The other night we watched The Maltese Falcon and my daughter wanted a little plot summary before the movie started. Do I need to indicate SPOILER ALERT here? Doesn't everybody know how the movie ends? I thought I did. Oops.
If you too have forgotten (or never seen it....shame on you) the epynomous falcon is a fabled statuette said to have been intended as tribute from the Knight Templars of Malta for King Charles V. Solid gold and encrusted with jewels, the bird was sent by ship to Spain in 1539, but it never arrived. Pirates captured and looted the ship at sea and the falcon's whereabouts remained a mystery, at least in 1941 when the movie was made.
Bogart, playing detective Sam Spade, gets involved with a ring of sinister characters who've all heard that the precious bird has surfaced.
I've seen the movie a few times and was SURE that at film's end, as the rags are unwound from around the statuette, somebody in the group tosses it on the floor, cracking it open and revealing a roll of microfilm inside. Turns out, in my imagined ending, that the bird's value is in its contents (war-related spy pictures) and not in the statue itself.
Needless to say, this isn't how the movie ends.
But what movie am I thinking of?