The Maltese Falcon
The Maltese Falcon Goofs/Mistakes
- Movie Goof (continuity error): When Wilmer is overpowered in the last scene in Spade's apartment, he's placed on the lounge with both arms at his side. After a momentary cutaway shot to Brigid's face, he's shown with both arms over his head.
- Movie Goof (audio/visual unsynchronized): When Effie is on the phone with Iva, we hear her say, "No, not yet," but her mouth is closed.
- Movie Goof (incorrectly regarded as a mistake): Spade refers to the gun as an automatic, yet he is shown a revolver. The gun shown is a Webley-Fosbery automatic. This was a revolver that used the recoil of the shot to turn the cylinder and re-cock the weapon. It was very well made, but susceptible to dirt and fouling and so, as Spade said, "They don't make 'em anymore". However, it was made in two versions, a six-shot .455 and an eight-shot .38 ACP, so it can't actually be an eight-shot .45 as Spade says it is.
- Movie Goof (continuity error): Towards the end, after Brigid tells Sam she can't look at him, she covers her face with her hand. From another angle, her hand isn't there.
- Movie Goof (factual errors): The opening crawl begins, "In 1539, the Knight Templars[sic] of Malta, paid tribute to Charles V of Spain, by sending him a Golden Falcon..." This confuses two different religious orders of knights, both founded in Jerusalem. The Knights Hospitallers of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, known as the Order of St. John for short, have existed since 1048; they were in fact based in Malta from 1530 to 1798 and hence were also called the Knights of Malta. On the other hand, the Knights of the Temple of Solomon, also called the Knights Templar or just Templars, were founded in 1119 and became the sworn enemies of the first order; this latter group was disbanded by 1312, after King Philip IV of France had declared them heretics so that he could confiscate their wealth.
- Movie Goof (boom mic visible): When Spade and Wilmer are walking down the hall toward Gutman's apartment, the shadow of the microphone boom passes across Wilmer's coat.
- Movie Goof (continuity error): When Gutman first puts the Falcon on the table he is smoking a cigar. When he begins to scratch the Falcon there is no cigar in sight.
- Movie Goof (audio/visual unsynchronized): When Gutman is slicing away energetically at the Maltese Falcon, his voice ("It's a fake... it's lead!) is clearly dubbed by another actor.
- Movie Goof (continuity error): When Sam first goes to see Gutman in 12C, as he walks down the corridor we can see that directly in front of him is a chair, a table with flowers on and a silhouette of a diamond framed window and the flowers on the wall, but when he leaves we can see two chairs either side of the table and the diamond frame silhouette is not there.
- Movie Goof (continuity error): When Gutman is slicing away energetically at the Maltese Falcon, one shot shows him standing still with his arms not moving.
- Movie Goof (continuity error): After Gutman discovers the Maltese Falcon is a fake and shakes off the shock, he puts the statue upright. A close-up of the bird and Gutman's hands shows a knife in his right hand, though in the previous long shot his hand was empty.
- Movie Goof (continuity error): The opening scene where Miss Wanderly meets Archer. Spade is leaning forward in the main shot. Then he is back in his chair in the over the shoulder Wanderly shot.
- Movie Goof (errors made by characters, possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): When he first enters his office, Archer is smoking a cigarette with his left hand, and appears to be holding a match in his lowered right hand. He seems to have been caught holding the match he used to light the cigarette before entering the scene, and disposes of it by casually dropping it to the floor.
- Movie Goof (continuity error): When searching for the body, Sam's handkerchief is ruffled only while he is in the room, not before or after.
- Movie Goof (revealing mistake): At the scene where Sam hits Cairo, while he falls unconscious on the sofa we can see Cairo blinking pretty obviously.
- Movie Goof (errors in geography): "Los Angeles Fire Department" appears on the firefighters' hats, even though the story is set in San Francisco.
- Movie Goof (continuity error): In the scene with Joel Cairo and O'Shaughnessy in the Spade's house, Cairo lights a match with his left hand. Between shots the match appears in his right hand.
- Movie Goof (errors in geography): When the La Paloma burns, a sign reading "Port of Los Angeles" is seen over a door leading onto a wharf. The film is set in San Francisco.
- Movie Goof (revealing mistake): At the very end, as O'Shaughnessy and Dundy are leaving in the elevator, the visual effect of the elevator going down is accomplished by lowering a dark screen in front of the backlit actors. Very nice, except that you can clearly see that both silhouetted actors remain standing motionless at floor level as the screen drops.
- Movie Goof (revealing mistake): When Spade is talking to Det. Tom Polhaus about the Webley, the sound stage ceiling can be clearly seen above the tops of the buildings.
- Movie Goof (continuity error): When Dundy and Polhaus are in the Spade's house, Spade serves a drink to them. When he begins to serve, Dundy is standing and Polhaus sitting. Then Polhaus stands up in the right side of Spade. Next shot he is in front of Spade.
- Movie Goof (crew or equipment visible): Shadows are visible in scene where Captain Jacoby stumbles into Spade's office and falls on the couch.
- Movie Goof (continuity error): Spade doesn't wear rings or a watch throughout the movie except for one scene. At one point he walks into his office wearing a wedding band on his left hand, another large ring on his right hand and an expensive-looking wristwatch. He sits down to have a quick chat with his secretary where the rings and watch are in plain view. He then walks through a doorway into his inner office and the rings and watch are gone.