Great books seldom make movies as great as John Huston's version of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. They're even more rarely true to the book and and its larger than life female characters. Hammett's Brigid O’Shaughnessy displays all the necessary qualifications for a classic old school heroine. She’s twenty-three, possessed of porcelain skin and big blue eyes, and prefers to talk in a breathy, girlish voice. Mary Astor was ten years older than the literary Brigid when she played the role, but everything else about her portrayal comes straight from Hammett.
(And if you want to read more about Reflections on the Magic of Writing—and how could you not?—I strongly recommend Ana’s review at Things Mean A Lot.)