The Maltese Falcon

Synopsis: Spade and Archer is the name of a San Francisco detective agency. That's for Sam Spade and Miles Archer. The two men are partners, but Sam doesn't like Miles much. A knockout, who goes by the name of Miss Wonderly, walks into their office; and by that night everything's changed. Miles is dead. And so is a man named Floyd Thursby. It seems Miss Wonderly is surrounded by dangerous men. There's Joel Cairo, who uses gardenia-scented calling cards. There's Kasper Gutman, with his enormous girth and feigned civility. Her only hope of protection comes from Sam, who is suspected by the police of one or the other murder. More murders are yet to come, and it will all be because of these dangerous men -- and their lust for a statuette of a bird: the Maltese Falcon.
Director(s): John Huston
Production: Warner Bros.
  Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins.
Rotten Tomatoes:
100 min

Yes, sweetheart? There's a girl wants to see you. Her name's Wonderly. A customer? I guess so. You'll want to see her, anyway. She's a knockout. Shoo her in, Effie, darling. Shoo her in. Will you come in, Miss Wonderly? Thank you. - Won't you sit down, Miss Wonderly? - Thank you. I inquired at the hotel for the name of a reliable private detective. They mentioned yours. Suppose you tell me about it from the very beginning. I'm from New York. I'm trying to find my sister. I have reason to believe that she's here in San Francisco with a man by the name of Thursby, Floyd Thursby. I don't know where she met him. We've never been as close as sisters ought to be. If we had, perhaps Corinne would have told me that she was planning on running away with him. Mother and Father are in Honolulu. It would kill them. I've got to find her before they get back home. They're coming home the first of the month. You've had word of your sister? A letter from her about two weeks ago. It said nothing except that she was all right. I sent her a telegram, begging her to come home. I sent it to General Delivery here. That was the only address she gave me. I waited a week and no answer came, so I decided to come out here myself. I wrote her that I was coming. I shouldn't have done that, should I? It's not always easy to know what to do. You haven't found her? No. I told her in my letter that I'd be at the St. Mark and for her to meet me there. I waited three whole days. She didn't come. Didn't even send a message. It was horrible, waiting. I sent her another letter to General Delivery. Yesterday afternoon, I went to the post office. Corinne didn't call for her mail, but Floyd Thursby did. He wouldn't tell me where Corinne was. He said she didn't want to see me. I can't believe that. He promised to bring her to the hotel, if she'd come, this evening. He said he knew she wouldn't. He promised to come himself if she didn't. Excuse me. It's all right, Miles. Come in. Miss Wonderly, my partner, Miles Archer. Miss Wonderly's sister ran away from New York with a fellow named Floyd Thursby. They're here in San Francisco. Miss Wonderly has seen Thursby and has a date to meet him tonight. Maybe he'll bring the sister with him. The chances are he won't. Miss Wonderly wants us to find the sister, get her away from him and back home. - Right? - Yes. Now, it's simply a matter of having a man at the hotel this evening to shadow him when he leads us to your sister. If, after we've found her, she still doesn't want to leave him, - well, we have ways of managing that. - Yeah. But you must be careful. I'm deathly afraid of him, of what he might do. She's so young, and his bringing her here from New York is such a serious... Mightn't he do something to her? Now, just leave that to us. We'll know how to handle him. But I want you to know he's a dangerous man. I honestly don't think he'd stop at anything. I don't think he'd hesitate to kill Corinne if he thought it would save him. Could he cover up by marrying her? He has a wife and three children in England. Yes, they usually do, though not always in England. What's he look like? He has dark hair and thick, bushy eyebrows. He talks in a loud, blustery manner. He gives the impression of being a violent person. He was wearing a light gray suit and a gray hat when I saw him this morning. - What does he do for a living? - I haven't the faintest idea. - What time's he coming to see you? - After 8:00. All right, Miss Wonderly. We'll have a man there. I'll look after it myself. Thank you. Oh, yes. Will that be enough? - Thank you. - Not at all. It'll help some if you meet Thursby in the lobby. - I will. - You don't have to look for me. - I'll see you all right. - Thank you. - Thank you so much. - Goodbye. They're right enough. They have brothers in her bag. - What do you think of her? - She's sweet. Maybe you saw her first, Sam, but I spoke first. You've got brains. Yes, you have. Hello? Yeah. Speaking. Miles Archer dead? Where? Bush and Stockton? Yeah. In 15 minutes. Thanks. Hello, Effie? It's me. Now, listen, precious. Miles has been shot. Yeah, dead. Now, don't get excited. Yeah. Now, you'll have to break the news to Iva. I'd fry first. And keep her away from me. That's a good girl. Now get right over there. You're an angel. Bye. - What do you want here? - I'm Sam Spade. Tom Polhaus phoned. I didn't know you at first. They're back there. Hello, Sam. I figured you'd want to see it before we took him away. Thanks, Tom. What happened? Got him right through the pump with this. It's a Webley. English, ain't it? Yeah. A Webley-Fosbery .45 automatic, - How many gone out of it? - Just one. Let's see. Shot up here, huh? Standing like you are, with his back to the fence. The man who shot him stood here. Went over backwards, taking the top of the fence with him, and went on down the hill and got caught on that rock. That it? That's it. The blast burnt his coat. - Who found him? - Man on the beat. - Anybody hear the shot? - Somebody must've. We just got here. You want to go down and have a look at him before we take him away? No, you've seen everything I could. His gun was still tucked away on his hip. Hadn't been fired. His overcoat was buttoned. I found a $100 bill in his vest pocket and 30 some bucks in his pants. Was he working, Sam? Well? - He was tailing a guy named Thursby. - What for? What for? He wanted to find out where he lived. Don't crowd me, Tom. I'm going on down and break the news to Miles' wife. It's tough, him getting it like that, ain't it? Miles had his faults, just like any of the rest of us, but I guess he must've had some good points, too, huh? I guess so. Miss Wonderly, please. Checked out? What time? Any forwarding address? Thanks. Hello, Tom. Hello, Lieutenant. Come in. Sit down. Sit down. Drink? Did you break the news to Miles' wife, Sam? How'd she take it? - I don't know anything about women. - Since when? What kind of a gun do you carry? None. I don't like them. Course, there are some at the office. You don't happen to have one here? You sure about that? Look around. Turn the dump upside down if you want to. I won't squawk if you got a search warrant. We don't want to make any... I don't like this! Why are you birds sucking around here for? Tell me or get out. You can't treat us like that, Sam. It ain't right. We got our work to do. Why were you tailing Thursby? I wasn't. Miles was and for the simple reason we had a client... - Who's the client? - Sorry, I can't tell you that. Be reasonable, Sam. Give us a break, will you? How we gonna turn up anything on Miles' killing if you don't tell us what you got? Tom says you were in too much of a hurry to even stop and take a look at your dead partner. And you didn't go to Archer's house to tell his wife. We called your office and the girl there said you told her to do it. I'll give you 10 minutes to get to a phone and do your talking to the girl. I'll give you 10 minutes to get to Thursby's joint, Geary and Leavenworth. You could do it easily in that time. What's your boyfriend getting at, Tom? Just this, Thursby was shot down in front of his hotel about a half an hour after you left Bush Street. Keep your paws off me. What time did you get home? Just a few minutes ahead of you. I was walking around thinking things over. We know you weren't here. We tried to get you on the phone. - Where did you walk to? - Up Bush Street. - Did you see anybody... - No. No witnesses. Well, I know where I stand, now. Sorry I got up on my hind legs, boys, but you fellas trying to rope me made me nervous. Miles getting bumped off upset me, and then you birds cracking foxy. But it's all right now, now that I know what it's all about. Forget it, Sam. - Thursby die? - Yeah. How'd I kill him? I forget. He was shot in the back four times with a .44 or .45 from across the street. Nobody saw it, but that's how it figures. Hotel people know anything about him? Nothing, except that he lived there a week. - Alone? - Yeah, alone. Did