Open main menu

The Black Bird is a 1975 film released December 25, 1975 starring George Segal and Stéphane Audran. It is a comedy sequel to the well-regarded 1941 film version of The Maltese Falcon with Segal playing Sam Spade's son, Sam Spade, Jr., and Lee Patrick and Elisha Cook Jr. reprising their roles of Effie Perrine and Wilmer Cook.

The Black Bird
The Black Bird Poster.jpg
Directed byDavid Giler
Produced byGeorge Segal
Ray Stark
Lou Lombardo
Michael Levee
Written byDavid Giler (Screenplay)
Gordon Cotler (Story)
Don Mankiewicz (Story)
StarringGeorge Segal
Stéphane Audran
Music byJerry Fielding
CinematographyPhilip H. Lathrop
Edited byLou Lombardo
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
December 25, 1975
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Black Bird was panned by critics and audiences alike, and is still considered the weakest film adaptation of the novel; Pauline Kael wrote that the film is "a dumb comedy, with an insecure tone and some good ideas mixed with some terrible ones."[1]



When San Francisco private detective Sam Spade dies, his son, Sam, Jr., inherits his father's agency, including the sarcastic secretary, Effie Perine (also known as "Godzilla"). He must also continue his father's tradition of "serving minorities." When Caspar Gutman is killed outside Spade's building, his dying words are, "It's black and as long as your arm."

Spade is given an offer by a member of the Order of St. John's Hospital to purchase his father's useless copy of the Maltese Falcon. A right-wing thug named Gordon Immerman has been hired to make sure Spade delivers the bird. Spade later gets an offer from Wilmer Cook for the Falcon, but before they can negotiate, Cook is killed. Shortly thereafter Spade meets a beautiful and mysterious Russian woman named Anna Kemidov, daughter of the general who once owned the real Maltese Falcon. She also wants Spade's copy and is willing to seduce him to get it. Spade is soon dealing with Litvak, a bald Nazi dwarf who is surrounded by an army of Hawaiian thugs. In the ensuing chaos, Immerman tries to become Spade's partner. Spade discovers that his "false" copy may be the real thing.[2]



Ray Stark owned the rights to The Maltese Falcon and hired David Giler to adapt. Giler tried to work on the script with his friend John Milius but they were unable to collaborate. Giler then decided to turn the project into a comedy, and Stark let him direct. Filming was notable for frequent clashes between Stark and star George Segal.[3]

Lee Patrick and Elisha Cook, Jr., were reprising their roles from the original The Maltese Falcon.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kael, Pauline (1991). "The Black Bird". 5001 Nights at the Movies. MacMillan. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-8050-1367-2. a dumb comedy, with an insecure tone and some good ideas mixed with some terrible ones.
  2. ^ Plot summary in Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ The Spadework Behind a 'Falcon' Remake: Spadework Behind Remake of 'Falcon' A Remake of 'Falcon' Warga, Wayne. Los Angeles Times 15 Sep 1974: q1.
  4. ^ [1]Allmovie plot synopsis.,

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit