(Review originally written at 11 March 2008)

Well, to be perfectly honest, this movie slightly disappointed me. I expected to get to see one of the ultimate film-noir pictures. However I've seen movies that are way less known but also just simply better than this movie is. But in all honesty, this movie of course still was a great one to watch, mostly because of its well constructed story and the cast of the movie. My expectations for it were of course probably just too high.

It's a movie with a great constructed and build up story but as far as film-noir's go, I've just seen better movies. As a matter of fact I don't even really regard this movie as a film-noir. The story and atmosphere remains too light for it. It's more fair calling this movie a mystery movie in my opinion.

For it's time the movie was quite new and genre re-defining with its storytelling. Perhaps the very reason why this movie is being considered to be an important and classic movie. Just like "Citizen Kane" wasn't THE best movie ever made, it was still one of the most important movies ever made because of the way it redefined film-making and story-telling within a movie.

The characters are all being played by great actors but yet their characters all remain sort of flat. I known it's one of the points of a mystery movie to have mysterious shallow characters in it, in order to maintain the movie its mystery and a certain level of unpredictability but in this case it just isn't in the movie its best interest. Nevertheless you sort of tend to forget this because of the fine actors that are portraying the characters. Humphrey Bogart is at his best as a private detective. What I like about his character is that he is a person with his flaws and he is far from a straight honest man but he still has his morals and more noble side. He also teams up for the very first time with Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet. When the 3 of them are together in a movie, it's always something special (also see "Casablanca".) As a matter of fact, this was Sydney Greenstreet's very first movie role. Quite amazing considering that he already was well in his 60's at the time. Nevertheless he performs as if he has done nothing else in his life before.

It was also John Huston's very first directing job. This movie might also very well be his best known work but it isn't his greatest made movie in my opinion. His movie's such as "Key Largo" and "The Asphalt Jungle" are even better, despite being not as well known or world wide appreciated.

Perhaps more of an important movie than it is really a perfect classic.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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