you find out who he was? What his game was? Well, did you? - We thought you could tell us that. - I've never seen Thursby, dead or alive. Well, you know me, Spade. If you did it, or if you didn't, you'll get a square deal from me and most of the breaks. Don't know as I'd blame you much. The man that killed your partner... But that won't stop me from nailing you. Fair enough. But I'd feel better about it if you'd have a drink with me. Success to crime. She's in there. - I told you to keep her away from me. - Yes, but you didn't tell me how. Don't be cranky with me, Sam. I've had her all night. Sorry, angel. I didn't mean... Hello, Iva. Sam. Darling. Effie take care of everything? I think so. Sam, did you kill him? Who put that bright idea in your head? Well, I thought you said if it wasn't for Miles, you'd... Be kind to me, Sam. "You killed my husband, Sam. Be kind to me." Don't, Iva. Don't. You shouldn't have come here today, darling. You ought to be home. You'll come soon? Soon as I can. Goodbye, Iva. Well, how did you and the widow make out? She thinks I shot Miles. - So you could marry her? - The cops think I killed Thursby, the guy Miles was tailing for that Wonderly dame. Who do you think I shot? Are you going to marry Iva? Don't be silly. I wish I'd never laid eyes on her. Do you suppose she could have killed him? You're an angel. A nice, rattlebrained, little angel. - Oh, am I? - Thanks, honey. Suppose I told you that your Iva hadn't been home many minutes when I arrived to break the news at 3:00 this morning? Are you telling me? She kept me waiting at the door while she undressed. Her clothes were on a chair where she'd dumped them, hat and coat underneath. Her slip, on top, was still warm. She'd wrinkled up the bed, but the wrinkles weren't mashed down. You're a detective, darling, but she didn't kill him. Do the police really think you shot this what's-his-name? Do they? Look at me, Sam. You worry me. You always think you know what you're doing, but you're too slick for your own good. Someday you're going to find it out. Spade and Archer. Yes, Miss Wonderly. Hello? Yeah, this is Sam Spade. Where? Coronet Apartments, California Avenue, apartment 1001. What's the name? Miss LeBlanc. Okay, I'll be right over. Have Miles' desk moved out of the office and have "Spade and Archer" taken off all the doors and windows and have "Samuel Spade" put on. Come in, Mr. Spade. Everything's upside down. I haven't finished unpacking. Sit down. Mr. Spade, I... I have a terrible, terrible confession to make. That story I told you yesterday was just a story. Oh, that. Well, we didn't exactly believe your story, Miss... What is your name, Wonderly or LeBlanc? It's really O'Shaughnessy. Brigid O'Shaughnessy. We didn't exactly believe your story, Miss O'Shaughnessy. - We believed your $200. - You mean that... I mean you paid us more than if you'd been telling us the truth and enough more to make it all right. Tell me, Mr. Spade, am I to blame for last night? You warned us that Thursby was dangerous. Of course, you lied to us about your sister and all that, but that didn't count. We didn't believe you. No, I wouldn't say that you were at fault. Thank you. Mr. Archer was so alive yesterday, - so solid and hearty, and... - Stop it. He knew what he was doing. Those are the chances we take. Was he married? Yeah, with $10,000 insurance, no children and a wife that didn't like him. - Please don't. - That's the way it was. Anyway, there's no time for worrying about that now. Out there's a flock of policemen and assistant district attorneys running around with their noses to the ground. Mr. Spade, do they know about me? Not yet. I've been stalling them until I could see you. Do they have to know about me? I mean, can't you shield me so that I won't have to answer their questions? Maybe, but I gotta know what it's all about. I can't tell you. I can't tell you now. I will later, when I can. You've got to trust me, Mr. Spade. I'm so alone and afraid. I've got nobody to help me if you won't help me. Be generous, Mr. Spade. You're brave. You're strong. You can spare me some of that courage and strength, surely. Help me, Mr. Spade. I need help so badly. I have no right to ask you. I know I haven't, but I do ask you. Help me. You won't need much of anybody's help. You're good. It's chiefly your eyes, I think, and that throb you get in your voice when you say things like, "Be generous, Mr. Spade." I deserve that. But the lie was in the way I said it, not at all in what I said. It's my own fault if you can't believe me now. Now you are dangerous. But I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to be of much help to you unless I've got some idea what it's all about. For instance, I've gotta have some sort of a line on your Floyd Thursby. I met him in the Orient. We came here from Hong Kong last week. He promised to help me. He took advantage of my dependence on him to betray me. Betray you? How? Why did you want him shadowed? I wanted to find out how far he'd gone, whom he was meeting, things like that. - Did he kill Archer? - Certainly. He had a Luger in his shoulder holster. Archer wasn't shot with a Luger. Mr. Spade, you don't think I had anything to do with the death of Mr. Archer? - Did you? - No. That's good. Floyd always carried an extra revolver in his overcoat pocket. Why all the guns? He lived by them. The story in Hong Kong is that he first came to the Orient as bodyguard to a gambler who'd had to leave the States. The gambler had since disappeared, and Floyd knew about the disappearance. I don't know. I do know he always went heavily armed, and that he never went to sleep without covering the floor around his bed with crumpled newspapers so that nobody could come silently into his room. You picked a nice sort of a playmate. Only that sort could have helped me, if he'd been loyal. - How bad a spot are you actually in? - Bad as could be. Physical danger? I'm not heroic. I don't think there's anything worse than death. - Then it's that? - It's that, as surely as we're sitting here. Unless you help me. Who killed Thursby, your enemies or his? I don't know. His, I suppose. I'm afraid. I don't know. This is hopeless. I don't know what you want done. I don't even know if you know what you want done. You won't go to the police? Go to them? All I got to do is stand still, and they'll be swarming all over me. All right, I'll tell them all I know, and you'll have to take your chances. You've been patient with me. You've tried to help me. It's useless and hopeless, I suppose. I do thank you for what you've done. I'll have to take my chances. - How much money have you got? - I've got about $500 left. Give it to me. - There's only $400 here. - I had to keep some to live on. - Well, can't you get some more? - No. Haven't you got anything you can raise some money on? - I've got some furs and a little jewelry. - You'll have to hock them. There you are. I'll be back as soon as I can with the best news I can manage. I'll ring four times, long, short, long, short. And no, you needn't bother to come to the door. I'll let myself in. Anything stirring? Did you send the flowers? You're invaluable, darling. Say, get my lawyer on the phone, will you? Hello, Sid? I think I'm going to have to tell a coroner to go to blazes, Sid. Hey, can I hide behind the sanctity of my client's identity, secrets and what-nots all the same, priest or lawyer? Yeah, I know, but Dundy's getting a little rambunctious, and maybe it is a bit thick this time. Yeah. What'll it cost to be on the safe side? Well, maybe it's worth it. Okay, go ahead. Gardenia. Quick, darling, in with him. Will you come in, Mr. Cairo? Will you sit down, Mr. Cairo? Thank you, sir. Now, what can I do for you, Mr. Cairo? May a stranger offer condolences for your partner's unfortunate death? Thanks. Is there, Mr. Spade, as the newspapers imply, a certain relationship between that unfortunate happening and the death a little later of the man Thursby? I beg your pardon. No. More than idle curiosity prompted my question. See, Mr. Spade, I'm trying to recover an ornament that, shall we say, has been mislaid. I thought and hoped you could assist me. The ornament is a statuette, a black figure of a bird. I am prepared to pay, on behalf of the figure's rightful owner, the sum of $5,000 for its recovery. I am prepared to promise that, what is the phrase? No questions will be asked. $5,000 is a lot of money. Yes, Effie? No, that'll be all. Just be sure to lock the door behind you on your way out. Good night. $5,000 is... You will clasp your hands together at the back of your neck. I intend to search your offices, Mr. Spade. I warn you, if you attempt to prevent me, I shall certainly shoot you. Go ahead and search. Will you please come to the center of the room? I have to make certain that you are not armed. PASSPORT Joel Cairo FRENCH REPUBLIC PASSPORT Look