Jump to content



Sign up for a free account!

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests to win things like this Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote and you won't get the popup ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo
Blu-ray Reviews

HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Maltese Falcon



  • You cannot start a new topic
  • Please log in to reply
19 replies to this topic

#1 of 20 Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

    Executive Producer

  • 10,248 posts
  • Join Date: May 09 2002
  • Real Name:Cameron Yee
  • LocationSince 2006

Posted September 30 2010 - 05:28 PM

../../../image/id/372447/width/1000/height/500

The Maltese Falcon

Release Date: October 5, 2010
Studio: Warner Home Video
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Blu-ray "ECO-BOX"
Year: 1941   Rating: NR
Running Time: 1:40:00
MSRP: $24.98

  THE FEATURE SPECIAL FEATURES
Video 1080p high definition 1.33:1 High and standard definition
Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: English 1.0 / Dolby Digital: German 1.0, Spanish 1.0, Portuguese 1.0 Variable
Subtitles English SDH, French, German SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, Norwegian, Swedish Variable

The Feature: 5/5
A beautiful woman calling herself Miss Wonderly (Mary Astor) hires private detectives Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) and Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) to track down a man with whom her sister ran away. The night Archer starts the assignment, he's immediately shot dead in the chest, and the man he was hired to follow turns up murdered not long after. Now working alone - and even a suspect in the two men's murders - Spade must sort out the real motivation behind Wonderly's seemingly routine job. A visit from the shifty Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) sheds some light on the mystery -- interested parties, among them Cairo, Wonderly, and the ruthless Kasper Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet), are after a statue - the Maltese Falcon, a valuable artifact from 16th Century Spain. The collective lust after the object is so powerful even Spade gets caught in its wake as he joins in the mad scramble to obtain it. Eventually it will fall into one of their hands, but despite its legendary value it remains to be seen if everyone's scheming and deception will be worth all the trouble.

When viewing a classic, quintessential film like John Huston's "The Maltese Falcon," it's hard not to notice things that over time have becomes tropes and clichés of a genre. The beautiful but duplicitous femme fatale, the hard-boiled and morally ambiguous private eye, and the money-grubbing villain and his incompetent lackeys - they're all well-worn elements of film noir, but "The Maltese Falcon" stands as the seminal film, popularizing and exemplifying the genre. It's no surprise, considering the 1930 Dashiell Hammett novel from which it was adapted was itself a defining work in private detective fiction (though the 1941 film stands as the second, actually successful, attempt at an adaptation). With 70 years under its belt, it's impressive how much the film holds up - while certainly a work of its time with references to now outmoded social norms and sexual politics, it's timeless for its well-paced storytelling, intriguing character motivations and still-relevant moral about the fruitlessness of greed. Since the film's success, it has been parodied, paid tribute to, and outright imitated but, like the film's titular object of desire, it remains both untarnished and sought after by collectors. Fortunately, thanks to Warner Home Video, possessing the film is a significantly simpler endeavor.

Video Quality: 4.5/5

The film is accurately framed at 1.33:1 and presented in 1080p with the VC-1 codec. Black levels are generally deep and inky, with only a few moments when the image looks a little too opened up. Contrast displays the full range of values with excellent shadow delineation and no signs of compression throughout the spectrum. Overall sharpness and fine object detail are equally impressive, revealing a healthy level of grain and showing great definition in the numerous high contrast images, though there are about a handful of moments when the image looks a touch soft or hazy; however they could also be issues inherent to the source. Finally, the image is devoid of physical blemishes and signs of excessive digital tinkering. All in all, Warner Home Video has provided an impressive video presentation for this 70-year old film noir classic.
  Audio Quality: 4/5
The 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio features clear, undistorted dialogue and satisfying dynamic range. Though not likely to test the limits of the surround sound system, it's a more than suitable complement to the high quality visuals.

Special Features: 4.5/5
The set of extras offers a nice balance between feature-related material and contextual pieces that give a look at Hollywood during the era. The only downside is there aren't more items presented in high definition, though that certainly would have affected the amount of material that could be included. As it is, the package is both highly entertaining and informative.

Commentary by Bogart Biographer Eric Lax: Lax is obviously reading from notes through most of the commentary, which makes for a through, if frequently stuffy, presentation. If a viewer has the patience to sit through the track, they'll get plenty of history, trivia and anecdotes about the production and the cast and crew.

Warner Night at the Movies 1941: The collection of short pieces was put together to replicate the movie going experience of the era, which included a newsreel, trailers, and cartoons.

