Sinister Cinema: Hammett Easter Egg in Arrow

falcon arrow

Check out the screen grab above. Is there anyone who surfs into Up and Down These Mean Streets who does not recognize the back of a Maltese Falcon statue modeled from the one in the Bogie flick when they see one?

If so, it is the figurine on the right.

The image comes on the counter at 32:40 in “Legends of Yesterday,” Season 4 Episode 8 of The CW’s Arrow — part two of this season’s annual crossover with The CW’s The Flash. I was catching up on the superhero action on the DVR and lamped the bird immediately, though it is only seen for a moment as the camera pans right during a big fight scene flashback in ancient Egypt.

The Egypt angle comes in as part of the backstory of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, who’ll end up in the Legends of Tomorrow spin-off on The CW next year. If this storyline comes from the actual DC Comics, it showed up long after I had stopped reading.

When I was reading in the lost yesteryear of the 1960s Hawkman was my favorite character, as scripted by Gardner F. Fox and drawn by Murphy Anderson — and I even tracked down some earlier appearances when Joe Kubert was on the pencil and inks.

The nod to Hammett and/or the 1941 The Maltese Falcon makes sense just as a visual pun — Hawkman, one of the most famous falcon statues of our culture, the whole Horus deal. Got it.

Kudos to the props department.

And if someone somewhere on the show intended for it to mean more — suggesting perhaps a much more time-stained and sinister origin for the statue than the yarn Caspar Gutman spins about it for the edification of Sam Spade, going back 4000 years to ancient Ægypt and possibly further back in time than that — well, hey, why not?

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