what you did to my shirt. Sorry. But imagine my embarrassment when I found out that $5,000 offer was just hooey. Mr. Spade, my offer is genuine. I am prepared to pay $5,000 for the figure's return. - Do you have it? - No. But if it isn't here, why did you risk serious injury to prevent my searching for it? Why should I sit around here and let people come in and stick me up? But certainly it is only natural that I try to save the owner such a considerable expense, if possible. Who is he? Mr. Spade, you'll forgive my not answering that question. Yeah, well, I think we'd be better off all around if we'd put our cards on the table. No, I do not think it would be better. You see, Mr. Spade, if you know more than I do, then I shall profit by your knowledge. So will you, to the extent of $5,000. There's nothing like $5,000 here. You want some assurance of my sincerity? - A retainer? Would that do? - It might. You will take, say, $100? No. I will take, say, $200. Now, let's see, your first guess was that I had the bird. There's nothing to that. What's your second guess? That you know where it is, or at least you know it is where you can get it. You're not hiring me to do any murders or burglaries, but simply to get it back if possible, in an honest, lawful way? If possible. But in any case, with discretion. When you wish to contact me, sir, I'm staying at the Hotel Belvedere, room 635. I sincerely expect the greatest mutual benefit from our association, Mr. Spade. May I please have my gun, now? Oh, sure. I'd forgotten all about it. Will you please clasp your hands together at the back of your neck? I intend to search your offices. Well, I'll be... Why, sure. Go ahead. I won't stop you. - Turn to the right and go up the hill, driver. - Okay. Mr. Spade. Do you bring any news? I mean, did you manage it so that the police won't have to know about me? Well, they won't for a while, anyway. You are wonderful. You won't get into any trouble, will you? I don't mind a reasonable amount of trouble. Do sit down. You aren't exactly the sort of a person you pretend to be, are you? Why, I'm not sure I know exactly what you mean. The schoolgirl manner. You know, blushing, stammering and all that. I haven't lived a good life. I've been bad. Worse than you could know. Yeah, well, that's good, because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we'd never get anywhere. I won't be innocent. Good. By the way, I saw Joel Cairo tonight. - Do you know him? - Only slightly. You're good. You're very good. - What did he say? - About what? - About me. - Nothing. - What did you talk about then? - He offered me $5,000 for the black bird. You're not going to go around the room straightening things and poking the fire again, are you? No, I'm not. - What did you say? - I said $5,000 was a lot of money. It is. It's more than I can ever offer you if I have to bid for your loyalty. That's good coming from you. What have you ever given me beside money? You ever given me any of your confidence, any of the truth? Haven't you tried to buy my loyalty with money and nothing else? What else is there I can buy you with? I don't care what your secrets are, but I can't go ahead without more confidence in you than I've got now. You've got to convince me that you know what this is all about, that you aren't just fiddling around, hoping it'll all come out right in the end. Can't you trust me a little longer? How much is a little? What are you waiting for? I've got to talk to Joel Cairo. You can see him tonight. He's at the theater. It'll be out soon. - I'll leave a message at his hotel. - He can't come here. I can't let him know where I am. I'm afraid. My place, then. Hello? - I want to leave a message for Joel Cairo. - All right. You know, I never would've placed myself in this position if I didn't trust you completely. That again? Do you know that's true, though? You don't have to trust me, so long as you can persuade me to trust you. But don't worry about that now. He'll be along any minute. You get your business with Cairo over with, then we'll see how we stand. And you'll let me go about it with him in my own way? Sure. You are a godsend. Well, now don't overdo it. Mr. Spade, there is a boy outside. He seems to be watching the house. Yeah, I know. I spotted him. What? What's that? What boy? I don't know. A kid. He's been trailing me all evening. - Did he follow you to my apartment? - No. I shook him long before that. Come in, Mr. Cairo. - I'm delighted to see you again, madam. - I was sure you would be, Joel. Mr. Spade told me about your offer for the Falcon. - How soon can you have the money ready? - The money is ready. - In cash? - Yes. You're ready to pay $5,000 if we turn over the Falcon to you? Excuse me, please. I must have expressed myself badly. I did not mean to say that I have the money in my pocket, but that I am ready to get it for you on a few minutes' notice, anytime during banking hours. That's probably true. He only had a couple of hundred on him when I searched him late this afternoon at my office. I shall be able to have the money for you at, say, 10:30 in the morning. But I haven't got the Falcon. I'll have it in another week at the most, though. Then where is it? - Where Floyd hid it. - Floyd hid... And you know where he hid it? Then why do we have to wait a week? Perhaps not a whole week. And why, if I may ask another question, are you willing to sell it to me? Because I'm afraid. After what happened to Floyd, I'm afraid to touch it, except to turn it over to somebody else. What exactly did happen to Floyd? The fat man. Fat man. - Is he here? - I don't know. I suppose so. What difference does it make? It might make a world of difference. Or you or me. Precisely. But, shall we add, more certainly the boy outside? Yes. But you might be able to get around him, Joel, as you did the one in Istanbul. What was his name? You mean the one you couldn't get to come to... This is the second time that you have laid hands on me. When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it. Who's that? I don't know. Keep quiet. Hello. You guys pick swell hours to do your visiting in. - What is it this time? - We want to talk to you, Spade. Well, go ahead and talk. We don't have to do it out here in the hall, do we, Sam? - You can't come in. - Come off it now, Sam. You aren't trying to strong-arm me, are you, Tom? Why don't you be reasonable? It would pay you to play along with us a little, Spade. You got away with this, and you got away with that, but you can't keep it up forever. - Stop me when you can. - That's what I intend to do. There's talk going around about you and Archer's wife. - Is there anything to it? - Not a thing. The talk is that she tried to get a divorce from him so she could put in with you, and he wouldn't give it to her. - Anything to that? - No. There's even talk that that's why he was put on the spot. Don't be a hog, Dundy. Your first idea that I killed Thursby because he killed Miles falls to pieces if you blame me for killing Miles, too. You haven't heard me say you killed anybody. You're the one that keeps bringing that up. Haven't you anything better to do than to keep popping in here early every morning, asking a lot of fool questions? - And getting a lot of lying answers. - Take it easy. If you say there's nothing between you and Archer's wife, you're a liar and I'm telling you so. Is that the hot tip that brought you up here at this ungodly hour of the night? That's one of them. And the other? Let us in. All right, Spade, we'll go. Maybe you're right in bucking us. Think it over. Help! - I guess we're going in. - I guess you are. What's going on in here? Look, Officer! Look what she did! - Did you do that? - I had to. I was alone in here with him. He tried to attack me. I had to keep him off. I couldn't bring myself to shoot him. You dirty, filthy liar! You... It isn't true! I came up here in good faith, and then both of them attacked me. And then when he went out to talk to you, he left her here with a pistol. And she said as soon as you leave, they are going to kill me, so I called for help because I didn't want you to leave me and be murdered. And then she struck me with a pistol! Why don't you make him tell the truth? Behave yourself, sister. That's no way to act. Well, Tom, I don't guess we'll be wrong running the lot of them in. Don't be in a hurry, boys. Everything can be explained. I'll bet. Miss O'Shaughnessy, may I present Lieutenant Dundy and Detective Sergeant Polhaus? Miss O'Shaughnessy is an operative in my employ since yesterday. That's a lie, too. That is Mr. Joel Cairo. Cairo was an acquaintance of Thursby's. He came into my office late this afternoon and hired me to find something that Thursby was supposed to have on him when he was bumped off. It looked funny to me the way he put it, so I wouldn't touch it. Then he pulled a gun on me. Well, that's neither