The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

50 mistakes

Visible crew/equipment: After the ship's captain delivers the Falcon to Sam Spade's office, he collapses on the leather sofa in the foreground. Just after Spade's secretary says, "Is he ...?", the shadow of someone's head passes over the sofa.

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Continuity mistake: After going through his pockets, Spade holds Joel Cairo's three passports in his hand, but if you watch closely he puts four passports onto the top of the table.

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Other mistake: Detectives Dundy and Polhaus visit Bogart at 3:40 in the middle of the night as we see the time on his alarm clock after they walk in. In the previous shot it's impossible to tell what time it is time because there are no hands on the clock.

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Continuity mistake: At Spade's apartment, Brigid O'Shaughnessy tells Joel Cairo, "I haven't got the falcon, I'll have it in another week at most, though". The lamp on the table of the right of the screen changes position throughout the scene without anyone going near it. At first it's pointing downward then later it's pointing sideways at the three of them.

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Continuity mistake: Kasper Gutman goes wild cutting the Maltese Falcon continuously with his knife, but in one of the inserted close-ups of him he's just standing there not doing anything.

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Continuity mistake: As Spade speaks to Brigid O'Shaughnessy in the first scene of the movie, there's a file cabinet in between Miles' and Spade's desk. Throughout the scene, the books on top of the file cabinet move without anyone going near them.

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Visible crew/equipment: At the end of the movie, Kasper Gutman gets ready to leave and as he passes in front of Brigid O'Shaughnessy an equipment shadow appears on her head.

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Continuity mistake: Spade pulls an orchestra ticket to the Geary Theatre out of Joel Cairo's wallet. At first three-quarters of the ticket is underneath the flap of the wallet then in the next shot the entire ticket is out of the wallet.

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Visible crew/equipment: Spade returns to Brigid O'Shaughnessy's apartment and tells her about his meeting with Joel Cairo. Right when he says, "He offered me $5,000 for the black bird," the shadow of the boom mike can be seen above the fireplace.

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Visible crew/equipment: As Wilmer Cook walks Spade up to Kasper Gutman's hotel room a boom mike shadow appears on Cook before they enter the room.

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Audio problem: When Effie says on the phone to Archer's widow "no, not yet" her lips do not move.

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Continuity mistake: Spade and Kasper Gutman talk face to face about who killed Thursby and Capt. Jacobi. If you look closely the lamp between them, which has two very distinct handles, rotates 45 degrees between shots.

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Continuity mistake: When the two other detectives are interrogating Sam in his house, he keeps changing place.

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Dr Wilson

Continuity mistake: Kasper Gutman stands in front of the Maltese Falcon and demands the $10,000 back from Spade. If you look closely the falcon is untouched without any knife marks on it.

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Continuity mistake: Spade tells Joel Cairo, "When you're slapped you'll take it and like it" just before he pummels him. At first there's no blood on his cheek but then in the next shot blood spatter appears out of nowhere.

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Continuity mistake: When Joel Cairo returns to his hotel after being interrogated by the police he asks for the key to Room 603 - but earlier he has told Spade that he lived at Room 635.

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Continuity mistake: The police visit Spade's apartment after Miles Archer murder and we see a nice tie rack with several ties hanging off of it behind the lamp near his night stand. Earlier in the movie we saw this spot when he got the call about the murder and the tie rack was not there.

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Continuity mistake: A sweaty knifeless Kasper Gutman places the Maltese Falcon back up on the table after they find out it's a fake, but in the next shot they show him holding the knife again.

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Continuity mistake: Brigid O'Shaughnessy goes into the kitchen to make some coffee and hands Kasper Gutman the $10,000. He shows Spade nine bills and claims that she pocketed one of the thousand dollar bills. Spade gets Gutman to admit that he, "palmed it" but if you look closely the money is never out of our sight and he never palmed anything.

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Continuity mistake: As Spade speaks to Brigid O'Shaughnessy in the first scene of the movie there's a file cabinet in between Miles' and Spade's desk. Throughout the scene the books on top of the file cabinet change positions without anyone going near them.

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Continuity mistake: As Kasper Gutman talks to Spade about the Maltese Falcon, we see the bottle of liquor on the table go from half full to three quarters full in two shots without anyone going near it.

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Continuity mistake: Kasper Gutman drugs Spade and as they get up from the couch after speaking about the black bird we see a vase on table with roses in it. The roses have been rearranged and the items on top of the table have moved throughout the scene even though no one has gone near it.

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Character mistake: When Spade leaves Brigid in her hotel room, he says he will buzz her buzzer long-short-long-short, so she will know it's him. When he does return, he only buzzes long-short.

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Continuity mistake: Miles Archer walks in and throws his hat on his desk as Sam Spade speaks to Brigid O'Shaughnessy in the first scene of the movie. The hat is leaning against a letter holder on Miles' desk, later it's in the letter holder and no one went near it.

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Continuity mistake: Joel Cairo is knocked cold by Spade's upper cut and as he's unconscious Spade goes through his pockets. He takes his wallet out first and places it on the table behind him but by the time his hand reaches the table in the next shot the wallet becomes a watch.

