BrianRxm Coins in Movies 60/115
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
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The 1941 Warner Brothers film "The Maltese Falcon" shows some coins on a table.
They belong to a man who has just arrived from the "Orient".
 
The film stars Humphrey Bogart as Samuel Spade, Mary Astor as Brigid O'Shaughnessy,
Peter Lorre as Joel Cairo, Sydney Greenstreet as Kasper Gutman.
 
A San Francisco private detective gets involved the hunt for a legendary and valuable
medieval statue of a falcon.
 
At one point Spade searches Cairo and finds a wallet with several passports and also
coins from various countries.
Maltese Falcon
1. Title
 
Maltese Falcon
2. San Francisco skyline in 1941
 
The bridge is the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
 
Private detective Sam Spade is in his office.
 
Maltese Falcon
3. Sam Spade in his office
 
Sam rolls his own.
 
Brigid O'Shaughnessy comes to the office and asks him to follow a man named Thursby.
Sam's partner Miles Archer joins them.
 
Maltese Falcon
4. Brigid, Sam, Archer
 
Archer volunteers to follow the man for Brigid "personally".
 
That night Archer is shot near the intersection of Stockton and Bush streets.
 
Maltese Falcon
5. Sam Spade overlooking Archer death site
 
Police detectives come to Sam's apartment to question him after Thursby is also killed.
 
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6. Police detectives at Sam's apartment
 
Sam doesn't tell them much in order to protect his client.
 
Maltese Falcon
7. Sam and Brigid at her hotel
 
Sam questions Brigid about her story which he doesn't believe.
She asks him to trust her.
 
Back at his office, a Joel Cairo visits Sam to offers condolences for the death of Archer.
 
Maltese Falcon
8. Joel Cairo offers condolences
 
Cairo offers Sam $5,000 for a "black bird".
Sam tells Cairo that he doesn't have it, Cairo then pulls a gun and asks to search the office.
 
Spade slugs Cairo and then searches his pockets and wallet.
 
Maltese Falcon
9. Contents of Joel's wallet
 
Among the items are British, Greek, and Swiss passports, and some loose change.
 
Maltese Falcon
10. Closeup of coins
 
In the book the coins are United States, British, French, and Chinese coins.
 
The ones in the film appear to be old Chinese "cash" coins with square centers,
possibly a 1930's Chinese coin, and some tokens to the right of the key.
 
It was illegal to show show real coins in a film at the time.
 
Later Sam is contacted by a Casper Gutman who asks Sam to come to his hotel room.
Casper is also known as the "Fat Man" for obvious reasons.
 
 
Maltese Falcon
11. Casper tells the story of the "black bird"
 
Casper tells Sam what the "black bird" is, a medieval golden statue of a falcon
which the crusader Knights of Rhodes had made to give to Spain's King Charles V
in return for the Island of Malta.
 
Pirates took the statue, it has appeared over the years, and at one time
someone painted it black to hide it's identity.
 
Casper found the statue in Istanbul, hired Joel and Brigid to retrieve it,
Brigid then took it herself, went to Hong Kong, met a gangster named Thursby,
then she got a merchant ship captain Jacobi take the statue to San Francisco
while she and Thursby travelled to the city on a faster ship.
 
Jacobi's ship finally arrives and he appears at Sam's office with the package.
 
Maltese Falcon
12. Captain Jacobi delivers the package
 
The package is wrapped in Chinese newspapers.
 
Later the principals meet at Sam's apartment where he will turn over the bird to Casper
in exchange for $10,000.
 
Maltese Falcon
13. Meeting at Sam's apartment
 
Casper pays Sam the $10,000 in $1,000 bills, which were hard to find items even then.
 
Maltese Falcon
14. Casper and $1000 dollar bills
 
These appear to be standard Mexican Revolution motion picture stage money bills.
Since the 1920's, motion picture companies have used these notes, reprinted from
Mexican Revolution (1910-1925) notes issued by the states of Chihuahua and Sonora.
In the film the value "1000" is printed on the notes.
 
An actual Mexican Revolution Sonora state note reverse:
 
Paper Money Mexico Sonora
15. Mexican Revolution Sonora note reverse
 
Maltese Falcon
16. Sam's assistant Effie delivers the package
 
Effie leaves and the others remove the statue from the packaging.
 
Maltese Falcon
17. The first look at the famous bird
 
Casper scratches the bird's enamel with a knife to see if it is gold.
 
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18. Casper checks the bird
 
The scratches reveal lead underneath; the statue is a fake.
 
Casper, Joel, and Brigid argue about the fake and come to the conclusion
that the real golden statue is still in Istanbul.
 
Casper admires Sam's ingenuity and invites him to join him and Joel on the quest.
 
Maltese Falcon
19. Casper invites Sam to Istanbul
 
Casper: "Shall we go to Istanbul?"
 
Sam prefers to stay in San Franciso.
 
He has to come up with an explanation for the murders for the city police.
 
Casper and Joel leave, Sam calls the police and sends them after them.
He explains to Brigid that he knows she shot his partner Archer and that
he is going to turn her in also.
 
Maltese Falcon
20. Sam explains to Brigid
 
The police detectives show up, tell Sam that they caught the men, and arrest Brigid.
 
One of the policemen asks Sam what the statue is.
He tells them that it is "The stuff that dreams are made of".
 
Maltese Falcon
21. "The stuff that dreams are made of"
 
Maltese Falcon
22. The Maltese Falcon or the "Black Bird"
 
The two original film prop statues have both sold at auctions for several million dollars each.
 
Replicas of the statue can be bought in San Francisco stores or on the Internet.
Notes:
 
Cast:
Humphrey Bogart as Samuel Spade
Mary Astor as Brigid O'Shaughnessy
Peter Lorre as Joel Cairo
Sydney Greenstreet as Kasper Gutman
Lee Patrick as Effie Perine
 
Director: John Huston
Writers: John Huston (screenplay) and Dashiell Hammett (novel)
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