The Maltese Falcon (1941) Movie Poster

Quotes from The Maltese Falcon (1941)

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    • Sam Spade: I don't mind a reasonable amount of trouble.
    • Joel Cairo: Look what you did to my shirt.
    • Brigid O'Shaughnessy: I haven't lived a good life. I've been bad, worse than you could know.
    • Sam Spade: You know, that's good, because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we'd never get anywhere.
    • Wilmer Cook: Keep on riding me and they're gonna be picking iron out of your liver.
    • Sam Spade: The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.
    • Sam Spade: Ten thousand? We were talking about a lot more money than this.
    • Kasper Gutman: Yes, sir, we were, but this is genuine coin of the realm. With a dollar of this, you can buy ten dollars of talk.
    • Kasper Gutman: Well, Wilmer, I'm sorry indeed to lose you. But I want you to know I couldn't be fonder of you if you were my own son. But, well, if you lose a son, it's possible to get another. There's only one Maltese Falcon.
    • Sam Spade: Haven't you tried to buy my loyalty with money and nothing else?
    • Brigid O'Shaughnessy: What else is there I can buy you with?
    • Kasper Gutman: Here's to plain speaking and clear understanding.
    • Sam Spade: When a man's partner is killed, he's supposed to do something about it. It doesn't make any difference what you thought of him. He was your partner and you're supposed to do something about it. And it happens we're in the detective business. Well, when one of your organization gets killed, it's-it's bad business to let the killer get away with it, bad all around, bad for every detective everywhere.
    • Spade: We didn't exactly believe your story, Miss Wonderly. We believed your 200 dollars. I mean, you paid us more than if you had been telling us the truth, and enough more to make it all right.
    • Bryan: Who killed Thursby?
    • Sam Spade: You getting this all right, son, or am I goin' too fast for ya?
    • Stenographer: No, sir, I'm getting it all right.
    • Sam Spade: Good work.
    • Sam Spade: I don't know.
    • Bryan: Perhaps you don't, but you could make an excellent guess.
    • Sam Spade: My guess might be excellent or it might be crummy, but Mrs. Spade didn't raise any children dippy enough to make guesses in front of a district attorney, and an assistant district attorney and a stenographer.
    • Bryan: Why shouldn't you, if you have nothing to conceal?
    • Sam Spade: Everybody has something to conceal.
    • Bryan: I'm a sworn officer of the law, 24 hours a day, and neither formality nor informality justifies you withholding evidence of crime from me, except, of course, on constitutional grounds.
    • [ranting]
    • Sam Spade: Now, both you and the police have as much as accused me of being mixed up in the other night's murders. Well, I've had trouble with both of you before. And as far as I can see my best chance of clearing myself of the trouble you're trying to make for me, is by bringing in the murderers all tied up. And the only chance I've got of catching them, and tying them up, and bringing them in, is by staying as far away as possible from you and the police, because you'd only gum up the works.
    • [turns to stenographer]
    • Kasper Gutman: You're a close-mouthed man?
    • Sam Spade: Nah, I like to talk.
    • Kasper Gutman: Better and better. I distrust a close-mouthed man. He generally picks the wrong time to talk and says the wrong things. Talking's something you can't do judiciously, unless you keep in practice.
    • [sits back]
    • Kasper Gutman: Now, sir. We'll talk, if you like. I'll tell you right out, I am a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk.
    • Sam Spade: Swell. Will we talk about the black bird?
    • [impatiently]
    • Sam Spade: Now, let's *talk* about the black bird.
    • Kasper Gutman: Let's. Mr. Spade, have you any conception of how much money can be got for that black bird?
    • Sam Spade: No.
    • Kasper Gutman: Well, sir, if I told you... If I told you *half*... you'd call me a liar.
    • Sam Spade: No, not even if I thought so.
    • Sam Spade: If you kill me, how are you gonna get the bird? And if I know you can't afford to kill me, how are you gonna scare me into giving it to you?
    • Sam Spade: When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it.
    • Joel Cairo: You always have a very smooth explanation ready.
    • Sam Spade: What do you want me to do, learn to stutter?
    • Kasper Gutman: I distrust a man who says "when." If he's got to be careful not to drink too much, it's because he's not to be trusted when he does.
