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The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
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Jun 05, 11

bookshelves: crime, hardboiled-and-noir, mystery, audiobook, ebooks, kings-of-badassia, 1930-1953
Read from May 30 to June 04, 2011 — I own a copy

Look out folks…here comes GREATNESS

“When you’re slapped, you’ll take it and like it”

GIFSoup
 
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. 
 
ENJOY…
 
“Say, what's on your mind beside your hat.”
Photobucket
--Sam Spade
 
***You will quote that line at some time in the future...you know you will.***
 
“You're a good man, sister.”
Photobucket
Sam Spade
 
***CoolDAR just starting beeping***
 
“Listen, Dundy, it's been a long time since I burst into tears because a policeman didn't like me.”
Photobucket
Sam Spade
 
***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?”
Photobucket
 
***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.”
Photobucket
Sam Spade
 
 ***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.” Photobucket
Kasper Gutman
 
***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.”
Photobucket
 
***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."
Photobucket
 
***'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."
Photobucket
 
***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!!!
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Comments (showing 1-45 of 45) (45 new)

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Marvin Can I press the like button twenty times?

Great review but how can you go wrong quoting Bogie?


Stephen Marvin wrote: "Great review but how can you go wrong quoting Bogie?"

Thanks, Marvin. You can't go wrong quoting Bogie and him playing Sam Spade....the awesome is deafening.


Duffy Pratt Agree with all you said -- but Red Harvest is even better.


Stephen Duffy wrote: "Agree with all you said -- but Red Harvest is even better."

I will check it out. Thanks for recommendation.


Marvin Recommendation is noted here too. Red Harvest is next.


[Redacted] I agree with Duffy, Red Harvest is the best Hammett IMO.

The Thin Man is good for witty dialog but isn't nearly as hard boiled.


message 7: by Natalie (last edited Jun 04, 2011 06:23PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Natalie For this great review I virtually bestow upon you the gifts you should win for your enthusiasm:


Up and Down These Mean Streets Dashiell Hammett Tour w/Don Herron

Your own copy of:
The Dashiell Hammett Tour  Thirtieth Anniversary Guide (The Ace Performer Collection series) by Don Herron
The Dashiell Hammett Tour

Dinner at John's Grill
[image error]


Kemper Great write-up on one of my favorite books.


Stephen Natalie wrote: "For this great review I virtually bestow upon you the gifts you should win for your enthusiasm:


Up and Down These Mean Streets Dashiell Hammett Tour w/Don Herron

Your own copy of:
[bookcover:Th... i Thanks Natalie. It's my first virtual award so I'm not sure what to say other then I am very honored and appreciate the gesture. I will cut and paste this on to my virtual mantel. I have so many people to thank starting with... music begins cutting off lengthy award speech]...thank you.



message 10: by Bennet (new)

Bennet Oh boy. I want to do this with Double Indemnity or Postman. I love noir, and have to say kudos on the idea and review.


Stephen Bennet wrote: "Oh boy. I want to do this with Double Indemnity or Postman. I love noir, and have to say kudos on the idea and review."

Thank you. It was fun to put together.


message 12: by Michael (new)

Michael I'm trying to ride out some more time before re-reading Hammett's stuff. It's hard.


message 13: by Limonessa (new)

Limonessa I'm amazed by our profound book incompatibility that doesn't stop me from reading and enjoying each and every one of your reviews. Well done Stephen! I will remember this book and the movie.


Nathan Thats the best review ever! If I hadn't already read it and rated it 5stars it would be my next read.


message 15: by Maciek (new)

Maciek Great Review, Stephen! I love the movie. Read the book a long time ago. You made me want to revisit it. Thanks!


James Thane A very nice review of one of the true classics.


Stephen Lisa O. wrote: "I'm amazed by our profound book incompatibility that doesn't stop me from reading and enjoying each and every one of your reviews. Well done Stephen! I will remember this book and the movie."

Thanks, Lisa. That is very nice to hear.


Stephen Nathan, Maciek and James...thanks guys!!


message 19: by Lou (new) - added it

Lou NIce touch Noir spree Darn movies kill you're reading time lol.


message 20: by ivana18 (new)

ivana18 Great review, you always put so much work in your reviews.
Where in the word do you get these pictures and animations? Brilliant!!!!


message 21: by Stephen (last edited Jun 17, 2011 10:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Stephen ivana wrote: "Great review, you always put so much work in your reviews.
Where in the word do you get these pictures and animations? Brilliant!!!!"


Thanks, Ivana. I am glad you liked it. I actually made the animation on gif soup.com. As for the pictures...you can find just about anything on the Internet.


Daehan Totally agreed especially this part you said " 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." Now I'm reading fore part of this novel, I enjoying dialogues so much.


Whispers from the Pirate's Ghost Whisper Ay yes, one of the original Noir(ish) Heroes. So...why does Humphry have to slapp Peter Lorry around like that?


Stephen Peter Lorre was less than polite to the lady and Bogart is, well, Bogart. I think that is all the answer there is.


James Thane Hugh The Curmudgeon wrote: "Ay yes, one of the original Noir(ish) Heroes. So...why does Humphry have to slapp Peter Lorry around like that?"

Well, Peter Lorrie does pull a gun on him and Bogie has to go to the trouble of taking it away from him. Certainly that justifies a little slapping around...


Stephen Pull a gun, get a slap. It's the law (of noir).