here nor there, unless we start preferring charges against each other. Anyway, Miss O'Shaughnessy and I discussed the matter, and we decided to find out exactly how much he knew about Miles' and Thursby's killings, so we asked him to come up here. Now, maybe we did put the questions to him a little roughly. You know how that is, Lieutenant. But we didn't hurt him enough to make him cry for help. - Well, what have you got to say to that? - I don't know what to say. Try telling the facts. - What? Facts? - Quit stalling. All you have to do is swear out a complaint they took a poke at you, and I'll throw them in the can. Go ahead, Cairo. Tell him, he'll do it. Then we'll swear out a complaint against you, and he'll have the lot of us. Get your hats. Well, boys and girls, we put it over nicely. Go on, get your hats. Don't you know when you're being kidded? No, but that can wait till we get down to the hall. Wake up, Dundy, you're being kidded. When I heard the buzzer, I said to Miss O'Shaughnessy and Cairo here, I said, "There's the police again. They're getting to be a nuisance. "When you hear them going, one of you scream, "and then we'll see how far along we can string them until they tumble." Stop it, Sam! That cut on his head. How did that get there? - Ask him. Maybe he cut himself shaving. - The cut? No. When we pretended to be struggling for the gun, I fell over the carpet. I fell. Horsefeathers. Take him along, anyway, for packing a gun. Don't be a sap. That gun was a plant. It was one of mine. It's too bad it was only a .25, or maybe you could prove that was the gun that Miles and Thursby were shot with. - No, Sam! No! - Well, then get him out of here. - Get their names and addresses. - My name is Joel Cairo, Hotel Belvedere. Miss O'Shaughnessy's address is my office. - Where do you live? - Get him out of here! I've had enough... Now, now. Take it easy, will you, Sam? Is that all you want, Lieutenant? - Yeah. - I think I'll be going now. What's the hurry, Cairo? There is no hurry. It's getting quite late, and... Tell him to leave the gun. I hope you know what you're doing, Sam. You're absolutely the wildest, most unpredictable person I've ever known. Do you always carry on so highhanded? Well, you've had your talk with Cairo. Now you can talk to me. Yes, of course. I'm listening. I'm still listening. - Look at the time. I must be going. - No. Not till you've told me all about it. Am I a prisoner? Maybe the boy outside hasn't gone home yet. Do you suppose he's still there? Likely. You can start now. You are the most insistent person. And wild and unpredictable, huh? Say, what's this bird, this Falcon that everybody's all steamed up about? Supposing I wouldn't tell you anything about it at all? What would you do? Something wild and unpredictable? I might. It's a black figure, as you know, smooth and shiny, of a bird, a hawk or falcon, about that high. Here. - What makes it so important? - I don't know. They wouldn't tell me. They offered me 500 if I'd help them get it away from the man who had it. That was in Istanbul? Marmara. Go ahead. But that's all. They promised me 500 if I'd help them, and I did. Then we found out that Joel Cairo intended to desert us, taking the Falcon with him and leaving Floyd and me nothing. So we did exactly that to him. Then I wasn't any better off than I was before, because Floyd hadn't any intention of keeping his promise to me about sharing equally. I'd learned that by the time we got here. What's the bird made of? Porcelain or black stone. I don't know. I only saw it once for a few minutes. Floyd showed it to me when we first got hold of it. You are a liar. I am. I've always been a liar. Don't brag about it. Was there any truth at all in that yarn? Some. Not very much. Well, we got all night. Coffee'll be ready soon. We'll have a cup and try again. I'm so tired. So tired of lying and making up lies. Not knowing what is a lie and what's the truth. I wish... I want to talk to Mr. Cairo, Joel Cairo. Thanks. Where is he? - What? - Where is he? - Who? - Cairo. What do you think you're doing, Jack, kidding me? I'll tell you when I am. New York, aren't you? Shove off. You're gonna have to talk to me before you're through, sonny. Some of you will, and you can tell the fat man I said so. Keep asking for it and you're gonna get it, plenty. I told you to shove off. Shove off. People lose teeth talking like that. You want to hang around, you'll be polite. Luke. - Hello, Sam. - Hello, Luke. Say, that was too bad about Miles. Yeah. It was a tough break. I want to show you something. What do you let these cheap gunmen hang around the lobby for, with their heaters bulging in their clothes? What do you want here? Well, if you don't want anything, beat it and don't come back. I won't forget you guys. - What is it? - I don't know. I just spotted him. - Say, what about Miles? - I'll see you, Luke. - 603. - Yes, sir. Good morning. - Good morning. - There you are, sir. Let's go someplace where we can talk. No. Our private conversations have not been such that I'm anxious to continue them. Forgive my speaking so bluntly, but it is the truth. You mean last night? What else could I do? I had to throw in with her. I don't know where the bird is, and neither do you. She does. How're we gonna get it if I don't play along with her? You always have a very smooth explanation ready, huh? What do you want me to do? Learn to stutter? Dundy take you down to the station? How long did they work on you? Till a little while ago. - What'd they shake out of you? - Shake out? Not one thing. I adhered to the course you indicated earlier in your rooms, but I certainly wish you would have invented a more reasonable story. I felt distinctly like an idiot repeating it. Don't worry about the story's goofiness. A sensible one would have had us all in the cooler. - You sure you didn't tell them anything? - I did not. Now, you'll want sleep if you've been standing up under a police grilling all night. - See you later. - No, not yet. Yes, I'll have him call you the minute he comes in. That's the third time she's called this morning. - Miss O'Shaughnessy's in there. - Anything else? The district attorney's office called. Bryan would like to see you. And a Mr. Gutman called. And when I told him you weren't in, he said, "Would you please tell him that "the young man gave me his message, and that I phoned and will phone again?" Gutman, huh? Thanks, darling. Darling. Somebody's been in my apartment. It's all upside down, every which way. I changed as fast as I could and came right over here. You must have let that boy follow you there. No, angel. I shook him off long before I ever went to your place. It might have been Cairo. He wasn't at the hotel last night. He told me he'd been standing up under a police grilling. I wonder. - You saw Joel this morning? - Yeah. Why? Because, my own true love, I've got to keep in some sort of touch with all the loose ends of this dizzy affair if I'm ever gonna make heads or tails of it. Now we've got to find a new home for you. I won't go back there. I got an idea. Wait a minute. What does your woman's intuition tell you about her? She's all right. Maybe it's her own fault for being in whatever the trouble is, but she's all right, if that's what you mean. That's what I mean. Are you strong enough for her to put her up for a few days? - You mean at home? - Yeah. - Is she in any danger, Sam? - I think she is. Gee, that'd scare Mom into a green hemorrhage. I'd have to say she's a surprise witness or something you're keeping undercover until the last minute. You're a darling. Brigid. Effie here has offered to put you up for a few days. That's very kind of you. You'd better start now. Go out the back entrance. There's usually a cab parked there by the alleyway. You ride partway with her over the bridge and make sure you're not followed. You better change cabs a couple of times, just to be on the safe side. I'll give Mom a ring. There's time enough for that when you get back. I'll call you later. Hello? This is Samuel Spade. Say, my secretary tells me Mr. Bryan wants to see me. Yeah. Ask him what time's most convenient for him. Spade. S-P-A-D-E. Hello, honey. Yeah. Sam, forgive me. Please forgive me. I sent those policemen to your place last night. I was mad, crazy with jealousy. I phoned that if they went there, they'd learn something about Miles' murder. - What made you think of that? - I was mad, Sam. I wanted to hurt you. Did you tell them who you were when you phoned? - No. Sam, dearest, I... - Where'd you phone from? The drugstore across from your place. You better hurry along home and think of something to tell the police. You'll be hearing from them, and by the way, where were you the night Miles was murdered? Home. - I was. - No. But if that's your story, it's all right with me. Now you run along. Hello? Yeah, this is Spade. Yes, Mr. Gutman, I got