Maltese Falcon As A Film Noir

1867 words - 7 pages

Maltese Falcon as a Film Noir

Film Noir is a French word which means: dark or black film. This is
very fitting as Film Noir and the Maltese falcon are stories of dark
deceptive people who often cannot be trusted. Film Noir is a good
example of this as the story is about a detective called Sam Spade who
gets dragged into the quest for the Maltese Falcon with a compulsive
liar Kasper Gutman. The Maltese Falcon is a large bird made of solid
gold worth millions. The main six conventions of Film Noir as I can
see are

The plot, lighting , dialogue, body language, stock characters and
camera angles.

The film is about a group of 5 people fighting to find and keep the
golden jewel encrusted Maltese Falcon which was a present for King
Charles 5th and is worth millions. The bird had been covered in a
black layer to keep it a secret. The story runs through many twists
and turns confusing each character and the viewer.

We are introduced to many different characters and it is hard to
remember which one is which. When Archer and Thursby are killed and
Spade does not act surprised or upset this leads to you thinking that
he could have performed the murders. The final and most important
twist is the very last scene which is one of the longest in film noir
history coming to a total of 27 minutes. In this scene we see Cairo,
Brigid, Wilmer and Kasper finally getting the sought after bird and
discovering it is in fact a fake. Kasper discovers this by taking out
a small knife and scraping away the top layer of black only to find
that the whole thing was made of lead.

A typical film noir convention is the use of low or shadowing light.
Film noir uses dark light to create the feeling of deception and
corruption. A good example of indoor lighting is a scene where Sam
Spade and Brigid O'Shaughnessy are in Spades office and Spade is
asking for money from Bridgid to pay for the work he is going to
perform for her. In the shot Spade is on the right and Bridgid on the
left. Spade is wearing a hat, the light is projected so that the
shadow covers his eyes. Eyes often show how a person is really
feeling, with these hidden Spade looks as he is the bad deceptive one,
this is another twist to the plot. O'Shaughnessy is on the left, the
light on her face is very different. Her face is lit up so her whole
face is visible, her eyes are large and she looks very innocent. Light
is often projected on the females faces as to make them look
vulnerable and truthful, when is this instance Bridgid is the
opposite. Another example is when Spade is being questioned by two
investigators, in this scene Spade sits in the middle of them both so
his face is visible but only the back of the other two investigators.
There is only one lamp in this frame and all the rays are focused on
Spade, this as with the...

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