Maltese Falcon Spade and Archer Office (cg)

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SteveStarkiller

Sr Member
Here's a new one I've been messing around with, a set from one my favorites.

I started with a few stills of the set and photomatched them in sketchup. You can see how I blocked out all the objects in these preliminary matches.

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a lot of blood sweat and tears later, here's a quick render of where I've got to.

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and here's a rough overhead layout

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I've discovered a lot of interesting things along the way.

For instance I can say for certain that Spade's office is located on Market Street between the Call Building Tower (now demolished) visible behind Archer in the opening scenes:

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and on the other side the Humboldt Bank Building, visible behind Mrs Archer later on.

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which puts it somewhere in this photo from 1930
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of course it must be said, if you're familiar with San Francisco geography, that if it was really between those buildings the windows would face west, putting the bridge behind the office-- not visible as shown prominently in the movie. It seems a little artistic license was taken, but I always love that kind of thing.

more in the coming weeks!
 

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SteveStarkiller

Sr Member
Anyone have any more behind the scenes reference images? Apart from watching the movie frame-by-frame, I've been using three photos with slates in frame (presumably continuity stills?) showing Effie's desk, Spade and Acher's desks together, and a reverse of that showing the couch. There have to be more! I have almost everything nailed down but I always welcome more angles.
 

kruleworld

Well-Known Member
It seems a little artistic license was taken
Some nice lighting for a 'quick render'. Maybe you can take a bit of artistic yourself and make it look like a movie set? (eg back of the walls exposed and the view from the window is painted on a billboard). It might be something different than creating the actual outside city?
 

SteveStarkiller

Sr Member
Thanks!

Yeah that's what I've end up doing basically. It's somewhere between a movie set and a real location. I don't think I'll go as far as to build the exposed back walls. I have see that done in an excellent physical miniature that someone made, floating around the internet.

At one point I did consider reconstructing the actual city outside the office (in some miniature way) based on a giant civic model of San Francisco that was made in the 40s. San Francisco scale model finally home after 77-year absence

but there are too many fun details of the movie set that will get lost.

For instance out the window are all the lighted signs for fictional locations (as far as I can determine), like the Cubana, the Madison, the radio station KLVW, and a partially hidden sign for a Hotel L'Aiglon (The Eagle in French. )

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SteveStarkiller

Sr Member
still to be built is the Ronson Touchtip lighter, the stapler, the radio, intercom, Spade's hat, and an ashtray with a dog statuette visible only in one closeup of Mary Astor (a rude but subtle name calling? As Joan Crawford might put it "There's a name for you ladies, but it isn't used in high society... outside of a kennel.") Didn't think I was so close to finishing the main office!

I have Effie's outer office blocked in and need to detail that, then maybe the hallway. Still have to work out the rest of the exterior and the Humboldt Bank Building.

then after that I might as well have Archer taken off the windows and Samuel Spade put on... redo the office and add the package with ... you know.. the bird.
 

SteveStarkiller

Sr Member
thank you! I've seen one or two, and they're definitely helpful.

that mugshot on the desk in the foreground is very interesting, anyone ever seen vintage wanted posters quite like that? Almost looks like it's on a pad of paper, or pad of other mugshots? America's Most Wanted before there was TV?
 

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joberg

Master Member
thank you! I've seen one or two, and they're definitely helpful.

that mugshot on the desk in the foreground is very interesting, anyone ever seen vintage wanted posters quite like that? Almost looks like it's on a pad of paper, or pad of other mugshots? America's Most Wanted before there was TV?
Seems like a pad but I think that those mug shots/wanted shots were simply put into a stack and not in any kind of pad. Never saw those attached or put together in such fashion before...it's all loose sheets only.
 

SteveStarkiller

Sr Member
Seems like a pad but I think that those mug shots/wanted shots were simply put into a stack and not in any kind of pad. Never saw those attached or put together in such fashion before...it's all loose sheets only.

I think I agree with you. In the photo with the slate from behind Spade's desk there are some more on the left that are kind of fanned out-- definitely not in a pad.
 

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SteveStarkiller

Sr Member
quick update. Got Effie's desk mostly squared away, gotta do the typrewriter, her rolodex, and some details on the watercooler.

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plus squared away Spade's radio, and phone. That intercom is perplexing, I've read around here that no one has identified it. Seems to say TELEX on the back of it in one shot, but searches don't turn up anything even close.

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hmm... probably gonna post in black and white from here on out.
 

Lightning

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Ah yes the intercom, one of my white whales. Someday I'll figure it out.

some details on the watercooler.

If you need additional reference, I think this is the same model water-cooler. Can you confirm? I took this picture at the Pensacola Naval Museum
 

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SteveStarkiller

Sr Member
I think that's almost definitely it! Other types don't have the two-step top before the water jug. I'll double check the details, but thanks!
 
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joberg

Master Member
Intercoms are a rarity already...haven't seen those in my life:unsure: But, it's looking good...almost too good. It'll defo need some "wear and tear effects" in the future(y)
 

SteveStarkiller

Sr Member
Heh definitely needs wear and tear, consider the materials in the primer phase of the project.

The closest thing I’ve found on intercoms is not even close. These ones in the Spade office don’t look like anything else, to the extent that I wonder if it was intentional. Would they have looked futuristic to 1940s audiences? Spade and Effie have the AE34 phones maybe connected to the Telex intercoms, whereas Archer has a good old candlestick phone. I think it’s meant to signal something about the characters that the original audience would’ve seen right away
 
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