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Kasper Gutman

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Kasper Gutman
You see? I must tell you what I know, but you won't tell me what you know. That's hardly equitable, sir. No, no, I don't think we can do business along those lines.
~ Kasper Gutman
Seventeen years I've wanted that little item and I've been trying to get it. If we must spend another year on the quest... well, sir, it will be an additional expenditure in time of only... five and fifteen seventeenths percent.
~ Gutman isn't easily discouraged.


Kasper Gutman is the main antagonist of The Maltese Falcon along with his sidekicks Joel Cairo and Wilmer Cook. Also called 'The Fat Man' due to his obesity, he appears to have some sort of criminal background and has been hunting the Maltese Falcon for 17 years: a mcguffin that is extremely valuable as it has jewels and gems under its skin.

He threatens Sam Spade at gunpoint, demanding to obtain the Falcon by buying it or by force. Sam is able to disarm Wilmer and Cairo throughout the film and is able to keep calm despite his temper, while Gutman tries to patiently overwhelm him.

As the negotiations continue Sam becomes concerned about how Gutman ordered the murder of several other individuals and is worried that the police will interrupt the dealings and arrest the group. Sam agrees to a deal under the condition that they have a fallguy for the murders to distract the police. Eventually Sam chooses Wilmer as the fallguy as he was directly involved in some of them and so is guilty of murder anyways. Wilmer attacks Sam in response but is defeated. With Sam stealing Wilmer's and Cairo's guns and holding Gutman at gunpoint: Gutman is forced to agree along with $10,000 for the bird.

However when they get the bird it is discovered to be a fake copy made of lead. Cairo and Gutman are distressed and outraged to realize that one of the dealers, Kemidov, discovered how valuable the bird was and made the switch. However Gutman quickly calms down and even laughs. He invites Cairo to travel to Constantinople to reclaim their bird from Kemidov.

Trivia

  • Kingpin from Marvel Comics is directly inspired by Gutman and his actor Sydney Greenstreet. They both share an obese appearance, bald head and gentlemen appearance and personality while still being criminal masterminds.

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