  • "Sgt. York" Trailer (2:00, SD)
  • Newsreel (1:25, SD): Documents the Winston Churchill "meeting at sea" parley with Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • "The Gay Parisian" (20:02, SD): Romantic dance piece featuring the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.
  • "Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt" (7:47, SD): Bugs Bunny encounters Hiawatha in the forest.
  • "Meet John Doughboy" (7:00, HD): Porky Pig prepares for military service.
The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird (32:05, SD): Provides background on the novel's publication, analysis of the film's contribution to film noir, and analysis of the film's major characters. Includes interviews with director Peter Bogdanovich, actor James Cromwell, and cinematographer Roger Deakins, among others. Though there's no credit for the narrator, he sounds remarkably like Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs," which is actually kind of distracting.

Becoming Attractions: The Trailers of Humphrey Bogart (44:45, SD): TCM's series hosted by Robert Osborne looks at how movie trailers positioned and sold an actor to audiences. In the Bogart episode, it begins with 1936's "The Petrified Forest" and ends with 1948's "Treasure of the Sierra Madre." Never having seen the series before, I found it to be a fantastic premise and the Bogart episode proves to be a fascinating look at Bogart's career and the marketing endeavors of Warner Brothers Studio.

Breakdowns of 1941 (12:53, SD): Warner Brother's reel of bloopers from its year of productions shows numerous golden age celebrities in rare, unguarded moments. Though we're used to such humanizing glimpses with current celebrities, I didn't realize until watching this piece how unusual that is to see with film legends. It's not unlike seeing your dear old grandmother make an off-color joke.

Makeup Tests (1:16, SD): Features Mary Astor in three different screen tests.

Audio Vault: Three radio show adaptations of the "Maltese Falcon," presented in two-channel audio at 192 kbps.

  • February 8, 1943: Lux Radio (57:39): Stars Edward G. Robinson, Gail Patrick and Laird Cregar.
  • September 20, 1943: Screen Guild Theater Broadcast (28:46): Stars Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre.
  • July 3, 1943: Academy Awards Theater Broadcast (27:34): Stars Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, and Sydney Greenstreet.
"Satan Met A Lady" Trailer (2:30, SD)


Original Theatrical Trailer (2:44, SD)

Recap
The Feature: 5/5
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 4.5/5

Warner Home Video turns in a fantastic technical presentation of John Huston's quintessential and trend setting film noir. The special features includes some highly re-watchable pieces that are both entertaining and highly informative. Owners of the DVD will find the Blu-ray release a tempting upgrade given the right price point, and first time buyers will see it as an obvious addition to their collections.


One thing leads to another at cameronyee.com

#2 of 20 BethHarrison

BethHarrison

    Second Unit

  • 435 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 07 2007

Posted September 30 2010 - 08:18 PM

r

This sounds great, but I'm going to skip it and wait for The Big Sleep to appear on Blu. I already have the original and 3 disc reissue of The Maltese Falcon. From memory The Big Sleep was only released on DVD once, so it deserves a new transfer.



#3 of 20 Scott Merryfield

Scott Merryfield

    Executive Producer

  • 10,338 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 16 1998
  • LocationMichigan

Posted September 30 2010 - 11:27 PM

Thanks for the review, Cameron. Glad to read that the transfer was well done. I have this, as well as Treasure of the Sierra Madre, on pre-order, and am really looking forward to seeing more Bogey in HD!



#4 of 20 Frank Ha

Frank Ha

    Second Unit

  • 344 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 21 2003
  • Real Name:Frank Harrison
  • LocationLand of mole, tlayudas and chapulines

Posted October 01 2010 - 02:39 AM

Good review, Cameron.  Thanks.  I have had this pre-ordered for $17.50 at Amazon since July, but I may cancel it and wait for it to go on sale since I have the previously released DVD. It's hard to imagine when it will be cheaper than $17.50 though.



"And in the end, the only thing you really own is... your story.  Just trying to live a good one" - The Drover 

#5 of 20 Adam Gregorich

Adam Gregorich

    Executive Producer

  • 14,560 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 20 1999
  • LocationThe Other Washington

Posted October 01 2010 - 03:46 AM

Thanks for the review Cameron.  Now that it has your blessing its time to get it pre-ordered.  I don't see it going below the current price for some time to come.  Warner is to be commended for not just releasing classic titles, but for doing it with great video quality and lossless audio.



#6 of 20 Robert Crawford

Robert Crawford

    Moderator

  • 23,897 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 09 1998
  • Real Name:Robert
  • LocationMichigan

Posted October 01 2010 - 03:53 AM



Originally Posted by Frank Ha 

Good review, Cameron.  Thanks.  I have had this pre-ordered for $17.50 at Amazon since July, but I may cancel it and wait for it to go on sale since I have the previously released DVD. It's hard to imagine when it will be cheaper than $17.50 though.




