The Maltese Falcon

Ricardo Cortez and Bebe Daniels

The Maltese Falcon, but not that one. Not the 1941 version starring Humphrey Bogart and directed by John Huston, but the other one, the original filmic take on Dashiell Hammett’s story, from 1931, with Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade and Roy Del Ruth directing. That one. Retaining much of Hammett’s terse, hard-boiled dialogue, it keeps his story intact too – woman called Ruth Wonderly (Bebe Daniels) employs private eye Spade and his partner to help her find her missing sister. By the next morning two men are dead, one of them Spade’s partner, another the man who was supposed to have run off with Wonderly’s sister. The “sister”, it turns out, was all … Read more

Employees’ Entrance

Madeline and Kurt

Employees’ Entrance is a short, sharp and strange film, from the title on downward. A drama made in 1933 and set in a department store in the teeth of the Great Depression, it takes a look at rapacious capitalism in the form of its central character – Warren William as the time-and-motion guy Kurt Anderson, who somehow gains control of a business that’s been run almost on feudal lines till he came along. Kurt is a price-of-everything-value-of-nothing badass and though his technique isn’t all slash and burn, his management style is brusque, hectoring and unsympathetic and he demands total loyalty from his staff, who he expects to be on call 24/7. On the … Read more