Has anyone ever seen an accurate Maltese Falcon?

ZenBird

New Member
Me too, and I'd love one. I've been trying to lay hands on one of these since I got into props a buncha years ago, but all I see are crappy casts and bad sculpts.
 

DARTH SABER

Master Member
I think Acme used to make them (Same guys that used to make the gold plated Staff of Ra headpiece)...
Im not sure how accurate they were though..
 

Probe Droid

Master Member
I have one of the cheapo plaster ones that look pretty close. Not as much detail in the feathers, but as has been said, even the original RKO prop is soft looking.

Several years ago there was a story in the newspaper about a guy who bought one of these at a flea market and it turned out to be one of the three original RKO props (it had some info scratched into the bottom that was traceable back to the studio). The guy was a budding filmmaker and he resold it for a fortune and used the money to finance a film. Nice story, but probably as phony as the black bird itself.
 

patsmear

Sr Member
I will try to get some pics on July 14th.

Harry Anderson is opening a shop here and he has what he says is an original. He said he swiped it after filming an episode of Night Court that it was featured in.


Pat
 

Ryusui

Well-Known Member
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patsmear wrote:
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Harry Anderson is opening a shop here and he has what he says is an original. He said he swiped it after filming an episode of Night Court that it was featured in.
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Bloody lucky bastard!
 

patsmear

Sr Member
He is a really nice guy too.

You will always find him drinking in Molly's or Harry's corner.


Pat
 

Droidboy

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
To further expand on the Anderson story, I saw him on the Tonight Show years ago talking about it. I guess he took a replica that he had to the set to be a part of his office set dressing. An executive heard he wanted to take it home, and instead offered him one of two that were in a box somewhere at the studio. This turned out to be a real one.

Harry went back later to take the other with a friend, who got the other copy. The friend...the one and only Mel Torme.


MK....

Your bird looks awesome. This is definitely one of the holy grails for my collection.

Gregg
 

LZeitgeist

Well-Known Member
What do you think of this one?

If you're offering that one, I'm curious of price/availability... but even if it (or any 'brothers' it might have) aren't available, it's still gorgeous...
 

misterfusion

Sr Member
As of about a year and a half ago, Warner Bros. had one on display in their studio museum, along with Sam's piano and a handful of documents.
 

patsmear

Sr Member
Wow,

I forgot about this thread. I still haven't gone to Harry's shop.

Droidboy,

That is a great story. I wasn't sure how he got it and didn't want to ask!

Pat
 

Probe Droid

Master Member
There were two screen-used Falcon props. One is a 50-pound lead statue used in the scene where Gutman attacks it on Spade's desk. The other is lighter so the actors could lift it. Both are accounted for. One, which is owned by a man named Gary Milan, who also owns Sam's piano from Casablanca as well as several other Casablanca screen-used props and set pieces, is on display in the Warner Brothers museum in CA. Warners had a bunch of Falcons cast to give away as promotional pieces after the film was released. This might be what Harry Anderson has.
 

MK

New Member
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Probe Droid wrote:
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There were two screen-used Falcon props. One is a 50-pound lead statue used in the scene where Gutman attacks it on Spade's desk. The other is lighter so the actors could lift it. Both are accounted for. One, which is owned by a man named Gary Milan, who also owns Sam's piano from Casablanca as well as several other Casablanca screen-used props and set pieces, is on display in the Warner Brothers museum in CA. Warners had a bunch of Falcons cast to give away as promotional pieces after the film was released. This might be what Harry Anderson has.
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Mostly correct.

The lead bird is 43&1/2 pounds. There were two made for the Bogart film. Dr. Milan owns the one for the reveal at the end of the movie. William Conrad owned the other which is not clear if it was seen on screen or a back up.

I have not seen any evidence that plaster birds were cast. The better plaster ones you can by on e-bay and in Hollywood stores are from the 1975 movie, The Black Bird with George Segal. They are easily recognizable by the pronouced feathers on the chest....like this one:




Thanks for the kind words about my feathered friend.
 

LZeitgeist

Well-Known Member
Ahh, *that*'s why mine doesn't look quite accurate... mine is a replica from The Black Bird. The beak is much rounder and less-pronounced, too...

So.. does the other one have any brothers?
PM me if you prefer...
 

Probe Droid

Master Member
MK:
I got that info from a friend of mine who is a leading Dashiell Hammett scholar. He visited Milan a few weeks ago, and Milan told him about Warners casting copies as giveaways. Considering his collection, Milan sounds like a guy who has done his homework. It also sounds like a perfectly logical thing for a studio to do to promote the film, so I believe they existed at one time.
 

MK

New Member
My information regarding the plaster birds comes directly from my conversation with Dr. Milan. The story about plaster birds given to execs is true......but they were from the 1975 movie. That is why none of the e-bay/Hollywood falcons look like the one from the Bogart movie. I have searched far and wide and have yet to see a plaster(....or any other material) falcon that is from the sculpture from the 1941 movie. Have you? Pictures anyone? If I am in error, please show me.

The story about this prop is almost as sorted as the Falcon in the movie itself.
 
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