New York, East
6 December 1994
THE MALTESE FALCON, 1941
The bronze patina lead statue in the image of a falcon; The serial number WB90066 engraved twice on the underside and on the back of the tailfeathers. The statue weighs forty five pounds; slashes to the left of the head and shoulder -11 1/2 in. high.
The detective classic with it's moody images and sinister atmosphere, starred Humphrey Bogart as ace-sleuth Sam Spade. Co-starring with Mr. Bogart were Sydney Greenstreet, Mary Astor and Peter Lorre. Debuting director John Huston set the standard of American film noir with this breakthrough style drama. In the film the Falcon, believed to be filled with precious jewels, is slashed on the shoulder by Sydney Greenstreet after an international chase. The Falcon received as much attention off-screen as it did on. During the filming Robert Taplinger of Warner Bros. Studio Publicity department released the following:
In a freak accident which injured Humphrey Bogart yesterday, the actor saved Lee Patrick's toes at the expense of his own...The relatively small but disproportionately heavy prop slipped from the actress' hands just as Bogart reached for it. He thrust Ms. Patrick back and tried to jump back himself, but was not quick enough to save the tips of the toes on his left foot...He was able to continue work without a perceptible limp, and to kid Miss Patrick with the crack:
"This is what I get for saving you when you tried to give me the bird."
Renowned actor, producer and director William Conrad, a close friend of studio chief Jack Warner, received the Falcon during his tenure on the Warner Bros. lot in the 1960s. The bird has rested on a bookshelf in Mr. Conrad's West Coast home ever since. While it is common practice to create several duplicate props that are key to a film, it appears that only two lead birds were ever made. Only one other authentic lead Falcon has ever been known to exist, in the collection of Dr. Gary Milan; it has been exhibited by Warner Bros. in 1992 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and at the studio's restrospective anniversary exhibit at the Pompidou Center in Paris.
Exhibition: The Falcon from The Estate of William Conrad has been
on exhibition at Disney-M.G.M. Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando Florida; September 13 - November 13, 1994.
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