Monday, February 14, 2011

This day in crime fiction history

The Maltese Falcon was published in book form eighty-one years ago today, which makes it the perfect gift for the crime-loving loved one in your life. (The novel had previously been serialized in Black Mask.)

Here's a trailer for John Huston's 1941 film version
, the third, best-known, and best movie made of the novel.
***
A first edition of The Maltese Falcon in near-fine condition might be a bit pricey for your beloved. If you don't have $136,000 (plus $7.25 for shipping), you might try the Library of America Hammett volumes instead (one containing his crime novels, the other short stories and other writings), or Hammett books from Vince Emery Productions that have guided me through Hammett's fiction and through the streets of his San Francisco.

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

Labels: ,

24 Comments:

Blogger Yvette said...

A good gift. Of course, I would love it even more if the book were accompanied by the 'actual' falcon.

"The stuff that dreams are made of."

February 14, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

A phrase that does not occur in the novel, by the way!

February 14, 2011  
Anonymous Simona said...

I really enjoyed the book. Thanks for the pointer to the movie: I should see it.

February 14, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Interesting you should have read the book before seeing the movie. I think the reverse is true for most people.

But I know the novel, the movie or both must have made an impression in Italy because of the recently defunct Il falcone maltese magazine.

February 14, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

That Library of America novel edition is excellent.

In fact their series is excellent:

http://www.loa.org/crime

My favourite one is Noir of the 50's.

February 14, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The story edition is pretty good, too. I've reread "The Big Knockover" and "$106,000 Blood Money" from it the last two days.

My only complaint about the Library of America's handsome, durable, compact editions is that they're too good to be taken in the bathtub. If only I had a Kindle.

Wait a minute--

February 14, 2011  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I saw the movie years ago, and as suggested by this website, read the book, and then saw the movie again--glad I did that.

Seeing the movie last year after reading the book was a good plan. I got more out of it this time around.

But what's with this font? I had to take out my electronic microscope to read it. For those of us who are not in our 20s and 30s, it's very hard to read.

February 14, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, I've been trying all day to figure out why the font is so small. I'll keep trying. I, too, am no longer in my 20s or my 30s.

February 14, 2011  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

If you want to help preserve film noir, you might click over to The Self-Styled Siren, who's playing host for the second year in a row to a blogathon to rais funds for the Film Noir Foundation.

February 15, 2011  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

I should have said there are a zillion links in her blog to other bloggers' writing about film noir as genre, a specific film, actors, etc.

February 15, 2011  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Well, you fixed the font size, although it's a different font from the usual style.

Has anyone noticed the resurgence of classic film noir viewing? Everyone I know who watches dvd's at home is getting vintage mystery movies from anywhere they can.

Luckily, my library has many of these. But between Internet blogs and friends/relatives' viewing, this is a topic of discussion.

"Dark City" was brought up today, and "Woman in the Window," was mentioned last night.

Anyone venture to guess why this is happening now, rather than a year ago.

February 15, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

But they are brilliant for long plane journeys. I took one on a flight to London and although it was still a 19 hour nightmare, at least I had good reading material. Thin Biblical paper too which is useful if you're ever caught short anywhere - can the Kindle do this? I think not. And if it can then the robot rebellion is closer than we think.

February 15, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

Thanks to a discussion group I go to, I learned that a robot was playing against two humans on Jeopardy last night. Watson, it's name is. He seemed very polite, even when Alex Trebek told him that one of the other players had already said the same thing. He was tied at the end of that show, but tonight is the rest of the game.

Watson probably learned more than I know about Egypt already, so the robot rebellion may be a lot closer than we think.

February 15, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Linkmeister, the Film Nor Foundation is also a pet cause of Christa Faust's. You should be hearing more from her in a few minutes. And the foundation's Eddie Muller provides highly informative and entertaining commentary on the DVD versions of film noir classics. These are worth looking for.

February 15, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And the blog sounds like a fine resource. Thanks.

February 15, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, I could not get the post to appear at the right sze in the usual font, so I had to try the Arial font, which always appears larger that the serif fonts.

I have noticed more and more old films noirs being released on DVD, some in the Film Noir Classics series. Some of these, as I've just mentioned in another comment, are very much worth watching. Perhaps it has taken a year or so for these movies to work their way into the public consciousness

February 15, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, I also know a literate barmaid who likes to read on her Kindle on breaks -- handy in a bar's low light.

As it happens, discussion on the Oz Mystery Readers group of one member's Kindle brings up the lack of availability of Australian titles, crappy backlighting, the readers' restriction to products sold by Amazon, and the possibility inherent in any mechanical product that something will go wrong.

I also imagine e-readers would be handy for catching up on one's Stieg Larsson in a coal mine, but absent dark places or 6,000-mile-plus plane trips, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, as far as I can see.

And my observation still holds that no one I know who owns a Kindle paid for his or her own. All received them as gifts.

February 15, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, Alex Trebek can be the most supercilious of Canadians. I admire a robot that can maintain its composure in the face of this.

February 15, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

Actually, I think it was probably part of the agreement with IBM, as the computer is supposed to learn from interaction.

I am glad to know of all the noir film links, as I feel like watching something older for a change. I can't be cutting edge all the time.

As I may have said here before, even the indies are getting into the e-books arena, courtesy Google reader. And I think this was the first week that the NYTBR is posting e-book bestsellers along with print versions. The top of the list is not surprising.

February 15, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana: Part of your reply would be well-suited to the post I've just put up. I don't dispute that e-books are part of the landscape, I just fail see their advantages to readers.

Someone ought to offer a vitamin supplement to help middle-aged Americans keep up with the stress of staying cutting-edge all the time. I know I could use such a pill.

February 15, 2011  
Blogger Solea said...

The LA (Chicago) Times ran this sentimental story, "Raymond Chandler and wife reunited on Valentine's Day in San Diego cemetery" on Monday.
The article goes on to say that "Chandler had wanted to be buried next to his wife but never completed the necessary documents...The judge agreed, and Valentine's Day was set as the day to transfer the ashes to a grave beside Chandler's."

February 15, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

Crime writers--softies underneath, one and all.

Well, except maybe James Ellroy.

February 15, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Since Blogger may be eating comments again, let's try this one more time.

Solea: I had heard about the reburial, but I had not realized it was to take place on Valentine's Day. Thanks. Now Chandler does not have to sleep the Big Sleep alone.

February 15, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I don't know, Seana. Ellroy can get sentimental over his new love.

February 15, 2011  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home