Sunday, July 02, 2006

On Watching The Maltese Falcon - OR - Why do I bother?

So I just got back from seeing The Maltese Falcon at the George Eastman House here in lovely Rochester, NY. A Sunday night screening of a 50-year-old film, six bucks a pop, and the place was packed. I know the script by heart and watch it every time it comes on TCM and at least once a year I pull out the DVD, but there's no way you pass up the chance to see it on the Big Screen. And I know I'm not supposed to do this, that I should just let go and enjoy the film, but the entire time I watching it I couldn't help but thinking that there was no way I'm ever going to write anything that great. Which is a stupid thing to admit on a blog that I hope leads people to buy my books (several copies each, please) but come on, let's be honest here. Now if you know the movie, you know that the script is almost word for word from the book. So sitting there, listening to lines that resonate like lines from The Odyssey must have resonated with Greek mystery writes a couple of millennia ago, I wonder why the hell I bother.

And then Sam Spade spoke to me.

It’s the great end line of the film – not written by Dashiell Hammett but suggested on the set by Bogart himself.

“It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.”

Okay, it’s corny. But sometimes corny’s true.


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