 I am patiently waiting for mine to ship as I bought it at that pricepoint plus I had a $25 gift certificate that knocked that price down even more, when I bought that title along with Treasure of the Sierra Madre and The Exorcist.








Crawdaddy


Crawdaddy

 

Blu-ray Preorder Schedule

 


#7 of 20 Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

    Executive Producer

  • 10,248 posts
  • Join Date: May 09 2002
  • Real Name:Cameron Yee
  • LocationSince 2006

Posted October 01 2010 - 04:57 AM

Now that it has your blessing its time to get it pre-ordered.


Now that Robert Harris has also blessed it, I feel great. Posted Image


He also helped me realize I seem to be stuck in Y2K, as the film is 70, not 60. Posted Image


One thing leads to another at cameronyee.com

#8 of 20 Adam Gregorich

Adam Gregorich

    Executive Producer

  • 14,560 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 20 1999
  • LocationThe Other Washington

Posted October 01 2010 - 09:54 AM



Originally Posted by Cameron Yee 

Now that Robert Harris has also blessed it, I feel great. Posted Image


He also helped me realize I seem to be stuck in Y2K, as the film is 70, not 60. Posted Image

You sell yourself short.  I trust your reviews and don't feel the need to wait to buy until they have been validated. Posted Image




#9 of 20 David_B_K

David_B_K

    Advanced Member

  • 1,401 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 13 2006
  • Real Name:David

Posted October 01 2010 - 03:50 PM

Great review, Cameron. I knew this was being prepared for Blu-ray. Somehow it snuck up on me that it is being released this week! I have now pre-ordered this and Sierra Madre.



#10 of 20 Frank Ha

Frank Ha

    Second Unit

  • 344 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 21 2003
  • Real Name:Frank Harrison
  • LocationLand of mole, tlayudas and chapulines

Posted October 02 2010 - 03:22 AM

You know what?  I not only decided to keep my order with Amazon, I also went ahead and pre-ordered Treasure of the Sierra Madre even though I just watched the DVD a couple of months ago.  Two great movies at a good price.  What's not to like.


"And in the end, the only thing you really own is... your story.  Just trying to live a good one" - The Drover 

#11 of 20 ManW_TheUncool

ManW_TheUncool

    Producer

  • 5,813 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 18 2001
  • Real Name:ManW

Posted October 02 2010 - 06:37 AM

Thanks for the solid review and all the details, Cameron -- for a different, perfectly complementary take alongside RAH's. Posted Image  It's nice to see different (quality) takes from different (film-loving-and-respecting) perspectives w/ these reviews here -- certainly one very good reason to frequent HTF.


And as I mentioned in RAH's "a few words..." thread, I very much look forward to owning (and seeing for the first time) this great classic!


Thanks again!


_Man_


Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#12 of 20 lukejosephchung

lukejosephchung

    Screenwriter

  • 1,061 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 31 2007
  • Real Name:Luke J. Chung
  • LocationSan Francisco, CA., USA

Posted November 01 2010 - 06:28 AM

Thanks to careful restoration jobs by Warner and Paramount, Humphrey Bogart/John Huston fans have an embarrassment of riches with BD releases of "The African Queen", "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre"! Kudos and thanks to all the people involved in making this possible!!!

Posted Image



#13 of 20 John Hodson

John Hodson

    Producer

  • 4,399 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 14 2003
  • Real Name:John
  • LocationBolton, Lancashire

Posted November 09 2010 - 01:59 AM

Interesting comment on the Beaver's message board:


A fellow Beaver member (Louis) has confirmed my earlier report that the Warner
Region A Blu ray release of The Maltese Falcon has destroyed the worth of the
significant extra feature on the disc (historically and artistically
significant) of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo performing 'Gaite Parisienne'.
This special feature was also on the last DVD issue, and looked sensational.
Sadly, that SD feature has not been ported across to the Blu ray. Instead, a new
SD transfer has been made, from a print with missing frames, with the
Technicolor image suddenly murky and fuzzy - it's a severe degradation bad
enough to be comparatively unviewable.
Does no-one at Warner nowadays check on what's being released before it's put on
the marketplace? It seems unbelievable that this could happen. Do we think
there's a chance of a new edition to replace this botched job?



Anyone here confirm that?


So many films, so little time...
Film Journal Blog
Lt. Col. Thursday: Beaufort; no preliminary nonsense with him, no ceremonial phrasing. Straight from the shoulder as I tell you, do you hear me? They're recalcitrant swine and they must feel it...


