Saturday & Monday: "The Maltese Falcon"

July 22 and July 24

“He makes crime a career, and ladies a hobby! He’s as fast on the draw as he is in the drawing room!” He is Sam Spade. Humphrey Bogart’s Sam Spade. Or, anyway, Humphrey Bogart’s rendition of John Huston’s version of Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade. The classic (three-Oscar nominated) film doesn’t feel fresh, but it does feel vital, even relevant, in a time of special council investigations of a mobbed-up, possibly treasonous U.S. President and a mass media landscape that works like a hall of mirrors. This is the movie that created the language of modern film noir. Every one-light shot, every shadow tells a story, and every story contradicts the story you thought you were seeing. Is it a murder mystery? Is it a caper? Is it a love story, or an anti-love story? Can you even take it seriously? Anyone who remembers the original Saturday Night Live can picture John Belushi doing Sidney Greenstreet’s opening monologue, which maybe even happened in some parallel-universe Fletch. Bogart is becoming Bogart here, all ‘40s smush-kiss moves and staccato demands amid the soaring soundtrack. It’s all quite a lark. Except maybe it’s a falcon. 11:30 a.m. on July 22; 7 p.m. on July 24, The Charles Theatre, 1711 N. Charles St., 410-727-3456, thecharles.com, $8.50 matinee; $11 evening show (Edward Ericson Jr.)

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