Are You an Expert on The Maltese Falcon?

Susan McDonald

Image: Warner Bros.

About This Quiz

Bogey was at his finest in the 1941 classic film, "The Maltese Falcon," written and directed by John Huston. Often cited as an early example of film noir, the movie also stars Mary Astor, Sidney Greenstreet, and Peter Lorre. How much do you remember about it?

In what city does the film take place?

The film takes place in San Francisco, although not many recognizable locations are depicted. It's the city where Sam Spade and his partner own a detective agency.

What is the name of Sam's secretary?

Sam's secretary is named Effie. She's loyal and efficient, and goes way beyond the call of duty.

When Brigid O'Shaughnessy first comes to Sam's office, she uses a fake name. What is it?

Brigid first gives her name as Ruth Wonderly. It's the first of many lies she will tell as the movie proceeds.

Initially, what does Brigid ask Sam to do?

Brigid's initial reason for hiring Sam is to find her sister, whom she says is with Floyd Thursby. In fact, she has no sister.

Sam gets a call late at night with some news. What is it?

Sam gets a call informing him that his partner, Miles Archer, has been killed. He was shot to death while working on the case for Brigid.

When Sam tries to track down Brigid, what does he learn?

When Sam calls the hotel looking for Brigid, he is told that she has checked out. Of course, she left no forwarding address.

When the police come to talk to Sam, what crime do they think he has committed?

Sam is surprised to learn that not only has Miles been killed, Thursby has also been shot to death. The police theorize that Sam might have killed him in retaliation for killing his partner.

Iva, Miles's widow, thinks Sam might have killed her husband. Why?

It turns out that Sam and Iva were something of an item. Iva worries that Sam might have killed Miles to get him out of the way so they could be together.

Brigid says that Thursby had an unusual way of protecting himself while he slept. What was it?

Thursby was worried that someone would attack him while he slept, so he put crumpled newspapers around the bed. That way, if someone stepped on the papers, it would wake him up.

What brand of cigarettes does Sam smoke?

In several scenes, Sam is seen rolling his own cigarettes. Remember when everyone smoked in movies?

What does Sam do when Cairo pulls a gun on him?

Sam is a hard-boiled guy, so he isn't fazed by Cairo's gun. He knocks Cairo out and goes through his belongings.

How does Sam know to find Cairo at the theater?

When he searches Cairo, Sam finds a theater ticket. It's for a play taking place that night, so he knows Cairo will be there.

Who does Brigid say killed Thursby?

Brigid tells Sam and Cairo that she believes the fat man killed Thursby. Sam is confused, but Cairo knows who she means immediately.

Where does Brigid say she met Thursby?

Brigid says she met Thursby in Istanbul. Then they traveled together on the Orient Express.

When Brigid's apartment is ransacked, where does she stay for safety?

Brigid can't stay in her new apartment after it is ransacked, so Sam has a solution. He arranges for her to stay with his secretary for a while.

Sam tells the district attorney that he must do one thing in order to clear his name. What is it?

Sam can't prove his innocence in the murders of Miles and Thursby through an alibi, so he has only one choice. He must find and bring in the person or people who killed them.

When Sam and Wilmer are walking toward Gutman's apartment, Sam pulls Wilmer's coat down. Why?

Sam suddenly pulls Wilmer's trench coat down around his arms, effectively pinning him for a moment. Then he removes both of his guns from his pockets.

For whom was the falcon originally intended as a gift?

The falcon, which was encrusted with priceless jewels, was originally intended as a gift for Charles V of Spain. It was stolen and has been floating around ever since.

From whom did Gutman get the falcon?

Gutman tells Sam that he tracked down the falcon to a Russian general. He then managed to liberate it from him, but it has disappeared again.

How much does Gutman think the falcon is worth?

Gutman offers Sam $25,000 plus a cut of the profits from its sale, but he says the falcon is worth much more. He estimates that it would bring in at least $1 million.

When Gutman and Wilmer leave the apartment, why does Sam not go with them?

Before Gutman and Wilmer leave, Sam has passed out cold. It seems that Gutman spiked his drink.

How does Sam learn where Gutman has gone?

As he looks around the empty apartment, Sam finds a newspaper. In it, he finds the name of a ship and its time of arrival circled, so he deduces that the men have gone to meet it.

What does Sam find when he arrives at the dock?

Sam arrives to find that the ship is on fire. He is afraid Brigid was on board, but is assured that no one was hurt.

How does Sam get possession of the falcon?

Sam has returned to his apartment when he receives a surprise visitor. It is Captain Jacoby from the ship. The captain has been shot, but he hands Sam a package just before he dies. In it is the falcon.

Sam has a habit of calling the women in his life by pet names. Which of these is not among them?

Sam rarely calls women by their given names. Instead, he uses terms like Darling, Precious, and Angel to address everyone from Effie to the women with whom he is sleeping.

Where does Sam stash the falcon for safe keeping?

After receiving the package containing the falcon, Sam goes to the local Post Office. There he rents a box and places the falcon in it.

Sam gets a message to meet Brigid at a particular address. What does he find when he arrives?

Sam arrives at the address Brigid gave him, but she is nowhere to be found. The address is an empty lot and no one is there.

How does Sam find Brigid again?

When Sam arrives at his apartment, he finds that he has a visitor. Brigid is hiding in the shadows outside his building.

When Sam decides that a fall guy is needed to take the blame for the murders, who is chosen?

Sam comes up with a plausible story blaming Wilmer for the murders of Thursby and Captain Jacoby. At first, Gutman is reluctant because he says he thinks of Wilmer like a son, but he later relents and agrees to blame him.

Who goes to retrieve the package containing the falcon?

While Sam, Brigid, Cairo, and Gutman wait, Effie is dispatched to get the falcon from where Sam has hidden it.

When the bundle containing the falcon is opened, what do they discover?

Upon opening the package, Gutman begins to scrape some of the outer coating off. To his shock and dismay, he finds that there are no jewels. Apparently the Russian general got suspicious about the falcon's value and had a fake one made, which he gave to Gutman.

Where do Gutman and Cairo plan to go to continue their search for the falcon?

Getting over their disappointment, Gutman invites Cairo to go with him to Istanbul to continue looking for the real falcon. They believe that the Russian general, who is assigned to Istanbul, still has it.

How do Gutman, Wilmer, and Cairo get caught?

As soon as Gutman, Cairo, and Wilmer are out the door, Sam calls his friends in the police department. He tells them where to find the men and they are picked up immediately.

Who killed Miles?

Sam eventually learns that Brigid killed Miles. He was following her as part of his assignment to get to Thurston, so it was easy for Brigid to lure him into a side street and shoot him at close range.

What happens to Brigid in the end?

Brigid begs Sam not to turn her in, but he refuses. He realizes that they would never be able to trust each other, making a relationship impossible.

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