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The Black Bird (1975)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:08 am    Post subject: The Black Bird (1975) Reply with quote

"The Black Bird" is a comedy sequel to "The Maltese Falcon". It stars George Segal as Sam Spade, Jr., with Lee Patrick reprising her role as Effie Perine, Sam's secretary. Elisha Cook, Jr. also reprises his role as Wilmer Cook.

I haven't seen this movie since it was released, so please excuse the cut-and-paste copy from the IMDB. Any extra details I can remember, and the actor's names, will be in parenthesis. Okay, I also did some small alterations to the text. I put it into paragraphs.

After the death of private detective Sam Spade, his son, Sam Spade Jr. (who only knew his father very briefly) is forced to inherit his San Francisco detective agency, much to his chagrin. He also must keep his father's sarcastic secretary, Effie Perrine (Sam is forced to keep her, because his Father owed her money) whom Sam calls "Godzilla", and must continue his father's tradition of "serving minorities".

One day, an obese man named Caspar Gutman is killed just outside Spade's building, his last words being "It's black and as long as your arm". Later on, Spade is given an offer by a member of the Order of St. John's Hospital to purchase his father's useless copy of the Maltese Falcon. A right-wing thug named Gordon Immerman (Lionel Stander), Spade calls him "Andrew Jackson" after he gave Spade his "calling card", a bill, has been hired to make sure Spade delivers the bird, but he quickly warms to the detective, although the feeling is not mutual.

Later on, he gets an offer from a Wilmer Cook, but before they can negotiate, he is killed. Shortly thereafter, he encounters a beautiful and mysterious Russian woman named Anna Kemidov (Stéphane Audran), daughter of the general who once owned the real Maltese Falcon. She wants it as well, and she's willing to seduce Spade to get it.

It isn't long before Spade is dealing with Litvak (Felix Silla), a bald, Nazi dwarf surrounded an army of Hawaiian thugs. In the ensuing chaos, Immerman tries to become Spade's partner. Spade discovers that his "false" copy may be the real thing, and Anna continues to make love to him — or is she?

The movie doesn't have that good of a reputation, but I remember it being funny. It is full of sight gags, and there is a running joke about Sam unsuccessfully trying to keep his car parked on San Francisco's sloped streets.

Two from the IMDB:

Stéphane Audran spoke about The Black Bird's (1975) failure, stating: "I didn't understand what happened on the picture. Everyone was fighting: George Segal, the director and writer, David Giler, the producer, Ray Stark. It's so difficult to do a good film even if the people are getting along well. If you have fights every day, it can't help."

This was originally conceived as a straight dramatic sequel to The Maltese Falcon (1941). To that effect, David Giler and John Milius were both hired to work on the screenplay. But the two couldn't reach an agreement on how to approach the subject, so Milius quit and Giler decided to repurpose the screenplay as a comedy.

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


I may have seen this movie on TV long ago, but I don't remember for sure. I was disappointed when I discovered that YouTube doesn't have a trailer, but they do have a fuzzy 4:3 version from a VHS tape.

I've learned that a movie with a poor picture (but good sound) can be enjoyed if I let it play on my TV and listen to the dialog while occasionally glancing over at the picture just often enough to understand who's talking and where they are. Very Happy

Meanwhile I'm making comments on All Sci-Fi . . . like this one. Very Happy

______________ The Black Bird | 1975 VHSRip


The poster for The Black Bird is by the legendary Drew Stuzan, the genius behind many great posters, including this one from Big Trouble in Little China.

Click on the image below, then click again on the Imgur version, and then zoom in one the large, super-detailed version.

Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
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