it. Yeah, I've been waiting to hear from you. Well, now. The sooner, the better. Say, 15 minutes? Right. - Mr. Spade. - How do you do, Mr. Gutman? You begin well, sir. I distrust a man who says "when." He's got to be careful not to drink too much, because he's not to be trusted when he does. Well, sir, here's to plain speaking and clear understanding. - You're a close-mouthed man? - No, I like to talk. Better and better. I distrust a close-mouthed man. He generally picks the wrong time to talk and says the wrong things. Talking's something you can't do judiciously unless you keep in practice. Now, sir. We'll talk, if you like. I'll tell you right out. I'm a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk. Swell. Will we talk about the black bird? You're a man for me, sir. No beating about the bush. Right to the point. Let's talk about the black bird, by all means. But first, sir, answer me a question. Are you here as Miss O'Shaughnessy's representative? Well, there's nothing certain either way. It depends. It depends on? Maybe it depends on Joel Cairo. Maybe. The question is then which you represent. It'll be one or the other. I didn't say so. - Who else is there? - There's me. That's wonderful, sir, wonderful. I do like a man who tells you right out he's looking out for himself. Don't we all? I don't trust a man who says he's not. Now, let's talk about the black bird. Let's. Mr. Spade, have you any conception of how much money can be got for that black bird? No. Well, sir, if I told you, if I told you half, you'd call me a liar. No, not even if I thought so. But you tell me what it is, and I'll figure out the profit. You mean, you don't know what the bird is? I know what it's supposed to look like, and I know the value in human life you people put on it. She didn't tell you what it is? - Cairo didn't, either? - He offered me $10,000 for it. $10,000. Dollars, mind you, not even pounds. Do they know what that bird is, sir? What is your impression? There's not very much to go by. Cairo didn't say he did, and he didn't say he didn't. She said she didn't, but I took it for granted she was lying. Not an injudicious thing to do. If they don't know, I'm the only one in the whole wide sweet world who does. Swell. When you've told me, that'll make two of us. Mathematically correct, sir, but I don't know for certain that I'm going to tell you. Don't be foolish. You know what it is. I know where it is. That's why I'm here. Well, sir, where is it? You see, I must tell you what I know, but you won't tell me what you know. It's hardly equitable, sir. No, no. I don't think we can do business along those lines. Well, think again, and think fast! I told that gunsel of yours you'd have to talk to me before you're through! I'm telling you now, you'll talk to me today, or you are through! What are you wasting my time for? I can get along without you! And another thing, keep that gunsel out of my way while you're making up your mind. I'll kill him if you don't! I'll kill him! Well, sir, I must say you have a most violent temper. Think it over. You've got till 5:00. Then you're either in or out, for keeps! - Who killed Thursby? - I don't know. Perhaps you don't, but you could make an excellent guess. My guess might be excellent or it might be crummy, but Mrs. Spade didn't raise any children dippy enough to make guesses in front of a district attorney, an assistant district attorney and a stenographer. Why shouldn't you, if you've nothing to conceal? Everybody has something to conceal. I'm a sworn officer of the law, and neither formality nor informality justifies you withholding evidence of crime from me except, of course, on constitutional grounds. Now, both you and the police have as much as accused me of being mixed up in the other night's murders. Well, I've had trouble with both of you before, and as far as I can see, my best chance of clearing myself of the trouble you're trying to make for me is by bringing in the murderers all tied up. And the only chance I've got of catching them and tying them up and bringing them in is by staying as far away as possible from you and the police, because you'd only gum up the works. You getting this all right, son, or am I going too fast for you? - No, sir. I'm getting it all right. - Good work. Now, if you want to go to the board and tell them I'm obstructing justice and ask them to revoke my license, hop to it. You tried it before, and it didn't get you anything but a good laugh all around. - Now, look here. - And I don't want any more informal talks. I've nothing to say to you or the police, and I'm tired of being called things by every crackpot on the city payroll. So, if you want to see me pinch me or subpoena me or something, and I'll come down with my lawyer. I'll see you at the inquest, maybe. Come on. He wants to see you. I didn't expect you till 5:25. I hope I haven't kept you waiting. Keep on riding me, they're gonna be picking iron out of your liver. The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter, huh? Now, let's go. Come on. This'll put you in solid with your boss. Come in, sir. Thank you for coming. Come in. Here. You shouldn't let him go around with these on him. He might get himself hurt. Well, well, what's this? A crippled newsie took them away from him. I made him give them back. By gad, sir, you're a chap worth knowing. An amazing character. Give me your hat. Sit down. - I owe you an apology, sir. - Now, never mind that. Let's talk about the black bird. All right, sir, let's. Let's. This is going to be the most astounding thing you've ever heard of, sir. And I say this knowing that a man of your caliber and your profession must have known some astounding things in his time. What do you know, sir, about the Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, later known as the Knights of Rhodes and other things? - Crusaders or something, weren't they? - Very good. Sit down. In 1539, these crusading Knights persuaded Emperor Charles V to give them the island of Malta. He made but one condition, that they pay him each year the tribute of a falcon in acknowledgement that Malta was still under Spain. Do you follow me? Have you any conception of the extreme, the immeasurable wealth of the Order of that time? I imagine they were pretty well fixed. "Pretty well" is putting it mildly. They were rolling in wealth, sir. For years they'd taken from the East nobody knows what spoils of gems, precious metals, silks, ivory, sir. We all know the holy wars to them were largely a matter of loot. The Knights were profoundly grateful to the Emperor Charles for his generosity toward them. They hit upon the happy thought of sending him, for his first year's tribute, not an insignificant live bird but a glorious golden falcon crusted from head to foot with the finest jewels in their coffers. Well, sir, - what do you think of that? - I don't know. These are facts, historical facts, not schoolbook history, not Mr. Wells' history, but history, nevertheless. They sent this foot-high jeweled bird to Charles, who was then in Spain. They sent it in a galley commanded by a member of the Order. It never reached Spain. A famous admiral of buccaneers took the Knights' galley and the bird. In 1713, it turned up in Sicily. In 1840, it appeared in Paris. It had, by that time, acquired a coat of black enamel, so that it looked nothing more than a fairly interesting black statuette. In that disguise, sir, it was, as you may say, kicked around Paris for over three score years by private owners too stupid to see what it was under the skin. Then, in 1923, a Greek dealer named Charilaos Konstantinides found it in an obscure shop. No thickness of enamel could conceal value from his eyes. - You begin to believe me a little? - I haven't said I didn't. Well, sir, to hold it safe while pursuing his researches into its history, Charilaos re-enameled the bird. Despite this precaution, however, I got wind of his find. If I'd only known a few days sooner. I was in London when I heard. I packed a bag, got on the boat train immediately. On the train I opened the paper, The Times, and read that Charilaos's establishment had been burglarized and him murdered. Sure enough, on arriving there, I discovered the bird was gone. That was 17 years ago. Well, sir, it took me 17 years to locate that bird, but I did. I wanted it. I'm a man not easily discouraged when I want something. I traced it to the home of a Russian general, one Kemidov, in an Istanbul suburb. He didn't know a thing about it. It was nothing but a black-enameled figure to him, but his natural contrariness kept him from selling it to me when I made him an offer. So I sent him some agents to get it. Well, sir, they got it and I haven't got it. But I'm going to get it. Your glass. Then the bird doesn't really belong to any of you, but to a General Kemidov? Well, sir, you might as well say it belonged to the