The Maltese Falcon logo
A mystery-thriller based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett

A special note on copyright for this play:

Dashiell Hammett died more than 50 years ago, making this play completely legal in Canada and any other country where copyright term is
"life of the author plus 50 years".

The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and a number of other countries
have a copyright term of 
"life of the author plus 70 years",
making it impossible for me to license the play in those countries until January 1, 2032.

BUT! Changes to the copyright laws could bring the Canadian status into question once the USMCA deal
(aka the Trump Trade Travesty) comes into effect. While the wording of the clauses is a little unclear,
it could be that works that have already fallen into the public domain in Canada could be re-included in copyright protection.

SO, CANADIAN THEATRE COMPANIES! Get your production on the boards before the changes happen!  CONTACT me now!

The Maltese Falcon generic
Sam Spade is a world-weary private dick, running a not-very successful operation with his partner Miles Archer.  Enter Miss Wonderly (if that is her real name), who offers cash for them to tail a man who has abducted her young sister.

Then Archer ends up dead.

Fast-moving scenes introduce the characters of Casper Gutman (The Fat Man), Joel Cairo, Wilmer the gunman, Iva (Archer's amorous widow) and, of course, Effie, Spade's efficient and sexy secretary.  Not to mention, Brigid O'Shaughnessy (if that is her real name) who twists men around her finger to deadly effect.

And, all in pursuit of the black bird.

He kissed her hard and contemptuously.
This adaptation puts the sizzle back in The Maltese Falcon
Above: What's better than a little sax between scenes?
Above: "Are you a close-mouthed man, sir?" Gutman is, well, Gutman.
What would you do for the Black Bird?

Dashiell Hammett's 1929 novel is considered by many to be the ultimate hard-boiled detective story and is listed as number 54 on The Guardian's list of the Top 100 books of all time. Adapted for the screen three times, most famously, in 1941 with Humphrey Bogart, which makes the AFI's Top 100 Films list at #23.

Unrestricted by the "Hollywood code", our new adaptation is able to put the sizzle back into the show -- it's hot!

Above: Effie and Sam -- just what is their thing, anyway?

Left: "She was in his arms when the police arrived." Sam and Brigid -- their final moments.


Our new adaptation moves as fast as a desk or a chair can be slid on- or off-stage. We augmented that with some live, hot sax -- even the scene changes were part of the entertainment.

A fast, fast script, a lot of action, a bit of sex and a gripping story made it a real audience-pleaser.
Above: Sam takes just a little too much pleasure in cold-cocking a disarmed Cairo.

Right: What was a fade-out and cut in 1941 is a whole new morning in our adaptation

"Well choreographed ... delightful ... community theatre at its finest..." Z.F. New Brunswick
"A masterful adaptation." J.D. Perth
"Brilliant! ... as usual." R.J. Ottawa
"What a great play!" M.F. Perth
"Even the scene changes are part of the entertainment." D.B. Perth
"More bodies and dames than you can shake a black bird at.
A fabulous way to spend a few hours before the lights go out." S. C. M. Perth
"Every thing works in this well-directed play. The seamless, in-character set changes, the narrator and sax player balancing the wings, the physicality and the rapid fire dialogue. Thoroughly enjoyed ..." J.S. Perth
2 acts; approx. 100 minutes plus intermission

6 men / 3 women
(5 men / 3 women possible)

1 open setting with movable pieces.