The Maltese Falcon
, Dashiell Hammett
's third novel, introduced the world to prototypical private eye Sam Spade, and is perhaps his single most famous work, though many people know it only via the 1941 film version starring Humphrey Bogart
, which is one of the defining examples of Film Noir
The story concerns a private detective's dealings with three unscrupulous adventurers who compete to obtain a fabulous jewel-encrusted statuette of a falcon.
The novel was adapted for film twice before the famous 1941 version. A pre-Hays Code
version was released in 1931 starring Ricardo Cortez. It was far less ambiguous about Joel Cairo than the later films. It also suffered from a decidedly Out of Character
portrayal of Sam Spade as The Dandy
. The novel was adapted again in 1936 under the title Satan Met a Lady
; this version also changed Sam Spade's name, to "Ted Shane", and featured Bette Davis
in the femme fatale role.
This novel provides examples of: