The Maltese Falcon

Several decades ago when my wife, Lisa, and I were newlyweds, every Sunday when we got home from church we’d watch American Movie Classics. To date myself, this was when AMC showed real classic films. Films from the Golden Era of Hollywood in black and white. This meant Crime Noir and old fashioned hard-boiled detective movies.

It was on AMC that I first watched Bogie solve the mystery of his partner’s, Miles Archer, murder in The Maltese Falcon. I was hooked. I never grow tired of watching this classic. Not only was Bogie great as Sam Spade, but Sydney Greenstreet was masterful as the Kaspar Gutman, aka the Fatman, as was Peter Lorre as Joel Cairo. Mary Astor was a great actress, but for some reason she just didn’t make an impression on me in her role as Brigid O’Shaughnessy.

Publicity still of The Maltese Falcon
Cinema poster and publicity still of the cast of The Maltese Falcon

Learning the film was based on a novel by some writer by the name of Dashiell Hammett, I obtained a copy and read it cover to cover in a single afternoon and evening. When I next saw the classic film, it was obvious to anyone who’d read the novel that screenwriter John Huston lifted almost all the dialog for the film directly from Hammett’s original work.

One thing lead to another and before long I had read Hammett’s Continental Op stories and discovered Raymond Chandler.

When I finally worked up the nerve to take the plunge and try my hand at writing fiction, it was a natural to attempt to write stories in the crime noir, hard-boiled detective style or genre. Another major influence on the creation of Inspector Sullivan and his universe was the original version of Bladerunner, narrated by Harrison Ford.

If you are a fan of classic noir or the hard-boiled genre, please drop me an e-mail and share what novel or classic film made you a fan of the genre. I’d be happy to share your discovery story with the readers of this newsletter!

The first two classic detective stories I ever read were Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon and Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep.

If you have a classic noir or hard-boiled novel, short story, or author who cemented your love for the genre, drop me a line and perhaps I’ll post a review/summary.

The Thomas Sullivan Chronicles and Other Stories