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

A special note on availability of this play:


The new 2020 Canadian copyright law makes it plain that any works which have fallen into the public domain in Canada prior to the passing of Bill C-100
will NOT be grandfathered into the new extended term -- meaning that the play on this page is
100% legal for production in Canada!

This also appears to be the case in New Zealand.


THE MALTESE FALCON is not available in the U.S. until January 1, 2024 -- I think.
The U.S. copyright law, unlike copyright law in just about every other country, is an unimaginably complex can of worms.
According to U.S. law, anything published before 1978 enjoys a maximum copyright protection of 95 years.
As my adaptation is based on the 1929 serialized version, it is legal as of 2024.

Australia, U.K., others: please look into your country's copyright laws to determine legality of productions where you are.

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 number 23.

Unrestricted by the 1930s "Hollywood code", our new adaptation
puts the book's sexy 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 the 1941 movie 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.