Always Something New To Enjoy In This One
The Maltese Falcon (1941) As HD-Sharper Seen
What's left to say? Just two things gleaned from recent view (the Blu-Ray, plus true HD broadcasts on TCM): Sydney Greenstreet was 61 when he made this, playing a character presumably as old, here in obsessive pursuit of a collectable. Dialogue reflects that it's not as much the jewel-encrustedness and incalculable worth of the Falcon as the fact Casper Gutman simply must have it. In other words, he's one of us, and that Black Bird might as well be a rare one-sheet or 16mm print. Would a fanatic-enough film or poster collector commit murder to get what they want? I've met a few who might get round to it. Gutman, then, is an identification figure for some of extreme bent, less so me since dogged accumulation was relaxed some years back, but I knew SG/CG's pain when the third-act Falcon proved to be fake, and he has to start over again (like my promised 16mm original of The Maltese Falcon that turned out to be a dupe --- yes, that happened once). Gutman spent eighteen years in search of his, and in a final scene cheerfully declares he'll start afresh. At age 61? What purpose does collecting really serve when you've reached that point? A sage said that a first half of life was about accumulating, the second spent in disposal. How much can any object mean when you've got ever-lessening time to enjoy it?
The other this-time notice is Wilmer Cook's possible getaway (just realized --- he and enactor Elisha Cook, Jr. share the same last name). Here's the progression as I understood it: Wilmer is unconscious on the couch, the falcon arrives and confederates unwrap same amidst much dialogue. When they finish, Wilmer is gone. More dialogue, Gutman and Joel Cairo depart, but Wilmer has a head start, possibly a significant one. Would he have waited outside the building to join the others? Doubtful --- for fact they'd sold him out. Bogart finally alerts cops by phone to pick up the lot (warning them specifically about Wilmer), but I'm guessing Wilmer's halfway to the state line, and am not reassured by Ward Bond's "Got 'em" line when he and partner Barton MacLane enter. My guess is they nabbed Gutman and