There’s nothing I can say about this movie that would be 1/100th as entertaining as watching it. So just go watch it.
Starring, the man's man other men's men call a Man's Man:
Why did I watch it? Because I was watching “T-Men,” and grew bored in 10 minutes with the stentorian voice-over. It was one of the Realistic Movies about Hard-Chinned Government Men who go behind the lines to bust something, usually a racket. Like many such movies, it began with an actual government man assuring us that the following is true, albeit a composite of 47 cases. In this movie the official was reading from a script, looking down at the paper, up at the camera, and so on. Somehow didn’t set that noir mood I wanted.
Why did I watch “Falcon”? Hadn’t seen it in a few years, and it’s always worth another view. I forget how much of a jerk Spade was, sometimes; I forgot how funny the movie can be. I only half-remembered how grim the last scene with Mary Astor, and how it was almost a noir parody at the same time. Maybe I love you, maybe you love me. Oh, it’s a tender scene, I tell you. I never forget how the scene of Sidney Greenstreet hacking at the statue is oddly assembled - the voice is dubbed, they cut away to a shot of Sidney that looks like a still. I’ve no idea if they had to cobble that together in post-production, because I’d hate to think they planned it.
That said: I never noticed this before. We meet Joel Cairo, one of Peter Lorre’s most Lorresque roles:
The same tie! Of course it’s me, you stupid eediot! Look at the tie! (Lorre’s sputtering assault on Sidney Greenstreet in this movie is the touchstone for every Lorre impersonation ever done, including “Ren and Stimpy.”) As for Sidney:
Remarkable, sir. I enjoy a man who enjoys sitting frankly and talking about sitting with other men in a frank manner. Yes sir. Remarkable. It’s a performance that would echo in a dozen other movies through lesser menacing fat men.
Of course, there’s Elisha Cook Jr., and I’ve always loved the scene where he realizes he’s going to be the fall guy, and looks around the room for someone to tell him this isn’t happening.
This isn’t happening, is it?
Yes, Wilma, it is, and it annoys me to think how I'll have to hire another triggerman.
How about you, Spade? Say this isn't happening!
Kid, I'm so far ahead of you in this game I'm already putting the pieces in the box and finding a place for it on the shelf.
Mr. Cairo - we've always gotten along, haven't we? This isn't happening, is it?
You will probably lose your bowel control when you die. I do not look forward to the aroma. Perhaps if I smoke more.
How about you, miss? Please tell me - oh, crap.
What we love is Bogart, of course. He played the two most famous detectives - Marlowe and Spade - but he’s really just playing Bogart. A little more haunted as Marlowe, jaunty and confident as Space. For me Gerald Mohr was Marlowe and Howard Duff was Spade - through radio, they made the characters their own.
Of all the Bogart moments in the movie, I deem this the best. (Flash video; mouse over for controls if not immediately visible.)
Most people don’t know it, but there’s a sequel, performed on the radio. Ready? Here you go.