The Maltese Falcon and the NAU Film Series Fall 2008
Unrated; Directed by John Huston; Starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet
It’s that time of year when my movie-loving self begins to drool with excitement. The NAU Film Series begins. So many good movies will show at the Cline Library auditorium and you get to see these classics with an audience. Sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters and the Cline Library, this semester’s theme is Cinema and the City;
For Humphrey Bogart fans, here is a chance to watch The Maltese Falcon on the big screen. Bogart’s role as detective Sam Spade brought the hard-working actor stardom. Bogart had been in Hollywood and had played some attention-getting roles, but hard-boiled detective Sam Spade gave Bogart a lead good guy role. In most of his roles up to this film he usually played a supporting bad guy who would end up shot by James Cagney or Edward G. Robinson. This time he plays the cynical detective who doesn’t know who is lying to him, but assumes everyone is…unless it’s his faithful secretary Effie (Lee Patrick).
A young John Huston got his break as the director for the film, leading him to a long and brilliant career. He also wrote the screenplay based on a Dashiell Hammett novel. The Maltese Falcon starts with a now common cliché: a beautiful woman walks into the detective’s office and needs help. When that woman is played by the marvelous Mary Astor, the movie is perfect. With Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre, the supporting cast is also perfect.
Sam Spade is the kind of character who can slap a rather effeminate character played by Peter Lorre and growl threateningly “When you’re slapped, you’ll take it and like it,” and it just sounds so good. How could Humphrey Bogart not help but become a movie star?
The Maltese Falcon is a well-deserved classic movie. You can see why on September 9 at 7:00 pm at Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library. It is free to all.
The Fall series also has some other great movies. One of MGM’s most popular musicals, and one of my favorites, Gigi will show October 21. On September 16 you can see Roma, Città Aperta (Rome, Open City) by director Roberto Rossellini. Panic in the Streets will show September 23. The science fiction classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still is scheduled for September 30. Other movies scheduled for the rest of the semester include Three Coins in a Fountain, Vertigo, 400 Blows, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Blow-Up, Dirty Harry, Annie Hall, Ghostbusters, and Amadeus.
To learn more about the films, and check out the schedule, visit http://www.cal.nau.edu/film/. And mark your calendars for these wonderful movies, and don’t miss Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon. When you have such a great opportunity, “you’ll take it and like it!”