King of Spain. I don't see how you can honestly grant anyone else a clear title to it except by right of possession. And now, sir, before we start to talk prices, how soon can you or how soon are you willing to produce the Falcon? - A couple of days. - That is satisfactory. Well, sir, here's to a fair bargain. Profits large enough for both of us. What's your idea of a fair bargain? I will give you $25,000 when you deliver the Falcon to me and another $25,000 later on. Or I will give you one quarter of what I realize on the Falcon. That would amount to a vastly greater sum. - How much greater? - Who knows? Shall we say $100,000? Would you believe me if I name a sum that seems the probable minimum? Why not? What would you say to a quarter of a million? Then you think the dingus is worth a million, huh? In your own words, why not? - That's a lot of dough. - A lot of dough. Minimum, huh? What's the maximum? The maximum, I refuse to guess. You'd think me crazy. I don't know. There's no telling how high it could go, sir. That is the one and only truth about it. Wilmer! Hello, Effie. It's me. Let me talk to Miss O'Shaughnessy. Isn't there? What? She didn't show up? Listen, you get on back to the office and wait there till I come or you hear from me. Yeah, let's do something right for a change. It started in the hold aft, in the rear basement. What insurance was she carrying? - Anybody burnt? - No. Only the harbor watch was aboard! - Someone I know came... - Huh? Someone I know came aboard this afternoon, and I haven't seen her since. I'm worried. No reason to be, mister. Everybody got off all right. I wonder if you saw her. She's kind of small, about 5-foot... I couldn't tell you, mister. But if she come aboard, she got off all right. Only the harbor watch was aboard when the fire started. Now you know as much about it as I do, precious. Maybe they went down to the ship. Maybe they didn't. The part about the bird is thrilling. Or ridiculous. You know. Falcon. Lock that door. Is... - Is he... - Yeah. He couldn't have come far with those holes in him. Why couldn't he have stayed alive long enough to tell us something? Here, here, here, none of that now. Come on. - You can't pass out on me now. - All right, Sam. Do you really think it's... - We've got it, angel, we've got it! - You're hurting me. Answer the phone. Hello. Yes. Who? Oh, yes. Where? Yes, yes. Hello? Hello! Hello! That was Miss O'Shaughnessy. She wants you. She's in danger. - Where is she? - Burlingame, 26 Ancho. Sam, her voice, it was awful. And something happened to her before she could finish. Go help her, Sam! You've got to go to her, don't you see? He was helping her, and they killed him... You've got to go, Sam! All right, I'll go. Now, after I've gone, you phone the police. Tell them how it happened, but don't drag any names in. You don't know. I got the phone call and told you I had to go, but I didn't say where. Now forget about this thing. Tell them how it happened, but without the bundle. Now get that straight. Everything happened exactly as it did happen, but without the bundle, and I got the phone call, not you. - Yes, Sam. - Okay. Shut this door and lock it behind me and don't open it till the police come. Do you know who he is? Yeah, it's Captain Jacoby, master of the La Paloma. You're a good man, sister. - Can I borrow your pencil? - Sure. - Say, Frank? - Hello, Mr. Spade. - You got plenty of gas? - Sure thing. Do you know where Ancho Street or Avenue is in Burlingame? Nope, but if she's there, we can find her. Well, 26 is the number and the sooner the better. All right. Keep your motor running. - Bum steer, Mr. Spade? - Yeah. Let's get to a phone booth. Hello, Mrs. Perine? Is Effie there? Yes, please. Hello, precious. What's the good news? No, no. It was a bum steer. Are you sure that was her voice? Well, it was hooey. Everything go all right? Nothing said about the bundle, huh? That's swell. They take you down to the hall? All right, precious. You better hit the hay and get a good night's rest. You sound all in. No, no. Save it till tomorrow. I'm going on home. - Thanks. Good night, Frank. - Good night, Mr. Spade. I've been hiding in a doorway up the street. I thought you'd never come. Can you make it all right, or shall I carry you? I'll be all right as soon as I can get some place where I can lie down. Well, sir, we're all here. Now, let's come in and sit down and be comfortable and talk. Sure. - Get away. You're not gonna frisk me. - Stand still. Shut up. Take your paws off me, or I'll make you use that gun. Ask your boss if he wants me shot up before we talk. Never mind, Wilmer. You certainly are a most headstrong individual. Well, let's be seated. Are you ready to make the first payment and take the Falcon off my hands? Well, sir, as to that... As to that... $10,000? We were talking about a lot more money than this. Yes, sir, we were. But this is genuine coin of the realm. With a dollar of this, you can buy $10 of talk. And there are more of us to be taken care of now. That may be, but I've got the Falcon. I shouldn't think it would be necessary to remind you, Mr. Spade, that you may have the Falcon, but we certainly have you. Yeah, I'm trying not to let that worry me. We'll get back to the money later on. There's something else to be discussed first. We've got to have a fall guy. The police have got to have a victim, somebody they can pin those three murders on. Three? But there's only two, because Thursby certainly killed your partner. All right. Only two then. What difference does it make? The point is, we've got to give the police... Come, come, Mr. Spade, you can't expect us to believe at this late date that you're the least bit afraid of the police, - or that you're not quite able to handle... - I'm in this up to my neck, Gutman. I've got to find somebody, a victim, when the time comes. If I don't, I'll be it. Let's give them the gunsel. He actually did shoot Thursby and Jacoby, didn't he? Anyway, he's made to order for the part. Look at him. Let's give him to them. By gad, sir, you are a character. That you are. There's never any telling what you'll say or do next, except that it's bound to be something astonishing. Why, it's our best bet. With him in their hands... But, my dear man, can't you see that if I, even for a moment, thought of doing such a thing... That's ridiculous. I feel towards Wilmer here just exactly as if he were my own son. Really, I do. But if I even for a moment thought of doing what you propose, what in the world would keep Wilmer from telling the police every last detail about the Falcon and all... Let him talk his head off. I'll guarantee you nobody'll do anything about it. Well, what do you think of this, Wilmer? Mighty funny. Mighty funny. How do you feel now? Any better, precious? Much better. But I'm frightened. Well, don't be. Nothing very bad's going to happen here. You want a drink, angel? Be careful, Sam. Well? If you're really serious about this, the least we can do in common politeness is to hear you out. Now, how would you be able to fix it so that Wilmer couldn't do us any harm? I can show Bryan, our district attorney, that if he goes around trying to collect everybody, he's gonna have a tangled case, but if he sticks to Wilmer here, he can get a conviction standing on his head. Get up on your feet. I've taken all the riding from you I'm gonna take. Get up and shoot it out! Young Wild West. Maybe you'd better tell him that shooting me before you get your hands on the Falcon is gonna be bad for business. Now, now, Wilmer. We can't have any of that. You shouldn't let yourself attach so much importance to these things. Then tell him to lay off me then. Now, Wilmer... Your plan is not at all satisfactory, sir. Let's not say anything more about it. All right. I've got another suggestion. It may not be as good as the first one, but it's better than nothing. - You want to hear it? - Most assuredly. Give them Cairo. Well, by gad, sir... And suppose we give them you or Miss O'Shaughnessy? How about that? You want the Falcon. I've got it. The fall guy's part of the price I'm asking. As for Miss O'Shaughnessy, if you think she can be rigged for the part, I'm perfectly willing to discuss it with you. You seem to forget that you are not in a position at all to insist upon anything. Now, come, gentlemen. Let's keep our discussion on a friendly basis. There certainly is something in what Mr. Cairo said. If you kill me, how are you gonna get the bird? And if I know you can't afford to kill me, how are you going to scare me into giving it to you? Sir, there are other means of persuasion besides killing and threatening to kill. Yes, that's... That's true. But they're none of them any good unless the threat of death is behind them. You see what I mean? If you start something, I'll make it a matter of your having to kill me or call it off. That's an attitude, sir, that