The Maltese Falcon Sample Essay.
The Maltese Falcon
As written by Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon is a book that presents an era in the 1920, in a setting at San Francisco. The film produced from the book portrays a young dedicated man, John Houston whose life is rather mysterious to both the viewers and the other characters in the movie. The unpredictability of his actions is what makes the movie a great “mystery thriller’ at the time of its release. The plot revolves around Mr. Houston who becomes entangled through a beautiful but an elusive chase for a jewel statuette that is thought to have originated from Egypt. This, together with the character matching, setting, costumes and style of the film makes it quite captivating and qualifies it as a Film Noir.
The detective story of the film depicts a distinguishing description of a film Noir. The verbal dram of movies is rather what qualifies a film as a noir or just a normal thriller. At the time of its setting, the movie makers concentrated on the creation of movies with light comedy and with elaborate drama and mystical occurrences, which gave rise to the genre of fil noirs. From the plot of The Maltese Falcon, the rather evasive search of a beautiful jewel statuette of an Egyptian origin by the detectives not only depicts mystery but also presents a thriller that displays the noir qualities of the film. The charming nature of detective Mr. Bogart exposes an observatory rather than a participatory role in contributing to the events of the film, therefore creating a mystery that only exists in film noirs.
The Maltese Falcon directed by John Houston reveals a Bogart’s Sam Spade that plays a “black film’ with noir characteristics evident in the cinematic style. The lighting in the movie, the camera angles and placement, flashbacks and use of a meditative voice-narration are all evident. The setting of the movie is in the urban area of San Francisco, with a plot that shows the hustles of city life and a world gone wrong in a cosmopolitan society (Hammett, 7). The alienated but rather amoral hero that exists as the protagonist, lives and works in a dark and cynical urban setting, which in itself presents a movie that has characteristic noir features. Although the movie does to utilize a chiaroscuro depiction of expressionism, as it occurs with the subsequent productions of film noirs, it expresses a well-illuminated background (Spöhrer, 13). However, although in a limited expression of style, the movie uses a fragmented voice narration as occurs with the contemporary noir films.
Some of the features of the movie however distance the movie from the typical noir films. The character of Sam Spade is quite incomparable to Sherlock Holmes, a superhero in the detective-like movies that supersede The Maltese Falcon. Bogart’s Sam Spade, the protagonist in the movie is not as charming but a rather alienated character from the rest of the actors. He remains separated from the authorities and instead of working for them, sometimes revolts against them. He expresses extreme moral ambiguity, with a greedy and cynical partake of the circumstances around him (Spöhrer 23). This puts the protagonist of the movie as a true noir hero, whose desires and motives is to control everything around him for his own good. There expression of masculinity and femininity through the characters, with a balanced reversal of the roles as females are shown to be more intelligent and are able to control their male counterparts.
In conclusion, The Maltese Falcon displays the true qualities of a film noir from the setting, the character roles, and the use of language. The noir movie goes beyond the context to express to defy the language censorship through a number of stylistic ways. This includes an open discussion of topics like homosexuality that appeared tabooed at the time, creating a formula for noir movies that exist in the contemporary cinema industry.
Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon. New Canadian Library, 2015.
Spöhrer, Markus. “Homophobia and Violence in Film Noir: Homosexuality as a Threat to Masculinity in John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon.” The Human (2016).
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