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Word Count: 1,276
The Maltese Falcon and its Significance in American Film The world that emerged at the end of World War I was utterly different from what had existed before An entire generation of young men had been killed in battle and millions were wounded or maimed for life Entire empires had been removed from the map and new nations were struggling to survive Europe was no longer the dominant region of the world for both Britain and France were exhausted and Germany lay in ruins The United States was now the most important nation in the world And from this power sprouted influence This influence spread throughout the art world especially film and literature While American movies and books borrowed heavily from past European greats Americans made the art completely their own In the lull between the Wars in time where disillusioned soldiers were returning home to a world that had left them behind things got a bit darker Bad guys became human good guys became bad and everyone was out to get something or someone Lines were b lurred between right and wrong because who knew which was which anymore If going over seas to kill nameless men was acceptable then surely it was all right for Mike Hammer to shoot the escaping villain with no remorse These detective and gangster stories were morality tales Horatio Alger success stories turned upside down in which characters that do wrong when necessary are rewarded and those that lead law abiding lives are considered square And perhaps it was this role reversal that made these films and books and comics so popular it let the reader the square become the detective or the villain if only for a moment So the popularity of crime fiction grew exponentially in both film and movies James Cagney Humphrey Bogart and other who played the deliciously unsavory characters could be seen plastered against the walls of any movie house in any city
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