EPISODE # 35: In THE MALTESE FALCON, Humphrey Bogart plays Sam Spade, a San Francisco detective who is visited by Brigid O’Shaunessy (Mary Astor), who says she needs help finding her missing sister. Sam soon learns that all is not as it appears in Brigid’s life, and things get even more complicated when a dangerous rich man (Sydney Greenstreet, nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for this role) and his accomplice (Peter Lorre) show up. As a few murders stir things up, Brigid seeks Sam’s protection while employing some impressive film noir femme fatale feminine wiles…as everyone chases after one of the most famous MacGuffins in cinematic history, the bejeweled bird known as The Maltese Falcon.
This is THE film that made Humphrey Bogart a superstar, and established the “Bogie character” of a flawed tough-guy hero who ultimately turns out to have a good heart. But who did Bogie have to thank for this role? In this episode, we get into which big star kept turning down parts that became iconic roles for Bogie, why the third time was the charm in bringing Dashiell Hammett’s MALTESE FALCON novel to the screen, John Huston as a first-time director, and which co-star was so close to Bogart that Bogie and future wife Lauren Bacall used to rendezvous at his ranch.