Sam Spade, Junior

Created by Don M. Mankiewicz and Gordon Cotler
With a heavy debt to Dashiell Hammett

In this occasionally entertaining tribute/spoof of the classic Huston directed, Bogie-starring gumshoe classic flick from 1941, The Maltese Falcon, George Segal plays SAM SPADE JUNIOR, who's inherited his dad's detective agency -- and the hunt for that damned elusive black bird. Helping him out, in something of a coup, are two members of the 1941 cast: Lee Patrick and Elisha Cook Jr., reprising their roles as faithful secretary Effie Perrine and the gunsel Wilmer. And there's a good performance by Stephane Audran in the Brigid role.

It's not exactly Blazing Saddles, but the affection for the original comes through loud and clear. Your enjoyment of this film probably leans heavily on how much you enjoyed the original -- and if you didn't enjoy the original, what the hell are you doing here?

* * * * *

By the way, George Segal has had a long, and fruitful connection with detective fiction. He's also been in the film version of Donald Westlake's The Hot Rock, and starred in Murphy's Law, a TV show about a freelance insurance investigator.

UNDER OATH

  • "...the general tenor of the film shows a sentimental empathy for the original material with no heartless put-downs marring the work. There are lots of smiles, many chuckles, and a few strong laughs."..."Lee Patrick (Huston's original Effie-ed.) in a delightful recasting as Effie, the secretary, hangs in there, partly because she hasn't been paid in years, and despite an animosity towards Segal."

-- The Maltese Falcon FAQ

FILMS

  • THE BLACK BIRD...Buy this video
    (1975, Columbia)
    98 minutes
    Based on characters created in The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
    Screenplay by David Glier
    Story by Don M. Mankiewicz and Gordon Cotler
    Directed by David Giler
    Music by Jerry Fielding
    Art Director: Harry Horner
    Producers: Michael Levee and Louis Lombardo
    Executive Producer: George Segal
    A Rastar Pictures Production
    Starring George Segal as SAM SPADE JR.
    with Lee Patrick as Effie Perrine
    and Elisha Cook Jr. as Wilmer
    Also starring Stephane Andran, Lionel Stander, Felix Silla

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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