Why did you strike me after I was disarmed?
– Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon (1930)
The Maltese Falcon (1930) is one of the best of Dashiell Hammett’s novels. It follows private eye Sam Spade in San Francisco as he unravels the mystery of the Maltese Falcon, a jewel-encrusted gold statuette of immeasurable worth. As is typical in a Hammett story, he has to play off several parties against one other to emerge unharmed, if not victorious.
The novel has been made into a motion picture several times, the best rendition being of course the third one by John Huston. His Film Noir classic The Maltese Falcon (1941) boasts, among others, Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade and Peter Lorre as Joel Cairo, one of the shady characters who are after the Falcon.
Both novel and film feature a scene in Spade’s office in which Spade expertly disarms Cairo. Both merit a detailed analysis in GURPS terms. Watch just the scene here (the action starts at 1:57).
This article is part of the Melee Academy.
Stop reading if you want to avoid SPOILERS.
Continue reading “Martial Arts: The Maltese Falcon”