75th anniversary screenings of iconic film this week in two Chattanooga area theaters

If you go

› What: “The Maltese Falcon”› Tickets: $13.66 plus handling fee› Tickets: www.FathomEvents.com or theater box office› Locations: Carmike East Ridge 18, 5080 South Terrace, 2 p.m. today, 7 p.m. Wednesday; Regal Hamilton Place, 2000 Hamilton Place Blvd, 2 and 7 p.m. today and Wednesday

Five ways ‘Maltese Falcon’ changed movies

The late movie critic Roger Ebert called “The Maltese Falcon,” the “great divide,” naming five changes that occurred after its 1941 release that were not true before.1. The movie defined Humphrey Bogart’s performances for the rest of his life. Hard-boiled Sam Spade rescued him from a decade of middling roles in B gangster movies and positioned him for “Casablanca,” “Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” “The African Queen” and his other classics.2. It was the first film directed by John Huston, who for more than 40 years would be a prolific maker of movies that were muscular, stylish and daring.3. It contained the first screen appearance of Sydney Greenstreet, who went on in “Casablanca” and other films, becoming one of the most striking character actors in movie history.4. It was the first pairing of Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. So well did they work together, they made nine other movies, including “Casablanca” (1942) and “The Mask of Dimitrios” (1944), in which they were the stars instead of supporting actors.5. “The Maltese Falcon” put down the foundation for the American genre of mean streets, knife-edged heroes, dark shadows and tough dames.

Memorable Movie Lines

Detective Tom Polhaus (Ward Bond) picking up the falcon: “Heavy. What is it?”Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart): “The stuff that dreams are made of.”Sam Spade to Effie (Lee Patrick): “You’re a good man, sister.”

The 1941 movie classic that set the standard in film noir returns to theaters this week in celebration of its 75th anniversary.

"The Maltese Falcon" will be shown in special screenings today and Wednesday at the Carmike East Ridge 18 and Regal Hamilton Place as part of Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies' Big Screen Classics Series. The local multiplexes are two of 650 theaters nationwide offering the rare chance to see film icon Humphrey Bogart again on the big screen. TCM Network host Ben Mankiewicz offers on-screen commentary before and after each showing.

"'The Maltese' Falcon created the template for film noir," says Gareth Jones of Birmingham, Ala., an adjunct film professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a faculty member at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Jones teaches online introduction to film courses for UTC.

"It gave us these iconic archetypes we've come to expect in all film noir: the anti-hero, the femme fatale and villains who are likable but absolutely horrible," he says. "Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, the villains in this movie, are two of the most iconic. This film and 'High Sierra,' which also came out that year, really cemented Bogart as a major film star."

"The Maltese Falcon," released in 1941, was the third film interpretation of the detective novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett. The story follows San Francisco detective Sam Spade (Bogart), who takes a case brought to him by a beautiful, secretive woman (Mary Astor). Crime and intrigue follow as Spade deals with unscrupulous low-lifes who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a fabled jewel-encrusted falcon statue.

Neither Bogart nor Astor were the first choices to play the leads - producer Hal Wallis wanted George Raft and Geraldine Fitzgerald. Raft is reported to have passed on the Sam Spade role because he didn't want to work with its inexperienced director, John Huston, whose film career would become legendary as well.

"This movie is a classic because it brought film noir, John Huston and Humphrey Bogart to the masses," says Ryne Williams, 27, who has seen "Falcon" three times. "Bogart is so cool! He can be cold, almost rigid, but he's still readable - you see the anger in his eyes. He knows how to work a word."

The T-Mobile employee was 19 when he first saw the movie. He adds that it's not his favorite Bogey movie - that's "Casablanca" - but "Falcon" hooked him because "it's really complicated, the plot is all over the place. But the movie is so stylish; it's all about the way the characters are drawn."

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.