YMMV / The Maltese Falcon
Adaptation Displacement: Of the novel, as well as two previous film adaptations.
The Bogart film is an exceptionally faithful adaptation. Virtually the sole difference between novel and movie is that the sex (hetero- and homosexual) is slightly more explicit in the book.
Changes due to differences between characters and actors were inevitable. How many people know that Sam Spade was blond in the book?
Award Snub: Its failure to win Best Picture for 1941 would be understandable, as it was up against no less a cinematic classic than ... Except that one Citizen Kane didn't win either.
Cant Unhear It: Related to Adaptation Displacement, it is exceedingly difficult to read the novel without hearing the 1941 cast.
Hilarious in Hindsight: The prop of the "fake" Maltese Falcon was auctioned off in 2013 for over $4 million. Quite a valuable worthless item!
It Was His Sled: The Falcon is a fake.
Jerkass Woobie: Joel Cairo, who's callous and acid-tongued, yet relentlessly bullied and humiliated so much that you feel bad for him by the end.
Joel Cairo, whose effeminate actions were supposed to creep out a 1940s audience but these days it just labels him as an outsider.
The fact that the 1941 film is set during a time when homosexuals were being murdered by the Nazis, and Cairo is clearly a foreigner with an Eastern European accent, makes him even more sympathetic.
Values Dissonance: The subtle yet rampant homophobia, be it the Sissy Villains or the homophobic slurs, would bury the film these days.
Vindicated by History
The Woobie: Wilmer, to an extent (he is a hired gun, after all). He’s inexperienced, so Sam repeatedly outdoes him and calls him a homophobic slur, and finally, when Sam argues to make him the Fall Guy, his frustrated, furious reaction borders on Tear Jerker. Made even worse when Cairo and Gutman agree.