#14 of 20 Johnny Angell

Johnny Angell

    Played With Dinosaurs Member

  • 4,967 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 13 1998
  • Real Name:Johnny Angell
  • LocationCentral Arkansas

Posted November 09 2010 - 02:48 AM



Originally Posted by John Hodson 

Interesting comment on the Beaver's message board:


A fellow Beaver member (Louis) has confirmed my earlier report that the Warner
Region A Blu ray release of The Maltese Falcon has destroyed the worth of the
significant extra feature on the disc (historically and artistically
significant) of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo performing 'Gaite Parisienne'.


Ok, I'll show my ignorance.  What is the significance of having a ballet performance on this disc?  Is the music used on the sound track?


Johnny
www.teamfurr.org
But a family cat is not replaceable like a wornout coat or a set of tires. Each new kitten becomes its own cat, and none is repeated. I am four cats old, measuring out my life in friends that have succeeded but not replaced one another.--Irving Townsend


#15 of 20 John Hodson

John Hodson

    Producer

  • 4,399 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 14 2003
  • Real Name:John
  • LocationBolton, Lancashire

Posted November 09 2010 - 02:58 AM

It's a filmed short that forms part of the 'Warner Night at The Movies' feature on the disc.


So many films, so little time...
Film Journal Blog
Lt. Col. Thursday: Beaufort; no preliminary nonsense with him, no ceremonial phrasing. Straight from the shoulder as I tell you, do you hear me? They're recalcitrant swine and they must feel it...


#16 of 20 Paul Penna

Paul Penna

    Supporting Actor

  • 507 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 22 2002

Posted November 09 2010 - 09:58 AM



Originally Posted by John Hodson 

Interesting comment on the Beaver's message board:


A fellow Beaver member (Louis) has confirmed my earlier report that the Warner
Region A Blu ray release of The Maltese Falcon has destroyed the worth of the
significant extra feature on the disc (historically and artistically
significant) of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo performing 'Gaite Parisienne'.
This special feature was also on the last DVD issue, and looked sensational.
Sadly, that SD feature has not been ported across to the Blu ray. Instead, a new
SD transfer has been made, from a print with missing frames, with the
Technicolor image suddenly murky and fuzzy - it's a severe degradation bad
enough to be comparatively unviewable.
Does no-one at Warner nowadays check on what's being released before it's put on
the marketplace? It seems unbelievable that this could happen. Do we think
there's a chance of a new edition to replace this botched job?



Anyone here confirm that?


I sure can. The version on the DVD is gorgeous and beautifully transferred. The version on the BD is... well, there's no other way to put it: simply awful. Looks like 16mm, a used and abused print that starts right off the bat with splice after splice. Not that it matters with all that, but a mediocre transfer, too. Someone somewhere along the line pulled a major, major boner here.



#17 of 20 Russell G

Russell G

    Fake Shemp

  • 9,596 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 20 2002
  • Real Name:Russell
  • LocationDeadmonton

Posted November 09 2010 - 10:21 AM

Great review (other then hearing about the crap quality of the short).  I still think I'm going to hold off a bit. I'm still really pleased with my previous Maltese and Sierra DVDs.  Once these get even cheaper, I'll probably bite though.

My wallet cries me to sleep!
 
This post kills threads!


#18 of 20 John Hodson

John Hodson

    Producer

  • 4,399 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 14 2003
  • Real Name:John
  • LocationBolton, Lancashire

Posted November 09 2010 - 07:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul Penna 

I sure can. The version on the DVD is gorgeous and beautifully transferred. The version on the BD is... well, there's no other way to put it: simply awful. Looks like 16mm, a used and abused print that starts right off the bat with splice after splice. Not that it matters with all that, but a mediocre transfer, too. Someone somewhere along the line pulled a major, major boner here.



Thank you Paul; that's a real shame.


So many films, so little time...
Film Journal Blog
Lt. Col. Thursday: Beaufort; no preliminary nonsense with him, no ceremonial phrasing. Straight from the shoulder as I tell you, do you hear me? They're recalcitrant swine and they must feel it...


#19 of 20 ManW_TheUncool

ManW_TheUncool

    Producer

  • 5,813 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 18 2001
  • Real Name:ManW

Posted November 10 2010 - 05:24 AM

Bummers about the awful quality of the short.


I guess Warner's release plate might be getting a bit too full for them to catch every such issue.  They also seem to be slipping a little bit in terms of quality results in general too as they ramp up their release schedule (though this is just my vague impression of things at the moment).  Hopefully, they get these kinds of issues quickly under control as they continue to ramp up their releases...


_Man_


Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#20 of 20 doink

doink

    Auditioning

  • 6 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 09 2010

Posted November 10 2010 - 06:00 AM

I must say it was fun to watch MF again.


Certainly the AV quality is an upgrade over the DVD.

The dialog has never been more clear.


Sam Spade rules....Posted Image







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Blu-ray Reviews

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users