calls for the most delicate judgment on both sides. Because, as you know, sir, in the heat of action, men are likely to forget where their best interests lie and let their emotions carry them away. Then the trick from my angle is to make my play strong enough to tie you up, but not make you mad enough to bump me off against your better judgment. By gad, sir, you are a character. Six-two uneven. They're selling you out, sonny. I hope you're not letting yourself be influenced by the guns these pocket-edition desperadoes are waving around. Because I've practiced taking guns away from these boys before, so we'll have no trouble there. - Wilmer, here is... - All right. Wilmer. Wilmer! Wilmer! There's our fall guy. Either you'll say yes right now, or I'll turn the Falcon and the whole lot of you in. Don't like that, sir. You won't like it. Well? You can have him. I won't be able to get the Falcon till daylight, or maybe later. It strikes me it'd be best for all concerned if we did not get out of each other's sight until our business has been transacted. You have the envelope? Miss O'Shaughnessy has it. That's all right. Hang on to it. We don't have to lose sight of each other. The dingus'll be brought to us here. Excellent, sir, excellent. And in exchange for the $10,000 and Wilmer, you'll give us the Falcon and an hour or two of grace. Now, let's get the details fixed, first. Why did he shoot Thursby and why, where and how did he shoot Captain Jacoby? You see, I've got to know all that happened, so I can be sure the parts that don't fit are covered up. I shall be candid with you, sir. Thursby was Miss O'Shaughnessy's ally. We believed that disposing of him in the manner we did would cause Miss O'Shaughnessy to stop and think that, perhaps, it would be best to patch up her differences with us regarding the Falcon. Then you didn't try to make a deal with him before giving him the works? We did. Yes, sir. We most certainly did. I talked to him myself that very night, but I could do nothing with him. He was quite determinedly loyal to Miss O'Shaughnessy. So Wilmer followed him back to the hotel and did what he did. That sounds all right. Now, Jacoby. Captain Jacoby's death was entirely Miss O'Shaughnessy's fault. Tell me what happened. Well, Cairo, as you must have surmised, got in touch with me after he left police headquarters yesterday night or morning. He recognized the mutual advantage of pooling forces. Mr. Cairo is a man of nice judgment. The Paloma was his thought. He saw the notice of its arrival in the papers and remembered he had heard in Hong Kong that Jacoby and Miss O'Shaughnessy were seen together. Well, sir, he saw that notice and, putting two and two together, guessed the truth. She had given the bird to Jacoby to bring here for her. And at that juncture, you decided to slip me a Mickey, huh? There was no place for you in our plan, sir. So we decided to spare ourselves any possible embarrassment. Mr. Cairo and Wilmer and I went to call on Captain Jacoby. We were lucky enough to arrive while Miss O'Shaughnessy was there. In many ways, the conference was difficult, but we finally persuaded Miss O'Shaughnessy to come to terms, or so we thought. We then left the boat and set out for my hotel, where I was to pay Miss O'Shaughnessy and receive the bird. Well, sir, we mere men should have known better. En route, she, Captain Jacoby and the Falcon slipped completely through our fingers. It was neatly done, sir. Indeed, it was. You touched off the boat before you left? No, not intentionally. Though, I daresay, we, or Wilmer at least, were responsible for the fire. While the rest of us were talking in the cabin, Wilmer went about the boat, trying to find the Falcon. No doubt, he was careless with matches. How about the shooting? We caught up with Miss O'Shaughnessy and Jacoby at her apartment. I sent Wilmer downstairs to cover the fire escape before ringing the bell. And, sure enough, while she was asking us who we were through the door, and we were telling her, we heard a window go up. Wilmer shot Jacoby as he was coming down the fire escape, shot him more than once, but Jacoby was too tough to fall or drop the Falcon. He climbed down the rest of the way, knocked Wilmer over and ran off. We persuaded, that is the word, sir, we persuaded Miss O'Shaughnessy to tell us where she had told Captain Jacoby to take the Falcon. And we further persuaded her to phone your office in an attempt to draw you away before Jacoby got there, but, unfortunately for us, it had taken us too long to persuade Miss O'Shaughnessy. And you had the Falcon before we could reach you. Well, Wilmer, I'm sorry indeed to lose you, but I want you to know I couldn't be fonder of you if you were my own son. But, well, if you lose a son, it's possible to get another. There's only one Maltese Falcon. When you're young, you simply don't understand these things. How about some coffee? Put the pot on, will you, angel? I don't like to leave our guests. Surely. Just a moment, my dear. Hadn't you better leave the envelope in here? Sit on it, if you're afraid of losing it. You misunderstand me. It's not that at all. But business should be transacted in a businesslike manner. For instance, there are only nine bills here now. There were 10 when I handed them to you, as you very well know. Well? I want to know about this. You palmed it. - I palmed it? - Yes. Do you want to say so, or do you want to stand for a frisk? You're going to admit it, or I'm gonna search you. There's no third way. By gad, I believe you would. I really do. You are a character, if you don't mind my saying so. You palmed it. Yes, sir, that I did. I must have my little joke now and then. And I was curious to know what you would do in a situation of this sort. I must say you passed the test with flying colors. It's the sort of a thing I'd expect from somebody Wilmer's age. This will soon be yours. You might as well take it. I ought to have more than $10,000. Of course, sir. You understand this is the first payment. Later. Oh, yes. Later you'll give me millions, but how's about $15,000 now? Frankly and candidly, upon my word of honor as a gentleman, $10,000 is all the money I can raise. But you didn't say positively. Positively. I'd like to give you a word of advice. Go ahead. I daresay you're going to give her some money, but if you don't give her as much as she thinks she ought to have, my word of advice is be careful. Dangerous? Very. - How's the coffee coming, angel? - In a few minutes. It's almost daylight, Mr. Spade. Can you start getting it now? I guess so. Hello? Hello, precious. I'm sorry to get you up so early. Now, listen carefully. Here's the plot. In the holland box at the post office there's an envelope with my scrawl. In that envelope, there's a parcel-room check for the bundle we got yesterday. Now, get that bundle and bring it here, PDQ. That's a good girl. Now hustle. Goodbye. Thanks, lady. Sorry to spoil your day of rest. Not the first one you've spoiled. Anything else? - No. No, thanks. - Bye-bye, then. There you are. Now, after 17 years... It is it. But we'll make sure. Fake. It's a phony! It's lead! It's lead! It's a fake! All right, you've had your little joke. Now, tell us about it. No, Sam! No! That's the one I got from Kemidov. I swear it! You. It's you who bungled it. You and your stupid attempt to buy it! Kemidov found out how valuable it was! No wonder we had such an easy time stealing it! You imbecile! You bloated idiot! You stupid fathead, you! Yes, it's the Russian's hand. There's no doubt about it. Well, sir, what do you suggest? We stand here and shed tears and call each other names, or shall we go to Istanbul? Are you going? Seventeen years I've wanted that little item and have been trying to get it. If we must spend another year on the quest, well, sir, it will be an additional expenditure in time of only five and fifteen-seventeenths percent. I'm going with you. Wilmer. A swell lot of thieves. We've little enough to boast about, sir, but the world hasn't come to an end just because we've run into a little setback. - I must ask you for that envelope. - I held up my end. You got your dingus. It's your hard luck, not mine, it wasn't what you wanted. Now, come, sir, we've all failed, and there's no reason for expecting any of us to bear the whole brunt. In short, sir, I must ask you for my $10,000. This'll take care of my time and expenses. Now, sir, we'll say goodbye to you, unless you care to undertake the Istanbul expedition with us. You don't? Well, frankly, sir, I'd like to have you along. You're a man of nice judgment and many resources. Now that there's no alternative, I daresay you'll manage the police without a fall guy. I'll make out all right. Well, sir, the shortest farewells are best. Adieu. And to you, Miss O'Shaughnessy, I leave the rara avis on the table there as a little memento. Hello. Is Sergeant