As of week before last, I'd never read the book nor seen the film. Finished the book a couple of days ago. Just watched the movie.
Humphrey Bogart doesn't look a darned thing like Dashiell Hammett's character. It doesn't matter; he plays the part with verve and conviction. The film is a strikingly faithful adaptation of the book; the only major omissions are mandated by the Hays Code; one helps the plot along (IMO) and another is famously subverted with disconcerting glee by Peter Lorre.
It's a bizarrely-convoluted story, more thriller than conventional mystery, and more fun than noir generally is. Recommended, and even more enjoyable if you read the book.
1. Of course, Hammett may not be quite the fellow you thought he was, either -- but he sure could write.
2. Lorre's apophasis-by-mime and his portrayal of a reasonably competent criminal -- Spade appears to take Joel Cairo more seriously than he does the well-armed gunsel Wilmer -- is quite impressive.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
9 months ago