An encore presentation of John Huston’s 1941 Best Picture nominee The Maltese Falcon, will be presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Monday, September 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
Several weeks ago, The Maltese Falcon kicked off the Academy’s highly successful film series “Oscar Noir: 1940s Writing Nominees from Hollywood’s Dark Side,” which featured intros by several notable Hollywood screenwriters.
In addition to becoming one of the major classics of the studio era, The Maltese Falcon helped to turn Humphrey Bogart into a major star, helped to revive Mary Astor’s stardom, established Sydney Greenstreet as a top cinematic villain, matched up Greenstreet with Peter Lorre (they became sorta like Warner Bros.’ Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon), and marked the beginning of the film noir movement in Hollywood.
Personally, I much prefer Roy Del Ruth’s spunky 1931 version of Dashiell Hammett’s novel, what with suave Ricardo Cortez playing Sam Spade and Bebe Daniels as the lovely crook Bridget O’Shaughnessy. Not to mention all the pre-Code fun that takes place on-screen.
The 1941 version, however, is moodier, more stylish, and has a superior supporting cast: Mary Astor’s Bridget isn’t as alluring as Daniels’, but Astor was a better dramatic actress; Peter Lorre is great, while Sydney Greenstreet is simply brilliant.
The Maltese Falcon earned three Academy Award nominations: Best Picture (Warner Bros.), Actor in a Supporting Role (Greenstreet) and Writing - Screenplay (Huston).
At 7 p.m. recap highlights featuring the 15 screenwriters who introduced films in the “Oscar Noir” series and the 1948 comedy short So You Want to Be a Detective, starring George O’Hanlon as Joe McDrakes, will be screened as part of the evening’s pre-feature program.
The screening will be open to all “Oscar Noir” series passholders, and a limited number of individual tickets will also be available beginning September 1. Tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. They may be purchased online at www.oscars.org, by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of the screening when the doors open at 6:30 p.m. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org.