Friday, November 10, 2006

America In The World- A Review Of The Maltese Falcon, 1941


This film is about a new consciousness that America has gleaned from it's collective experience in the First and now the impending reality of the Second World War.

Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade plays the American, the democrat, the great hope in the midst of two great wars; who through Conscience finds the Truth amongst the power plays and greed of Empires and powerful interests, played in their various characters.

Mary Astor as Brigid O'Shaughnessy as the love interest, but in the larger sence the British Empire; Kasper Gutman as the German Imperialist, logical yet not evil but focusing on his ends, justifing his means; and Peter Lorre playing the Fench Interest as Joel Cairo the man "capable of Anything" in Gutman opinion, including co-operation and capitulation to the Nazi machine.


Sam Spade returns to Gutmans Apartments for a discussion of the price to deliver the Falcon, there Gutman promises a World in riches - he talks of the myth of the Knights Templar - perhaps contained with-in the shell of the Maltes Falcon. He's tempting Sam as a metaphor for American Democracy, with the powers of World Empire. Drugged, something in his drink, Spade(America?) passes out; the tables have been turned, Gutman has milked Spade for information - rather than the other way around.

In the next scene at Spades Detective Offices, Sam has covered all his bases, what ever happens - he's going to come out the winner. In the end his play wins, he can have the Falcon, the girl, anything he wants. Yet he knows, through his experience of real freedom, the there's only one option. He chooses the Democratic path, The Rule of Law and calls the cops.

As always in Hollywood, a happy ending... .



mh

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