Dashiell Hammett's "Red Harvest" upon which this was very loosely based, later provided the basic plot for numerous films, including Akira Kurasawa's "Yojimbo" and Sergio Leone's "A Fistful of Dollars". See more »
I admit I have not seen this film, so cannot review it; but in researching Hammet's "Red Harvest", and in reading the review by F Gwynplaine MacIntyre here, I was utterly shocked. Of course this film, as MacIntyre describes it, cannot possibly be based on Hammett's whirlwind-of-evil crime novel, one of the most violent in the annals of crime fiction in America, one of the most pessimistic, and one of the most obviously assaultive on the capitalist system that permits such systematic corruption as described in Hammett's book. Charles Ruggles?! God save us.
Here is a list of many of the films actually based on the Hammett novel (although none actually credits it as source material!): Yojombo (Japan, Akira Kurosawa); Fistfull of Dollars (Italy-Spain, Sergio Leone); Last Man Standing (US, Walter Hill); Miller's Crossing (US, Coen Brothers); Omega Doom (US/ British/ Taiwan); Gun Crazy: Woman from Nowhere (Japan); Cold Harvest (US/ Australia/ Israel); Mad Max (Australia, starring Mel Gibson); El Mariachi (Mexico, Robert Roderiguez); Single Action (Mexico).
Films influenced by this novel (or its film versions): practically every 'chop-socky' kung fu film made in Hong Kong during the 1970s; almost every 'Spaghetti Weswtern' made in Italy or Spain during the 1960s and 1970s; every film influenced by Mad Max (virtually a genre in itself in the 1980s) (but this also includes, however loosely, the two "Escape From" films from John Carpenter); 'film noir' of the French New Wave (especially Godard's "Alphaville") (also includes Melville's "Samurai" thus including Woo's Melville influenced "the Killer"); Ringo Lam's "Full Contact - well, let's face it the list just goes on and on.
Thus possibly the single most influential novel for fans of action cinema. Yet when Hollywood had it in hand, with Hammet still alive for consultation, they make a quasi-comedy starring - Charles Ruggles?! No wonder real lovers of cinema find Hollywood an expensive, popular, but ultimately trivial, joke! My God! - I'm glad I never saw this.
Read the novel! See all the other films! You will not be disappointed!
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