Viewing The Maltese Falcon at The Art Theatre

Whenever I go to the movies I make a point of going to The Art Theatre in Long Beach. This Art Deco beauty dating to 1925 is independently owned and showcases a range of films. It could be an art film, a classic, an indie or even James Bond. Whenever it’s something I want to see I make sure to go – it’s my favorite theatre.

This weekend it was showing a special screening of The Maltese Falcon which happens to be one of Shannon’s favorite movies. I’m a big fan of it myself so we made sure to set aside the time to go. Not only would be we be seeing it on the big screen but there was a special guest introducing it – Julie M. Rivett, granddaughter of Dashiell Hammett, author of the novel.

Usually when I go to the movies I’m hitting up a matinee so it’s not very crowded. Imagine my surprise when the line to buy tickets was out the door! It was wonderful to see so many people attending a film that’s over 75 years old.

Although Julie. Rivett only met her grandfather once she’s devoted her life to maintaining his legacy. She’s a trustee of his estate and has authored numerous pieces on him and his work. She has profound knowledge on The Maltese Falcon both as a literary work and a famed film. Before our screening she regaled us with stories surrounding the production. Did you know George Raft was offered the role of Sam Spade? And Dorothy Lamour and Ingrid Bergman were considered for Bridgid O’Shaughnessy? Also, at the time the studio was worried that audiences wouldn’t take to the stories dark subject mater. They couldn’t have been more wrong.

I’ve seen The Maltese Falcon many many times and I still enjoy watching it. It’s absolutely perfect from its screenplay to its acting to its art direction. And that falcon. What a prop!

After the film Ms. Rivett opened up the floor for questions and I managed to sneak one in. In her introduction she mentioned that Hammett was fond of this adaptation of the novel and I wondered if he felt the same about The Thin Man. Turns, out he didn’t. The novel is darker than the film and he wasn’t fond of its lighthearted interpretation. Pretty funny considering that today it’s as revered as The Maltese Falcon.

It was a fantastic day to catch a film and once again The Art Theatre delivered. I can’t wait to see what they screen next.

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