The Maltese Falcon


N / A

101 Min

The Maltese Falcon


The Maltese Falcon is a mystery thriller detective film from John Huston starring Humphrey Bogart. The film is regarded as a landmark in the film-noir movement.


Oct 3rd, 1941


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  • Goof (continuity error): In their first meeting, Spade tells Gutman that he has until 5:00 to make up his mind. Later, when Wilmer lets Spade know that Gutman is ready to talk, Spade says "I didn't expect you until 5:25," which would have been twenty-five minutes after the deadline had passed (in the novel, the deadline is 5:30).
  • Goof (errors in geography): SPOILER: "Los Angeles Fire Department" appears on the firefighters' hats. The film is set in San Francisco.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Goof (crew or equipment visible): Shadows are visible when Captain Jacoby stumbles into Spade's office and falls on the couch.
  • Goof (audio/visual unsynchronized): When Effie is on the phone with Iva, we hear her say, "No, not yet," but her mouth is closed.
  • 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.
  • Goof (factual errors): When Spade is discussing the murder of Archer with Tom Polhaus, Polhaus says the murder weapon is a "Webley." Spade then goes on to describe the weapon as a "Webley-Forsby (sic), .45 Automatic, 8-shot." The manufacturer was Webley-Fosbery, though Sam may have just mis-pronounced it, but the similarity to "Thursby" is striking. What is most definitely wrong is the Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolver was chambered in two calibers, .455 Webley MK II (not .45, a minor discrepancy) and .38 ACP. The .455 had only a six shot capacity and the .38 caliber was the 8-shot variant. The .455 Webley MK II was an unusual cartridge and would have been quite hard to find after 1915, the end of production for the pistol. The .38 ACP was more common and is still available today. In the Dashiell Hammett book, the weapon is correctly referred to as a .38 caliber, 8-shot.
  • Goof (revealing mistake): SPOILER: 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.
  • Goof (continuity error): SPOILER: 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.
  • Goof (continuity error): When Sam first puts the Falcon on the table Gutman is smoking a cigar. When he begins to scratch the Falcon there is no cigar in sight.
  • Goof (continuity error): When Spade pulls Wilmer's overcoat over him going towards Gutman's apartment we see him pull out two pistols. But Wilmer has his hands inside of his coat's outer pockets and you don't see Spade's hands going into the inside of the two upper inside pockets.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Goof (factual errors): Joel Cairo's British passport had his name written twice on the front cover; one would be a reference number, not a name.
  • Goof (continuity error): The crawl at the beginning of the movie refers to the falcon as being "encrusted from beak to claw with rarest jewels". Yet when we finally see it, apparently the falcon's surfaces are all smooth. Even with the black enamel coating to disguise it, should we not be able to see the rough texture of the jewels below the enamel? (This has been bothering me for 50 years, yet I have never heard anyone else mention it.)
  • 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.
  • Goof (continuity error): When searching for the body, Sam's handkerchief is ruffled only while he is in the room, not before or after.
  • Goof (continuity error): When Joel Cairo and Brigid O'Shaughnessy are in Spade's house, Cairo lights a match with his left hand. Between shots the match appears in his right hand.
  • Goof (crew or equipment visible): When looking to newspaper for ship arrivals, it is seem that small piece of paper has been glued there.
  • Goof (continuity error): SPOILER: 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.
  • 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.
  • Goof (revealing mistake): When Sam clobbers Cairo, he falls unconscious on the sofa. We can see Cairo blinking pretty obviously.
  • Goof (continuity error): SPOILER: 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.
  • Goof (continuity error): In the final scene when all five are in the room, Spade takes the guns from Cairo and Wilmer, walks around Gutman. During Spade's conversation with Gutman, he sit on a chair and leans against the wall with something small in his right hand. Next scene, Spade is leaning towards Gutman and nothing is in his right hand.
  • Goof (continuity error): SPOILER: When Gutman is slicing away energetically at the Maltese Falcon, one shot shows him standing still with his arms not moving.
  • Goof (audio/visual unsynchronized): SPOILER: 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.
  • Goof (errors in geography): Early in the film, out the window of Sam's office, the Bay Bridge can be seen. In another angle, a domed building can be seen - either SF City Hall or the monument at Presidio, neither of which would be visible from Sam Spade's office.
  • 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.
  • Goof (factual errors): The opening crawl tells a story about "Charles V of Spain" in 1539. This king was Charles I of Spain; Charles V was his title as Holy Roman Emperor.
  • Goof (anachronisms): Joel Cairo's passport refers to Lepanto. This name is an Italian name and hasn't been used since the middle ages; the current name (and that in use since his dob, is Naupactus).
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