Synopsis by Mark Deming
While John Huston's screen adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon is widely regarded as a screen classic, it wasn't the first time Hammett's novel had been brought to the screen, and this comedy drama offers a decidedly different spin on the same story. Detective Ted Shayne (Warren William) is hired by a woman named Valerie Purvis (Bette Davis) to find a woman named Mme. Barrabas (Alison Skipworth). Valerie, however, won't tell Ted what she wants from her, and as he tries to track down Barrabas, Barrabas' people come to him in search of Valerie. When Ted and Barrabas finally meet, she claims Valerie has a valuable piece of her property -- a jewel-encrusted ram's horn -- and she'll gladly pay Ted to return it to her. Certain Valerie hasn't been on the level with him, Ted asks his partner to trail her, but when Valerie discovers she's being watched, she kills the second detective. Unaware that she's killed Ted's partner, Valerie asks that Ted pick up a package for her from a ship arriving from Asia the next day, which Ted realizes is the precious horn that has caused all the trouble. Satan Met a Lady was actually the second feature film based on The Maltese Falcon; the first, also called The Maltese Falcon, was released in 1931.
detective, double-cross, killing, treasure