Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1941. Warner Bros.. Screenplay by John Huston, based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett. Cinematography by Arthur Edeson. Produced by Hal B. Wallis. Music by Adolph Deutsch. Production Design by Robert M. Haas. Costume Design by Orry-Kelly. Film Editing by Thomas Richards. Academy Awards 1941.
The one and only original film noir, the film that launched a thousand imitations. Granted, some of those imitations were even improvements on the original (I like The Big Sleep better than this one), but there’s no denying that this premiere John Huston film is a classic. Humphrey Bogart plays perennial detective Sam Spade, a tough P.I. with a penchant for wisecracks, who becomes the dupe of a gang of criminals when he falls for a weepy lady (Mary Astor) and her bogus story involving a missing sister. Nobody is who they say they are, and we’re left to find out if Spade can survive the trickery of the many deceitful people he’s thrown up against. Great characters (especially a delicious Sydney Greenstreet) and colourful dialogue abound, this one is unbeatably fun.