    • Sam Spade: You're good. You're very good.
    • Spade: I hope you're not letting yourself be influenced by the guns these pocket-edition desperadoes are waving around, because I've practiced taking guns from these boys before; so we'll have no trouble there.
    • Joel Cairo: You... you bungled it. You and your stupid attempt to buy it. Kemedov found out how valuable it was, no wonder we had such an easy time stealing it. You... you imbecile. You bloated idiot. You stupid fat-head you.
    • [cries]
    • Sam Spade: You killed Miles and you're going over for it.
    • [last lines]
    • [picks up the falcon]
    • Detective Tom Polhaus: Heavy. What is it?
    • Sam Spade: The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of.
    • Detective Tom Polhaus: Huh?
    • Kasper Gutman: The best goodbyes are short. Adieu.
    • Kasper Gutman: By Gad, sir, you are a character. There's never any telling what you'll say or do next, except that it's bound to be something astonishing.
    • Sam Spade: I hope they don't hang you, precious, by that sweet neck. Yes, angel, I'm gonna send you over. The chances are you'll get off with life. That means if you're a good girl, you'll be out in 20 years. I'll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I'll always remember you.
    • Kasper Gutman: These are facts, historical facts, not schoolbook history, not Mr. Wells' history, but history nevertheless.
    • Brigid O'Shaughnessy: He has a wife and three children in England.
    • Sam Spade: They usually do, though not always in England.
    • Brigid O'Shaughnessy: Mr. Archer was so alive yesterday, so solid and hearty...
    • Sam Spade: Stop it. He knew what he was doing. Those are the chances we take.
    • Brigid O'Shaughnessy: Was he married?
    • Sam Spade: Yeah, with ten thousand insurance, no children, and a wife that didn't like him.
    • Brigid O'Shaughnessy: Help me.
    • Sam Spade: You won't need much of anybody's help. You're good. Chiefly your eyes, I think, and that throb you get in your voice when you say things like 'Be generous, Mr. Spade.'
    • Brigid O'Shaughnessy: I deserve that. But the lie was in the way I said it, not at all in what I said. It's my own fault if you can't believe me now.
    • Sam Spade: Ah, now you are dangerous.
    • Brigid O'Shaughnessy: I do know he always went heavily armed, and that he never went to sleep without covering the floor around his bed with crumpled newspapers, so that nobody could come silently into his room.
    • Sam Spade: You picked a nice sort of a playmate.
    • Brigid O'Shaughnessy: Only that sort could have helped me, if he'd been loyal.
    • Joel Cairo: I am prepared to pay five thousand dollars for the figure's return. Do you have it?
    • Sam Spade: No.
    • Joel Cairo: But if it isn't here, why did you risk serious injury to prevent my searching for it?
    • Sam Spade: Why should I sit around here and let people come in and stick me up?
    • Joel Cairo: But certainly it is only natural that I try to save the owner such a considerable expense if possible.
    • Wilmer Cook: Keep askin' for it and you're gonna to get it - plenty. I told you to shove off. Shove off.
    • Sam Spade: People lose teeth talking like that. If you want to hang around, you'll be polite.
    • Joel Cairo: I certainly wish you would have invented a more reasonable story. I felt distinctly like an idiot repeating it.
    • Sam Spade: Don't worry about the story's goofiness. A sensible one would have had us all in the cooler.
    • Sam Spade: All we've got is that maybe you love me and maybe I love you.
    • Brigid O'Shaughnessy: You know whether you love me or not.
    • Sam Spade: Maybe I do. I'll have some rotten nights after I've sent you over, but that'll pass.
    • Joel Cairo: Might I remind you, Mr. Spade, that you may have the falcon, but we certainly have you.
    • Sam Spade: You're a good man, sister.
    • Sam Spade: Haven't you anything better to do than to keep popping in here early every morning and asking a lot of fool questions?
    • Lt. Dundy: And gettin' a lot of lyin' answers!
    • Sam Spade: Take it easy.
    • Sam Spade: Here.
    • [hands him Wilmer's guns]
    • Sam Spade: You shouldn't let him go around with these on him, he might get himself hurt.
    • Kasper Gutman: Well, well, what's this?
    • Sam Spade: A crippled newsie took 'em away from him. I made him give 'em back.
