Warner Home Video
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet
Many of his movies still have a very unique quality about them, a quality that is no doubt a result of Bogart’s very own personality and charismatic – yet often enigmatic – portrayal.
Warner Home Video has now prepared a series of his films for release on DVD, including "The Maltese Falcon," one of the best detective dramas ever made, and a film that made the Top 100 list of the American Film Institute.
Assuming the trailed man is the killer, Spade is surprised to find that he too has been killed, and quickly the case takes a new turn. Spade tries to find out what has happened and eventually figures that it was a complete set-up. He tracks down the ominous woman and faces her for the truth. Slowly, she gives in and tells a mysterious story of murder and an age-old relic. And just as Spade thought he knew what it was all about, new faces and dangers surface, proving that nothing is really the way it seems. He is pulled into a net of intrigue, lies, murder and money, and only barely can he stay on top. He has to solve the case surrounding "The Maltese Falcon" to put an end to this deadly game he has been unwillingly been pulled into, and more importantly he needs to find out who killed his partner.
"The Maltese Falcon" was director John Huston’s directorial debut and it is easily recognizable, why Huston became one of the most acclaimed directors in Hollywood so quickly. His impeccable pacing, his structure and the way he builds drama with a series of visual devices used in this movie is only a small portion of the repertoire he would put to use in his later films. The lighting and the movie’s entire visual style soon became so significant that it was given its own name, creating the genre of the Film Noir. This genre would produce some fantastic actors and movies, using light and shadow, as well as smoke, rain, hats and trench coats to create a very unique flair for its stories. A style, that is romanticized on the one hand but harsh, edgy and cold on the other. It is a stylized vision of the 30s and 40s, a time where the war and the depression had made its emotional impact on everyone.
Warner Home Video is showing off "The Maltese Falcon" on this DVD in a superb transfer that is presenting the movie in its original <$PS,fullframe> aspect ratio. Although some minor defects are evident in the source print, the transfer is generally clean and breathtakingly detailed. The occasional jump or registration problem, as well as some scratches and signs of wear are, while noticeable, never distracting from the movie and clearly reinforce the fact that what you are watching is a movie the wrote movie history. The image is clear and well defined without any signs of edge-enhancement. Only the slightest signs of film grain are evident in selected scenes. Throughout the film’s duration, contrast is well balanced creating deep solid backs and bright highlights, without ever creating a harsh-looking picture. The gradients and shades found in the image are always perfectly delineated and create a beautiful black and white image. The compression is also very good without artifacts of any sorts, maintaining every bit of detail that could be found in the original film print.