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Satan Met a Lady

USA 1936
produced by
Warner Brothers
directed by William Dieterle
starring Warren William, Bette Davis, Alison Skipworth, Arthur Treacher, Marie Wilson, Wini Shaw, Porter Hall, Olin Howland, Charles C.Wilson, Maynard Holmes, May Beatty, Sol Gross
screenplay by Brown Holmes, based on the novel The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, music by Bernhard Kaum, Heinz Roemheld

Maltese Falcon

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Working on an assignment for gorgeous Valerie Purvis (Bette Davis), private eye Ames (Porter Hall) is murdered, and suspicion immediately falls on his partner Ted Shane (Watrren William), who had an affair with his wife (Wini Shaw). Thing is, Shane did not kill his partner, and he is not interested in his wife/widow anymore - but how to prove it?

The first thing Shane is up to is researching Valerie's background, even if that includes frisking her room, and soon he comes up with a wild story about the legendary gem-filled horn of Roland she seems to be after - and not only her, also matriarchal Madame Barabas (Alison Skipworth), her halfwit foster son and hitman Kenny (Maynard Holmes), and her double-crossing right-hand man Travers (Arthur Treacher), and they all have one thing in common, they would stop at nothing getting their hands on the horn, not even murder.

After much to and fro, Shane actually gets his hands on the horn and manages to bring all suspects together for what he pretends to be an auction where he wants to sell the blasted thing to the highest bidder - but really it's a trap, and before long, the police manages to arrest Madame Barabas, Kenny and Travers. Shane helps Valerie escape though - only to make her confess to the murder of Ames, after which he lures her into yet another police trap he has set up ...


A light-weight comedy adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's classic The Maltese Falcon, this version of the story has taken many a beating over the years, and not all of it justified. Sure, Hammett's rather grim novel does not really offer itself to a comedy treatment just like his more light-weight Thin Man did, and as a result, there are quite a few inconsistencies in the outcome. Also, Satan Met a Lady compares unfavourably to John Huston's classic Maltese Falcon from 5 years later, but then that movie is an undistputed masterpiece only very few crime dramas don't compare unfavourably to - and it wasn't even made yet when Satan Met a Lady came out ...

On the plus side though, taken as a typical crime movie of the B-variety, Satan Met a Lady is not half bad, it keeps things going at a steady pace, remaqins entertaining throughout and has a pretty good cast: Warren Williams plays his role with the same slightly ruthless charm and self irony as he played his Perry Mason and Philo Vance around the same time, Bette Davis' acting talents is undisputed and she puts it to good use here, and young Marie Wilson as William's dumb-as-a-brick yet resourceful secretary is a real (intentional) laugh.

In all, if you can forget for an hour and a quarter that you have ever seen Huston's Maltese Falcon, then you might find yourself liking this film.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD