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Maltese Falcon (1941):
Hard-drinking private eye Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) sleuths the backyard of San Francisco in search of an elusive black bird statuette while evading the setups of three disparate miscreants: the duplicitous Brigid, the perfumed Mr. Cairo, and the scheming Fat Man. John Huston's brilliant directorial debut is aided by first-rate performances, excellent camera work, as well as the director's acute attention to detail while shooting the film.

Maltese Falcon (1931)
This first of three film adaptations of Dashiel Hammett's The Maltese Falcon plays at times like the road-company version of the more famous 1941 John Huston/Humphrey Bogart adaptation. Ricardo Cortez stars as a slick, rogueish edition of Sam Spade, using his office as a trysting place for his various amours. Bebe Daniels plays the Brigid O'Shaughnessy character, here rechristened Ruth Wonderly. Ruth hires Spade and his partner Miles Archer (Walter Long) to locate her missing sister. Archer is killed while on duty, confirming Spade's suspicion that Ruth's lost-sister story was a subterfuge. In fact, Ruth is one of several disreputable types in search of a valuable falcon statuette encrusted with jewels. Others mixed up in the quest for the "black bird" are portly Casper Gutman (Dudley Digges), Gutman's neurotic gunsel Wilmer (Dwight Frye, better known as Renfield from Dracula) and effeminate Joel Cairo (Otto Matiesen).

Satan Met a Lady (1936)
While John Huston's screen adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon is widely regarded as a screen classic, it wasn't the first time Hammett's novel had been brought to the screen, and this comedy drama offers a decidedly different spin on the same story. Detective Ted Shayne (Warren William) is hired by a woman named Valerie Purvis (Bette Davis) to find a woman named Mme. Barrabas (Alison Skipworth). Valerie, however, won't tell Ted what she wants from her, and as he tries to track down Barrabas, Barrabas' people come to him in search of Valerie. When Ted and Barrabas finally meet, she claims Valerie has a valuable piece of her property -- a jewel-encrusted ram's horn -- and she'll gladly pay Ted to return it to her. Certain Valerie hasn't been on the level with him, Ted asks his partner to trail her, but when Valerie discovers she's being watched, she kills the second detective. Unaware that she's killed Ted's partner, Valerie asks that Ted pick up a package for her from a ship arriving from Asia the next day, which Ted realizes is the precious horn that has caused all the trouble.

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WA67601 Maltese Falcon Three Disc Special Edition DVD (1941/Humphrey Bogart/Maltese Falcon/1931/Ricardo Cortez/Satan Met a Lady/1936/Bette Davis) $29.99 $26.99