The Mise en Falcon: Examining ‘The Maltese Falcon’

From left to right: Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor and Sydney Greenstreet in 'The Maltese Falcon'
From left to right: Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor and Sydney Greenstreet in ‘The Maltese Falcon’

Director John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon was made in 1941 and starred Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor and Peter Lorre.

Within the realist-classicist-formalist continuum this film would fall under the classicist with formalistic tendencies. For example, the film makes use of low angles, especially when the main characters are in the same room together and interacting at pivotal moments. Plus, when Mr. Guttman’s knocked out gunman awakes to realize they have all sold him out to become the fall guy, we see a low angle close up point of view of the four other people in the room. This gives an unsettling view of the action that will come to his man.

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