    • [to Spade]
    • Joel Cairo: No, no. Our private conversations have not been such that I am anxious to continue them. Forgive me for speaking so bluntly, but it is the truth.
    • Sam Spade: You gotta convince me that you know what this is all about, that you aren't just fiddling around hoping it'll all come out right in the end!
    • [after disarming Wilmer]
    • Sam Spade: This'll put you in solid with your boss.
    • Kasper Gutman: Well, sir, what do you suggest? We stand here and shed tears and call each other names... or shall we go to Istanbul?
    • Joel Cairo: Are you going?
    • Kasper Gutman: Seventeen years I've wanted that little item and I've been trying to get it. If we must spend another year on the quest... well, sir, it will be an additional expenditure in time of only... five and fifteen seventeenths percent.
    • Sam Spade: Don't be too sure I'm as crooked as I'm supposed to be.
    • [first title card]
    • Title Card: In 1539, the Knight Templars of Malta, paid tribute to Charles V of Spain, by sending him a Golden Falcon encrusted from beak to claw with rarest jewels ~~~~~ but pirates seized the galley carrying this priceless token and the fate of the Maltese Falcon remains a mystery to this day ~~~
    • [first lines]
    • Sam Spade: Yes, sweetheart?
    • Effie Perine: There's a girl wants to see you. Her name's Wonderly.
    • Sam Spade: Customer?
    • Effie Perine: I guess so. You'll want to see her anyway. She's a knockout.
    • Sam Spade: Shoo her in, Effie darling, shoo her in.
    • Kasper Gutman: That's an attitude, sir, that calls for the most delicate judgment on both sides. 'Cause as you know, sir, in the heat of action men are likely to forget where their best interests lie and let their emotions carry them away.
    • Effie Perine: Look at me, Sam. You worry me. You always think you know what you're doing, but you're too slick for your own good. Some day you're going to find it out.
    • Brigid O'Shaughnessy: What would you do if I didn't tell you? Something wild and unpredictable?
    • Spade: I might.
    • Sam Spade: If you kill me, how are you going get the bird? And if I know you can't afford to kill me, how are you going to scare me into giving it to you?
    • Kasper Gutman: Well, sir, there are other means of persuasion besides killing and threatening to kill.
    • Sam Spade: Yes, that's... That's true. But, there're none of them any good unless the threat of death is behind them. You see what I mean? If you start something, I'll make it a matter of your having to kill me or call it off.
    • Kasper Gutman: That's an attitude, sir, that calls for the most delicate judgment on both sides. Because, as you know, sir, in the heat of action men are likely to forget where their best interests lie and let their emotions carry them away.
    • Sam Spade: Then the trick from my angle is to make my play strong enough to tie you up, but not make you mad enough to bump me off against your better judgment.
    • Kasper Gutman: By gad, sir, you are a character. There's never any telling what you'll say or do next, except that it's bound to be something astonishing.
    • Sam Spade: You don't have to trust me as long as you can persuade me to trust you.
    • [to Effie]
    • Sam Spade: You're a good man, sister.
    • Lt. Dundy: Well, you know me, Spade, if you did it or if you didn't, you'll get a square deal from me and most of the breaks. Don't know as I'd blame you much - man that killed your partner. But that won't stop me from nailing ya.
    • Sam Spade: Fair enough.
    • Wilmer Cook: Keep askin' for it and you're gonna get it... plenty. I told you to shove off... shove off.
    • Sam Spade: People lose teeth talkin' like that. You wanna hang around, you'll be polite.
    • Kasper Gutman: This is going to be the most astounding thing you have ever heard of, sir, and I say that knowing that a man of your caliber, in your profession, must have known some astounding things in his time. What do you know, sir, about the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, later known as the Knights of Rhodes and other things?
    • Sam Spade: Crusaders or something, weren't they?
    • Kasper Gutman: Very good. In 1539, these crusading knights persuaded the Emperor Charles V to give them the island of Malta. He made them but one condition: They were to pay him, each year, the tribute of one falcon, in acknowledgment that Malta was still under Spain. Do you have any conception of the extreme, the immeasurable wealth of the Order at that time?
