THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)
1941, Warner Bros., 101 min, USA, Dir: John Huston

Based on Dashiell Hammett’s novel, this classic mystery gives life to Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) and a masterfully drawn group of characters involved in a dangerous and double-crossing hunt for a bejeweled golden falcon statue. The first-rate cast includes Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet and Huston’s father, Walter.


DUEL
1971, Universal, 88 min, USA, Dir: Steven Spielberg

Originally broadcast as a television film (and later expanded for theatrical release), DUEL stars Dennis Weaver as a businessman crossing a stretch of deserted highway, who finds himself terrorized by a malevolent, unseen truck driver. Nerve-wracking suspense and superb, turbo-charged action in the best MAD MAX vein, from 25-year-old gunslinger Steven Spielberg.


THE CHEAP DETECTIVE
2011, Sony Repertory (Columbia), 92 min, USA, Dir: Robert Moore

In this follow-up to MURDER BY DEATH, Peter Falk stars as Lou Peckinpaugh, a penny-pinching private eye trying to stay ahead of the police as he tracks down his partner’s killer and some missing diamonds in 1940s San Francisco. This loving parody of film noir - and Bogart movies in particular - rounds up all sorts of usual suspects, including Ann-Margret, Eileen Brennan, Sid Caesar, Madeline Kahn, Dom DeLuise, Stockard Channing and Louise Fletcher, to play the assorted femmes fatale, fall-guys, cops and crooks peopling Neil Simon’s gag-filled screenplay.


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