly what he is saying…this guy is like a walking Urban Legend of the ultimate badass.*** FADE TO BLACK
HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!