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Visible crew/equipment: Before Spade walks into Kasper Gutman's hotel room there's one chair against the far wall. When he leaves the room there are two.

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Continuity mistake: Miles Archer walks in as Sam Spade speaks to Brigid O'Shaughnessy and he sits down. At the right side of his desk a coat hanger with a hat on it appears out of nowhere next to the window.

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Continuity mistake: Spade is a gracious host and offers Detectives Dundy and Polhaus a drink from a bottle that appears between shots on his night stand.

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Continuity mistake: Capt. Jacobi brings the Maltese Falcon to Spade's office and drops it at his feet. The Falcon is tied up with string with the center having one strand wrapped around it. Later when Spade picks it up the center has two strands of string tied together around it.

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Continuity mistake: Spade shows up at Brigid O'Shaughnessy's apartment as she's unpacking. The two slips that are draped over the open suitcase in the center of the room move as the scene progresses even though no one goes near them.

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Continuity mistake: As Kasper Gutman yammers on about the Maltese Falcon, we see Spade finish his drink. He never goes near the bottle but two shots later there's a small amount of liquid back in his glass. In the next shot it's empty again.

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Continuity mistake: The pillow on the hotel room couch moves between shots as Gutman pours Spade a drink.

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Continuity mistake: At the end of the movie Kasper Gutman's bowler is sitting flush on the table to left of him. No one goes near it but later in a close-up it rests at an angle on top of some other clothing.

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Continuity mistake: When Spade talks to his lawyer, Effie brings in Joel Cairo's calling card. Spade's packet of rolling papers are right next to his phone in some shots and not in others, even though he doesn't touch it.

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Continuity mistake: Miles Archer is shot and Sam Spade stands at the wood fence on top of the hill looking down at the body. When Miles is shot he holds onto the fencepost and there is no railing on the left or on the right, but when Spade stands there railing is on the left side.

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Continuity mistake: Spade walks into his office and Effie tells him that Kasper Gutman called and that Brigid O'Shaughnessy is in his private office. When he first walks in there's nothing by the water cooler on their left but several shots later he walks out to talk to Effie again and now there's a coat rack with several coats on it moved up next to the water cooler.

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Continuity mistake: As Spade speaks to Brigid O'Shaughnessy in the first scene of the movie, just about everything on his desk moves between shots without being touched.

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Continuity mistake: Spade returns to his office the next day to find Iva Archer waiting for him. The lamp in the center of Effie's desk is removed between shots as he turns to look at her.

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Continuity mistake: Joel Cairo plays with his umbrella as he speaks to Spade about the possibility of him finding the Maltese Falcon. When he says, "I am prepared to pay, on behalf of the figure's rightful owner, the sum of $5,000 for its recovery," the handle of the umbrella changes positions between shots.

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Continuity mistake: At the end of the movie everyone meets up at Spade's apartment. When he walks in he throws his hat down on the table with the phone on it in front of the window. The next time we see it up close the hat is reversed, everything on the table has been rearranged and his alarm clock appears next to the phone. Later the hat moves without anyone going near it.

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Visible crew/equipment: As Spade gives the guns back to Wilmer Cook in Kasper Gutman's hotel room an equipment shadow appears on Cook as they proceed to the couch.

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Continuity mistake: At Spade's apartment, Brigid O'Shaughnessy and Joel Cairo get into a fight just as Detectives Dundy and Polhaus are talking to him at the front door. They come in and Joel has blood on his face, but it changes between shots throughout the scene.

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Continuity mistake: Spade goes up to Kasper Gutman's hotel room, gets mad and storms out. Before he leaves, everything on the liquor tray on the table in front of them moves between shots.

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Continuity mistake: Joel Cairo walks into Spade's office and his phone is on some papers in some shots and not in others.

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Continuity mistake: Kasper Gutman says, "Come come, Mr. Spade. You can't expect us to believe at this late date that you're the least bit afraid of the police" with his left hand on his chin. In the next shot his left hand is at his side.

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Continuity mistake: In his hotel room as they speak about the black bird, Kasper Gutman pours Spade a drink. A second glass appears on the table just before they sit down.

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Visible crew/equipment: When detective Dundy visits Spade in the middle of the night and asks, "What kind of gun do you carry?" an equipment shadow can be seen moving above Spade's head on the lamp.

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Revealing mistake: In the final scene where Miss O'Shaughnessy is in the elevator with the detective, the door closes and the elevator starts to 'descend', indicated by dark glass going down, supposedly because the lighted elevator is passing beyond the view of the exterior door. But if you look, you can still see the silhouette of Miss O'Shaughnessy behind the glass, not moving. It is just a piece of wood or something being lowered behind the glass to simulate the elevator going down.

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Continuity mistake: As Sam Spade slaps Joel Cairo, Joe's bow-tie changes from polka dots to stripes.

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Factual error: In the opening credits, it says that the Knights Templar of Malta paid tribute to the King of Spain with the Falcon in 1539. The Knights that were in Malta were the Knights Hospitallers of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. They mixed with the order of the Knights Templar, which went out of existence in 1314 and has also been founded in Jerusalem. They had nothing to do with Malta.

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Dr Wilson

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