    • Sam Spade: I imagine they were pretty well fixed
    • Kasper Gutman: Pretty well is putting it mildly. They were rolling in wealth, sir. For years they had taken from the East, nobody knows what spoils of gems, of precious metals, silks, ivories, sir. We all know that the Holy Wars were to them largely a matter of loot. The Knights were profoundly grateful to the Emperor Charles for his generosity toward them. They hit upon the happy thought of sending him for the first year's tribute, not an insignificant live bird, but a glorious golden falcon, encrusted from head to feet with the finest jewels in their coffers. Well, sir, what do you think of that?
    • Sam Spade: I don't know.
    • Kasper Gutman: These are facts, sir. Not school book history, not Mr. Wells's history, but history nevertheless. They sent this foot-high jeweled bird to Charles, who was then in Spain. They sent it in a galley commanded by a member of the Order. It never reached Spain. A famous admiral of buccaneers took the Knight's galley and the bird. In 1713 it turned up in Sicily. In 1840 it appeared in Paris. It had by then acquired a coat of black enamel so that it looked like nothing more than a fairly interesting black statuette. In that disguise, sir, it was, you might say, kicked around Paris for more than three score years, by private owners too stupid to see what it was under the skin... Then in 1923, a Greek dealer named Charilaos Konstantinides found it in an obscure shop. No thickness of enamel could conceal value from his eyes. You begin to believe me a little?
    • Kasper Gutman: You begin to believe me a little?
    • Sam Spade: I haven't said I didn't.
    • Kasper Gutman: Well, sir, to hold it safe while pursuing his researches into its history, Charliaos re-enameled the bird. Despite that precaution, I got wind of his find. Ah, sir, if only I had known a few days sooner. I was in London when I heard. I packed a bag and took the boat train immediately. On the train I opened a paper, The Times, and read that Charilaos' establishment had been burglarized and him murdered. Sure enough, I discovered upon arriving there that the bird was gone. That was seventeen years ago. Well, sir, it took me seventeen years to locate that bird, but I did. I wanted it and I'm not a man that's easily discouraged when I want something. I traced it to the home of a Russian general - one Kemidov - in an Istanbul suburb. He didn't know a thing about it. It was nothing but a black enameled figure to him, but his natural contrariness kept him from selling it to me when I made him an offer. So I sent some - ah - agents to get it. Well, sir, they got it, and I haven't got it. But I'm going to get it... Your glass, sir.
    • Sam Spade: Then the bird doesn't belong to any of you but to a General Kemidov?
    • Kasper Gutman: Well, sir, you might say it belonged to the King of Spain, but I don't see how you can honestly grant anybody else clear title to it - except by right of possession. Well, now, before we start to talk prices, how soon can you - or how soon are you willing to produce the Falcon?
    • Sam Spade: There isn't the time for that schoolgirl act! We're both of us sitting under the gallows!
    • Kasper Gutman: It's the Russian's hand, there's no doubt about it.
    • Lt. Dundy: Tom says you were in too much of a hurry to even stop and take a look at your dead partner. And you didn't go to Archer's house to tell his wife: we called your office, and the girl there said you told her to do it. I'll give you ten minutes to get to a phone and do your talking to the girl; I'll give you ten minutes to get to Thursby's joint, Gary and Leavenworth, you could do it easily in that time...
    • [to Det. Polhaus]
    • Sam Spade: What's your boyfriend getting at?
    • Sam Spade: Miles hadn't many brains, but he had too many years of experience as a detective to be caught like that, by a man he was shadowing, up a blind alley, with his gun tucked away in his hip and his overcoat buttoned. But he would have gone up there with you, Angel. He was just dumb enough for that. He'd have looked you up and down and licked his lips and gone, grinning from ear to ear.
    • [after Dundy's and Polhaus' second visit to Sam's apartment]
    • Detective Tom Polhaus: I hope you know what you're doin', Sam.
    • [to Brigid O'Shaughnessy]
    • Sam Spade: Hey, what's this bird, this Falcon, that everybody's all steamed up about?
    • [explaining Wilmer's responsibility for the fire on the La Paloma]
    • Kasper Gutman: No doubt he was careless with matches.
    • [explaining Wilmer's responsibility for the fire on the La Paloma]
    • Kasper Gutman: No doubt he was careless with matches.
    • Sam Spade: I don't care who loves who.
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