Re: Maltese Falcon

From: David P. Hayes
Newsgroups: rec.arts.movies.past-films
Date: Monday, April 13, 1998 7:59 PM

Russ Walter wrote in message <35327BA5.2B31@gis.net>…
>Lenona(Assistant to Russ Walter) here. I find that a little hard to
>believe. I did get to see it in a theater about 2 years ago-the title
>was "Dangerous Female", I think-but anyway, the audience was laughing
>itself sick all the way through. My impression was that they felt the
>acting-that is, leering-was far more on the level of a very old stag
>movie.

The title "Dangerous Female" is a reissue title, but the film was originally released as "The Maltese Falcon." Only the main title of the opening credits was changed, so that the screenplay credits state "Based on THE novel by Dashiell Hammett" (emphasis added), rather than "Based on *A* novel by --" or "Based on the novel 'The Maltese Falcon' by Dashiell Hammett." This is a pretty strong give-away that the original title was "The Maltese Falcon" and not "Dangerous Female." Also, you can plainly see that the photographic quality is different on the main title (because it was re-photographed later); all titles are superimposed over a book cover reading "The Maltese Falcon"--they weren't very keen on changing more than they had to.

Remarkably, there continues to be people who haven't figured out that the title was changed later or that the 1931 and 1941 film versions originally had the same title. It doesn't help that the title of the 1936 version, "Satan Met a Lady," sounds a bit like "Dangerous Female." "Satan Met a Lady" is a story in itself: the opening titles read "Based on a novel by Dashiell Hammett" without stating which one!--and the falcon has been changed to a horn, Gutman is played as a woman (Alison Skipwood) with a different name, and a myriad of other details were changed to obscure that this was a remake.

--
David Hayes

 

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