The Maltese Falcon (Blu-ray)

Sam Spade's (Humphrey Bogart) partner meets an untimely end while tailing a man for a new client (Mary Astor). Before he knows it, the sly detective finds himself in the middle of a mystery involving multiple parties in search of a jewel encrusted statue known as the Maltese Falcon.

Based on the 1930 novel by Dashiell Hammett, screenwriter/director John Huston launched his directorial career and turned Bogart into a leading man. Although the film is nearly 70 years old, the story and characters are timeless and Bogart's depiction as the private detective is the benchmark for other such characters in Hollywood.

Video Highlights

  • VC-1/1080p encode on a BD-25 disc
  • 1.37:1 aspect ratio
  • Strong contrast
  • Inconsistent black levels
  • Excellent detail

Audio Highlights

  • DTS-HD MA 1.0 soundtrack
  • Intelligible dialog
  • Dynamically challenged score
  • Front-heavy presentation

Warner delivers another solid video encode of a classic film. There are a couple of scenes with some black crush and others where they are slightly elevated, but given its age, I'm not surprised with some minor inconsistencies. The audio track is nothing special and is a tad bright.

Bonus Materials

  • Feature Commentary by Bogart biographer Eric Lax
  • "Warner Night at the Movies 1941" with vintage newsreal, short film, trailers, and classic cartoons
  • "The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird" documentary
  • "Becoming Attractions" featurette on Bogart
  • "Breakdowns of 1941" bloopers
  • Makeup tests
  • 3 Radio show adaptations of The Maltese Falcon

While other studios have neglected to release their older catalog titles on Blu-ray, Warner has gone into the vault and given us treasures such as Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, and The Wizard of Oz and have spared no expense in providing the best picture possible. Highly recommended.

Release Date: October 5, 2010
Studio: Warner

Movie: 9/10
Picture: 8/10
Sound: 6/10

Review System

Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player

JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)

Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 power amplifier
Panamax M5400PM power conditioner

M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer

Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector

Acoustical treatments from GIK Acoustics