Polhaus there? Yeah. Put him on. This is Sam Spade. Hello. Tom? Now, listen. I've got something for you. Here it is. Jacoby and Thursby were killed by a kid named Wilmer Cook. Yeah. He's about 20 years old, 5'6", wearing a gray overcoat. He's working for a man named Kasper Gutman. Now, you can't miss Gutman. He must weigh 300 pounds. That fellow Cairo's in with him, too. They just left here for the Alexandria Hotel. But you'll have to move fast. They're blowing town. Now, watch yourself when you go up against the kid. Yes, that's right. Very. Now, good luck, Tom. They'll talk, when they're nailed, about us. We're sitting on dynamite. We've only got minutes to get set for the police. Now, give me all of it, fast. When you first came to my office, why did you want Thursby shadowed? I told you, Sam. I thought he was betraying me, and I wanted to find out. That's a lie! You had Thursby hooked, and you knew it, and you wanted to get rid of him before Jacoby came with the loot, so you wouldn't have to split it with him. Isn't that so? What was your scheme? I thought if he knew someone was following him, he'd be frightened into going away. Miles wasn't clumsy enough to be spotted the first night. You told Thursby he was being followed. I told him. I told him. Yes, but please believe me, Sam. I wouldn't have told him if I thought Floyd would kill him. If you thought he wouldn't kill Miles, you were right, angel. Miles hadn't many brains, but he'd had too many years experience as a detective to be caught like that by a man he was shadowing up a blind alley with his gun on his hip and his overcoat buttoned. But he'd have gone up there with you, angel. He was just dumb enough for that. He'd have looked you up and down, and licked his lips and gone, grinning from ear to ear. And you could have stood as close to him as you liked in the dark and put a hole through him with a gun you got from Thursby that evening. Don't, Sam. Don't say that! Stop it! The police'll be here any minute! Now talk! Why do you accuse me... This isn't the time for that schoolgirl act! We're both of us sitting under the gallows! Now, why did you shoot Miles? I didn't mean to at first, really, I didn't. But when I found out that Floyd couldn't be frightened... I can't look at you and tell you this, Sam! You thought Thursby would tackle Miles and one or the other would go down. If Thursby was killed, you were rid of him. If it was Miles, you'd see that Thursby was caught and set up for it. - Isn't that right? - Something like that. When you found that Thursby wasn't going to tackle him, you borrowed his gun and did it yourself, right? And when you heard Thursby was shot, you knew Gutman was in town. And you knew you needed another protector, somebody to fill Thursby's boots, so you came back to me. Yes! Sweetheart, it wasn't only that. I'd have come back to you, sooner or later. From the very first instant I saw you, I knew. Well, if you get a good break, you'll be out of Tehachapi in 20 years, and you can come back to me then. I hope they don't hang you, precious, by that sweet neck. - You're not... - Yes, angel, I'm gonna send you over. The chances are you'll get off with life. That means, if you're a good girl, you'll be out in 20 years. I'll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I'll always remember you. Don't, Sam. Don't say that, even in fun. I was frightened for a minute. I really thought... You do such wild and unpredictable things. Now, don't be silly. You're taking the fall. You've been playing with me, just pretending you cared to trap me like this. You didn't care at all! You don't love me! I won't play the sap for you. You know it's not like that. You can't say that. You never played square with me for half an hour at a stretch since I've known you. You know down deep in your heart that in spite of anything I've done, I love you. I don't care who loves who! I won't play the sap for you! I won't walk in Thursby's and I don't know how many others' footsteps! You killed Miles, and you're going over for it. How can you do this to me, Sam? Surely Mr. Archer wasn't as much to you as... Listen. This won't do any good. You'll never understand me, but I'll try once and then give it up. When a man's partner is killed, he's supposed to do something about it. It doesn't make any difference what you thought of him. He was your partner, and you're supposed to do something about it, and it happens we're in the detective business. Well, when one of your organization gets killed, it's... It's bad business to let the killer get away with it, bad all around, bad for every detective everywhere. You don't expect me to think that these things you're saying are sufficient reason for sending me... Wait till I'm through. Then you can talk. I've no earthly reason to think I can trust you, and if I do this and get away with it, you'll have something on me that you can use whenever you want to. Since I've got something on you, I couldn't be sure that you wouldn't put a hole in me someday. All those are on one side. Maybe some of them are unimportant. I won't argue about that. But look at the number of them. And what have we got on the other side? All we've got is that maybe you love me and maybe I love you. You know whether you love me or not. Maybe I do. I'll have some rotten nights after I've sent you over, but that'll pass. And if all I've said doesn't mean anything to you, then forget it and we'll make it just this, I won't because all of me wants to regardless of consequences, and because you've counted on that with me the same as you counted on that with all the others. Would you've done this to me if the Falcon had been real and you'd got your money? Don't be too sure I'm as crooked as I'm supposed to be. That sort of reputation might be good business, bringing high-priced jobs and making it easier to deal with the enemy, but a lot more money would have been one more item on your side of the scales. If you'd loved me, you wouldn't have needed any more on that side. Come in. Hello, Tom. Got them? Got them. Swell. Here's another one for you. She killed Miles. And I've got some exhibits, the boys' guns, one of Cairo's, and a $1,000 bill I was supposed to be bribed with, and this black statuette here that all the fuss was about. What's the matter with your little playmate? He looks brokenhearted. And I bet when he heard Gutman's story, he thought he had me. Cut it out, Sam. Well, shall we be getting down to the hall? It's heavy. What is it? The stuff that dreams are made of.

Rate this script:0.0 / 0 votes

John Huston

John Marcellus Huston (; August 5, 1906 – August 28, 1987) was an Irish-American film director, screenwriter and actor. Huston was a citizen of the United States by birth but renounced U.S. citizenship to become an Irish citizen and resident. He returned to reside in the United States where he died. He wrote the screenplays for most of the 37 feature films he directed, many of which are today considered classics: The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The African Queen (1951), The Misfits (1961), Fat City (1972) and The Man Who Would Be King (1975). During his 46-year career, Huston received 15 Oscar nominations, won twice, and directed both his father, Walter Huston, and daughter, Anjelica Huston, to Oscar wins in different films. Huston was known to direct with the vision of an artist, having studied and worked as a fine art painter in Paris in his early years. He continued to explore the visual aspects of his films throughout his career, sketching each scene on paper beforehand, then carefully framing his characters during the shooting. While most directors rely on post-production editing to shape their final work, Huston instead created his films while they were being shot, making them both more economical and cerebral, with little editing needed. Most of Huston's films were adaptations of important novels, often depicting a "heroic quest," as in Moby Dick, or The Red Badge of Courage. In many films, different groups of people, while struggling toward a common goal, would become doomed, forming "destructive alliances," giving the films a dramatic and visual tension. Many of his films involved themes such as religion, meaning, truth, freedom, psychology, colonialism and war. Huston has been referred to as "a titan", "a rebel", and a "renaissance man" in the Hollywood film industry. Author Ian Freer describes him as "cinema's Ernest Hemingway"—a filmmaker who was "never afraid to tackle tough issues head on." more…

All John Huston scripts | John Huston Scripts

1 fan

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "The Maltese Falcon" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 14 Jun 2024. <>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

    Watch the movie trailer

    The Maltese Falcon


    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.