Saturday, June 15, 2013

“A Writer ... Caught Up in a Real-life Plot”

It’s been most of three decades since I last watched director Wim Wenders’ noirish 1982 film, Hammett, based on Joe Gores’ 1975 novel of that same name. However, the trailer below, which I happened across today on YouTube, makes me want to sample the picture once more. Has anybody else seen this cinematic ode to detective-author Dashiell Hammett more recently? If so, how does it hold up?


michael a. gonzales said...

I noticed the other day that Hammett is streaming on Netflix.

Anonymous said...

I recently watched it (while writing my Masters dissertation on Hammett).

Its production was bogged down in all kinds of difficulties. Probably the most complete account is in (Mellen, Joan. Hellman and Hammett: the Legendary Passion of Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1996.)

The film itself is fine. The mystery at its centre suffers from being a bit obvious and a bit cliched. It also suffers a bit from relatively low production values. It's perfectly passable though.

Joe Gores also wrote a prequel to The Maltese Falcon, which is less good. (Gores, Joe. Spade & Archer: the prequel to Dashiell Hammett’s The maltese falcon. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.) Though it got a pretty good review from James Ellroy when it came out.

William Nolan also wrote a novel with Dashiell Hammett as detective (Nolan, William F. The Black mask murders: a novel featuring the Black mask boys, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Erle Stanley Gardner. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994.)

Tony Ungawa said...

I think Hammett is one of those rare examples of the movie being better than the novel it is based upon.

TracyK said...

We have watched Hammett several times, mostly in the 90s, and I just realized it has been years since our last viewing, at least 6 years. We love it for the style, the atmosphere. Now, thinking about the movie, I want to watch it again and read the novel it was based on.

Anonymous said...

I liked the fine, underrated Retro-Noir also. Some critics called it Wenders finest film (he did also the fantastic Patricia-Highsmith-Tom-Ripley-Movie "Der amerikanische Freund"/"The american friend", based on "Ripleys Game") and his most unpersonal film. Both opinions are true.
I did some time ago a lengthy review of the DVD (in German):