Last night me and my friend Julie went to a performance of "The Maltese
Falcon" put on my the Gonzaga University Theatre Department. It was part
of a month-long series of programs devoted to some of the old hardboiled
tales and was done through a grant of the National Endowment for the
The performance was called a "live reading." It was really very similar
to what you might have seen if you had been in the studio at an old-time
radio broadcast. Although the cast was wearing period-looking costumes,
no real sets or props were used (except for the falcon itself), and the
actors and actresses read from a script. As for the script, it was evidently
an adaptation from a stage play modified by Brian Russo, the director of
the GU theater department.
As much of a classic as Hammett's The Maltese Falcon has proved
to be, it has rarely gotten beyond the original 1931 novel or two early
movie versions. So it was really great to see some people who took the
time to make the story live again.
Russo's adaptation also included the Flitcraft Tale from Hammett's novel.
Having read the book in the 80s, and long before I moved to Spokane, I
didn't remember any of that part of the story. It was Julie who filled me
in after the performance on the associations with Spokane and with the
Davenport Hotel. It was Julie who also made the association with old-time
radio — giving all credit where credit is due.
It was well-done, and I congratulate Russo and the actors on their
Sam and Brigid.
Effie and Sam.
Spade, Cairo, Gutman, Wilmer.