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Hammett (1982)

6.5
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The novel writter Dashiell Hammett is involved in the investigation of the mysterious disappearance of a beautiful chinese cabaret actress in San Francisco.

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Title: Hammett (1982)

Hammett (1982) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Jimmy Ryan
...
Kit Conger / Sue Alabama
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English Eddie Hagedorn
...
Eli the Taxi Driver (as Elisha Cook)
Lydia Lei ...
Crystal Ling
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Lt. O'Mara
...
Detective Bradford
Michael Chow ...
Fong Wei Tau
...
The Punk
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Donaldina Cameron
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Elmer Kline ...
Doc Fallon
...
Pops
Samuel Fuller ...
Old Man in Pool Hall
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Storyline

The novel writter Dashiell Hammett is involved in the investigation of the mysterious disappearance of a beautiful chinese cabaret actress in San Francisco. Written by Michel Rudoy <mdrc@hp9000a1.uam.mx>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He Created 'The Maltese Falcon," "Sam Spade" and "The Thin Man". But He Didn't Write This Mystery-Thriller...He Lived It. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 September 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Investigación en el Barrio Chino  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A number of actors from the Golden Age of Old Hollywood were cast in the picture. These were Royal Dano, Hank Worden and Elisha Cook Jr.. 'Time Out' declared that the film was "bit-cast with iconic veterans". See more »

Quotes

Crystal Ling: He was good.
Hammett: He was the best - in his heyday.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Dream Studio (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
HAMMETT (Wim Wenders, 1982) ***
6 May 2006 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

A surprising - and quite successful - belated attempt at film noir which gave Fredric Forrest the role of his life (Jason Robards Jr. had previously portrayed famed mystery writer Dashiell Hammett in JULIA [1977], and won an Oscar for it!) but also features terrific support from, among others, Peter Boyle, Marilu Henner, Richard Bradford and Elisha Cook Jnr. (playing an "anarchist with syndicalist tendencies"), not to mention cameos from the likes of Sylvia Sydney, Samuel Fuller and Royal Dano! Impeccable lighting and production design, together with John Barry's evocative score, set the seal on its perfect recreation of the genre's typical ambiance.

While the mystery plot wasn't immediately gripping and seemed unnecessarily convoluted (by way of an added fancy in which Hammett imagines characters from the film 'playing' the ones he invents for his stories!), it worked its way smoothly towards a satisfying conclusion. The fictionalized script took care to reference scenes from some of Hammett's most famous work - notably Roy Kinnear's Sydney Greenstreet impersonation and Forrest's own hand shaking (like Bogart's did) after standing up to the heavies, both from THE MALTESE FALCON (1941). However, the film's pornography subplot is actually derived from Raymond Chandler's "The Big Sleep"!

Even if HAMMETT doesn't seem to have suffered for it, the production was beset by behind-the-scenes problems which is a fascinating story in itself: executive producer Francis Ford Coppola had originally offered the film to Nicolas Roeg who, for some reason, didn't do it and eventually made BAD TIMING (1980; which, incidentally, I watched only a few days later!). Wenders, a lifelong devotee of American genre cinema, stepped behind the camera but his work apparently didn't meet the approval of his backers! "Halliwell's Film Guide" explained the situation thus: "The film was actually in pre-production from 1975, though shooting did not begin until 1980. This version was abandoned in rough cut and two-thirds of it was shot again in 1981 with a different crew. Sylvia Miles and Brian Keith were in the first version and not the second." For this reason alone, it's truly a shame that Paramount's DVD was a bare-bones affair (if very reasonably priced!) as a documentary on the making of the film or, better still, individual Audio Commentaries by Wenders and Coppola would have been greatly appreciated...


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