MT VOID 05/24/02 (Vol. 20, Number 47)

MT VOID 05/24/02 (Vol. 20, Number 47)

@@@@@ @   @ @@@@@    @     @ @@@@@@@   @       @  @@@@@ @@@@@ @@@
  @   @   @ @        @ @ @ @    @       @     @   @   @   @   @  @
  @   @@@@@ @@@@     @  @  @    @        @   @    @   @   @   @   @
  @   @   @ @        @     @    @         @ @     @   @   @   @  @
  @   @   @ @@@@@    @     @    @          @      @@@@@ @@@@@ @@@

Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
05/24/02 -- Vol. 20, No. 47

Table of Contents

El Presidente: Mark Leeper, The Power Behind El Pres: Evelyn Leeper, Back issues at All material copyright by author unless otherwise noted. To subscribe, send mail to To unsubscribe, send mail to

Leeperhouse Film Festival:

THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) dir by John Huston
THE CHEAP DETECTIVE (1978) dir. by Robert Moore

Some time around 1941 George Raft turned down the lead role in an upcoming mystery film. He did not want to risk his career on a first time director, one John Huston, son of an actor, who was to direct his own screenplay of a detective novel. THE MALTESE FALCON was written in 1929. The story had been filmed twice before, once as DANGEROUS FEMALE (1931) ten years earlier and once as SATAN MET A LADY (1936) five years earlier. Neither time did it seem anything to get excited about. Why remake a flop? The story is kind of a strange one also. Today we might say it is sort of Philip Marlowe meets Indiana Jones. The acting role went instead to a then second-ranked actor, Humphrey Bogart. Peter Lorre would be in it and the film introduced a new actor, Sidney Greenstreet.

"In 1539, the Knights Templar of Malta paid tribute to Charles V of Spain, by sending him a Golden Falcon encrusted from beak to claw with rarest jewels--but pirates seized the galley carrying the priceless token, and the fate of the Maltese Falcon remains a mystery to this day." So begins the adventure of THE MALTESE FALCON. The story has aspects of a fantastic pulp adventure, of then contemporary Black Mask style of hard-boiled detective stories, and of the later film noir mysteries. Some have claimed that this film actually defined the film noir mystery. The author of the novel, Dashiell Hammett, managed to create a whole nest of colorful crooks including the nasty little punk Wilmer Cook, the sinister and heavily perfumed Middle Eastern Joel Cairo, and the worldly and hugely obese Caspar Guttman, And then there is the Woman with No Name.

One could say that the real star is the dialog which is crisp and clever. But there are too many aspects of this film vying for being the real star. The nominal stars are Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet, Ward Bond, and Elisha Cook, Jr. A marvelous evocation of the pre-war hard-boiled detective story from a time when $200 was a healthy fee for a private dick.

Our second feature is THE CHEAP DETECTIVE, Neil Simon's follow-up to his MURDER BY DEATH. As a matter of personal taste, I find THE CHEAP DETECTIVE to be by far the funnier of the two films. Somehow Simon has managed to tie the plots of THE MALTESE FALCON and CASABLANCA in an overhand knot. Peter Falk fills Humphrey Bogart's shoes in both plots. The ensemble cast includes Peter Falk, Madeline Kahn, Stockard Channing, Nicol Williamson, James Cromwell, John Houseman, Ann-Margaret, and several other name actors. The plot involves Nazis, missing treasures, and murder.

We will start at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, May 29. Contact us for directions if needed. RSVP appreciated. [-mrl]

Claiming Kidnapped Children (comments by Mark R. Leeper): is a government booklet explaining the Earned Income Tax Credit. It contains the following useful information:

Kidnapped child.

You may be able to claim the EIC for persons with a qualifying child even though your child has been kidnapped.

A kidnapped child is treated as living with you for more than half of the year if the child lived with you for more than half the part of the year before the date of the kidnapping. The child must be presumed by law enforcement authorities to have been kidnapped by someone who is not a member of your family or the child's family. This treatment applies for all years that the child remains kidnapped. However, the last year this treatment can apply is the earlier of:

1) The year the child is determined to be dead, or

2) The year the child would have reached age 18.

If your qualifying child has been kidnapped and meets these requirements, enter "KC," instead of a number, on line 6 of Schedule EIC. [-mrl]

                                          Mark Leeper

Quote of the Week:

           Ambition is but avarice on stilts and masked.
                                          -- Walter Savage Landor

Go to my home page