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Public Service Announcement: The Maltese Falcon is on TCM this afternoon at 12:30p Eastern. Y'all hinterlanders will need to do the conversion, I get all sgangerata when I try to figure it out.

This is one where the movie's better than the book.


Stephen I put this one in the To Kill A Mockingbird, Double Indemnity category where I think both the movie and the film are so outstanding that I let them reign as Co-Masters of the Universe.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Very small-c catholic of you. I just can't get Bogey's performance out of my head, and reading the book I hear him narrating it, so that's why the upgrade.


Stephen I can't fault you for that. Bogey is, well, Bogey. That scene at the top of my review, "When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it," is one of the best movie moments ever.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways By and large, his character in this film is one of the best in movie machodom. He's rough, he's mean, he's smart, and he's just crooked enough to know how far is too far, and how much will get you what you want while still doing the right thing. The *real* right thing, not the prissypants obey-the-rules right thing.


James Thane Stephen wrote: "I put this one in the To Kill A Mockingbird, Double Indemnity category where I think both the movie and the film are so outstanding that I let them reign as Co-Masters of the Universe."

I'll buy into that on all three counts. I'd also add The Postman Always Rings Twice to the list, and I really like both movie versions of the book.


message 33: by Mohammed (last edited Feb 25, 2012 11:16AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mohammed Stephen wrote: "I put this one in the To Kill A Mockingbird, Double Indemnity category where I think both the movie and the film are so outstanding that I let them reign as Co-Masters of the Universe."

Hammett is one of my alltime fav writers, one of the best i have read but i think the film is more natural PI story, better than the book. The book is great but its not natural Hammett style. The dialouge, the writing is forced cool. Its vastly different than his other PI stories.

I prefter the film not because of Bogart but because Huston added to the novels great parts.


Mohammed Richard wrote: "By and large, his character in this film is one of the best in movie machodom. He's rough, he's mean, he's smart, and he's just crooked enough to know how far is too far, and how much will get you ..."

I couldnt agree more. I can barely remember the literary Spade after i saw the film version.


message 35: by Stephen (last edited Feb 25, 2012 11:22AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Stephen James wrote: "I'll buy into that on all three counts. I'd also add The Postman Always Rings Twice to the list, and I really like both movie versions of the book."

I'm prepared for a fully justified scolding when I admit that I haven't read the book or seen the movie of The Postman Always Rings Twice. It is my next Cain novel to read and I will watch the movie afterwards.


Stephen Mohammed wrote: "
Hammett is one of my alltime fav writers, one of the best i have read but i think the film is more natural PI story, better than the book. The book is great but its not natural Hammett style. The dialouge, the writing is forced cool. Its vastly different than his other PI stories."


Me, I loved the dialogue of this book (as you can tell from all the quotes in my review). The movie had many of them but not all and so I can't give the movie higher marks than the book. Both are phenomenal.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Stephen wrote: "I'm prepared for a fully justified scolding when I admit that I haven't read the book or seen the movie of The Postman Always Rings Twice. It is my next Cain novel to read and I will watch the movie afterwards."

No scolding needed, since you have admitted before Gawd your error and made a firm purpose of amendment.

Oh dear goddesses, did I just channel Father Dan?!?


message 38: by Stephen (last edited Feb 25, 2012 12:41PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Stephen Thank you for trying to make me feel better, but remember that MY God is not nearly as forgiving or understanding as Father Dan's.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways *eep* I forgot that Cthulhu was a huge film noir fan! I remember seeing Him at A Touch of Evil when it was playing at the Angelika a few years back.

Well, so long. It was nice knowin' ya. Unless you Netflix this up tonight, I'm guessin' your time on the surface of the earth is...limited.


Stephen Fortunately, the big C is a heavy sleeper and I may be able to do rectify the situation before he goes "Elder" wrathful on my ass. I might be able to...ah hell, who am I kidding...I'm fleshy toast. Maybe I get to come back as a shaggoth or some other shagger.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways *pauses in hanging black crepe on his mirrors*

Hey...the shaggoth idea has some appeal. Better than shagging a goth, anyway. As for being a shagger, well, status quo ante then?

*finds sturdy box to sit shiva on for the late Stephen*


Mohammed Stephen wrote: "Mohammed wrote: "
Hammett is one of my alltime fav writers, one of the best i have read but i think the film is more natural PI story, better than the book. The book is great but its not natural Ha..."


Yeah the book had great dialouge. What i remember most fondly from the novel.

The crazy plot twists makes me think the book is great but has some real flaws.


Jason I read this last year, and just watched it for the first time today. Love your quotes. Thanks! And I'm pleased to give your review its 100th like. You should celebrate with a chocolate falcon, or something.


Carac Allison The Maltese Falcon is the greatest MacGuffin in literature and film. This is one of those books where I wish I had read the words before I'd seen the movie--a problem shared by many I'm sure.

"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."

Yes the pace is perfect. Absolutely perfect.

"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."

I prefer Marlowe to Spade. But if I was hiring a PI I think I'd hire Sam. He's less fun but more professional. :)


message 45: by Sketchbook (last edited Sep 24, 2014 12:45PM) (new)

Sketchbook Pic is great. But it is not a > film noir <. True NOIR deals with bourgeois decadence and corruption as in Mildred Pierce or Double Indemnity. NOIR is not about a McGuffin.


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