The Maltese Falcon [4K Ultra HD]
Director: John Huston
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George
Release Date: April 4, 2023
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 8/10
Academy Award® winner Humphrey Bogart stars in this classic film noir as tough San Francisco private detective Sam Spade in the classic, convoluted story of Spade’s involvement with a deadly band of international thieves who will lie, double cross and murder to obtain a small, jewel-encrusted statue known as The Maltese Falcon. Sam Spade’s (Bogart) partner, Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan), accepts a job protecting a young woman (Mary Astor). Neither Spade nor Archer believe the woman or the story she tells them, but they do believe her money. Then, when Archer is murdered, Spade’s search for the killer drags him in the web of lies and death spun by the desperate people seeking The Maltese Falcon.
Please Note: Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘The Maltese Falcon’ tells the twisty tale of a private detective named Sam Spade (Bogart) who becomes entangled in a dangerous hunt by various international criminals that are each searching for a legendary, jewel-encrusted statue dubbed “The Maltese Falcon”. After being hired by a young woman involved with the situation and his partner’s mysterious murder promptly after, Sam soon begins to uncover the various players pulling strings to acquire the statue for themselves and becomes twisted within their web of lies and games as each does everything in their power to try and gain the upper hand and acquire the prize. With time running out and multiple dangerous players involved, Sam will have to piece together the truth if he hopes to stay alive long enough to wrap the case.
The cinematic gem ‘The Maltese Falcon’ was first released way back in 1941 and marked the directorial debut of John Huston from a screenplay also written by Huston which was based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett. The film’s noteworthy cast includes legendary actor and Academy Award winner Humphrey Bogart in the lead, with a talented supporting cast behind him that includes Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre, Barton MacLane, Lee Patrick, and Sydney Greenstreet and every individual within plays their part well and helps in one way or another to make this into the true classic that it is; earning and retaining its reputation as a cinematic masterpiece for good reason.
‘The Maltese Falcon’ is a prime example of cinematic perfection and this engaging and thrilling noir detective tale still delivers a magnificent and rewarding ride today, more than eighty years after its original release. Hailed as the first great detective film and as one of the greatest films of all time by many, it takes viewers along for a mystery that’s filled with twists and turns and a collection of colorful characters who are almost all anything but what they seem. Featuring the legendary Humphrey Bogart in the lead and a great supporting cast to back him up, ‘The Maltese Falcon’ may be over eighty years old, but that doesn’t mean it’s even mildly incapable of pulling in audiences today and keeping their attention glued to the screen until the final moments. Many folks are fond of the term “they don’t make them like they used to” and while I would argue that there are plenty of truly outstanding films still coming out today, a true cinematic masterpiece like this is definitely something you won’t see replicated, at least not in this manner. If you’ve never had the pleasure of ‘The Maltese Falcon’ I can’t urge you strongly enough to make a point of rectifying that because this is one true gem of the older days that still holds strong and should not be missed.
In celebration of Warner’s 100 year anniversary, Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment brings ‘The Maltese Falcon’ home on 4K Ultra HD for the first time ever. Sporting an impressive and quite gorgeous new Ultra High Definition video presentation with HDR-10 that breathes new life into the film and has it looking better than most probably ever imagined, and the new 4K presentation is further complemented by a solid dual-mono 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that sounds great, while still retaining the more simplistic feel of this beloved classic. The new release is absent of any brand new bonus material, but the included Blu-ray disc still includes all of the previously released extras for your viewing pleasure. Dedicated fans of the legendary Humphrey Bogart and/or of ‘The Maltese Falcon’ in particular that are fully 4K capable will absolutely want to look into picking this one up whenever possible and should not be the slightest bit disappointed by what it brings to the table. If you’re a diehard fan but might be on the fence, this new 4K UHD release is definitely recommended.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘The Maltese Falcon’ features a full 2160p Ultra High Definition presentation with HDR-10 presented in its original 1.37:1 Aspect Ratio in black and white. The video presentation looks marvelous as a whole and delivers a sharp, clean and beautifully filmic presentation from start to finish that stays true to the source material and never suffers from any unexpected troubles to be uncovered throughout. Everything within looks improved and quite spectacular from the facial details and clothing of the characters to the backgrounds and exteriors present throughout showing notable improvement in clarity, detail and depth almost across the board. The HDR-10 addition also complements the presentation and contributes deeper black levels balanced with gorgeous greys and whites and the end result should have fans quite thrilled. Overall, this is a pretty fantastic Ultra High Definition video presentation that never disappoints and should thoroughly excite the film’s dedicated fans.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release features a 2.0 split mono DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This audio presentation provides a clean, sharp and well balanced soundtrack throughout that never falters or disappoints along the way. It capably balances the various audio elements within including the music, dialogue and other minor effects occurring throughout and always keeps anything occurring simultaneously with another effect or element sounding sharp and clean without allowing one to contradict or negatively affect the other. All of the dialogue sounds consistently clean, crisp and fully audible every step of the way. The presentation shouldn’t be drastically different than that which was included on the Blu-ray disc (which is also included in this combo pack), merely the change from a single channel mono presentation on BD to a dual-mono 2.0 presentation on the 4K disc. Overall, this is a solid and fully capable 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that shouldn’t have any trouble pleasing the film’s fans.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘The Maltese Falcon’ includes various previously released extras which can all be found on the included Blu-ray disc. Included on both the 4K UHD and Blu-ray disc is an ‘Audio Commentary with Bogart Biographer Eric Lax’, while the Blu-ray disc additionally includes the Featurette ‘The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird’ (running approximately 32 minutes in length), along with a look at Bogart and his various Film Trailers in ‘Becoming Attractions: The Trailers of Humphrey Bogart’ (running approximately 45 minutes). Also featured within are ‘Makeup Tests’ (approximately 1 minute) and a classic WB blooper reel in ‘Breakdowns of 1941’ (running approximately 13 minutes). We are also treated to ‘Warner Night At The Movies’ which replicates the old school theatrical experience with Trailers, a Musical Short and some classic Cartoons (running approximately 40 minutes in length altogether), in addition to 3 ‘Audio Vault’ recordings relating to ‘The Maltese Falcon’ which include ‘2/8/1943: Lux Radio Broadcast’ (87 minutes), ‘9/20/1943: Screen Guild Theater Broadcast’ (29 minutes) and ‘7/3/1946: Academy Award Theater Broadcast’ (27 minutes). The Trailers for ‘The Maltese Falcon’ (3 minutes) and ‘Satan Met a Lady’ (2 minutes) are also included.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the previously released Blu-Ray disc included in the 4K UHD Combo Pack and resized. They do not represent the quality of the 4K Ultra HD disc itself and will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on the 4K UHD & Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 8/10
‘The Maltese Falcon’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD & Digital from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment
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