Set in 1999, a woman (Dommartin) has a car accident with some bank robbers, who enlist her help to take the bank money to a drop in Paris. On the way she runs into another fugitive from the... See full summary »
After the wild life-style of a famous young German photographer almost gets him killed, he goes to Palermo, Sicily to take a break. Can the beautiful city and a beautiful local woman help him calm himself down?
Howard Spence (Sam Shepard) has seen better days. Once a big Western movie star, he now drowns his disgust for his selfish and failed life with alcohol, drugs and young women. If he were to... See full summary »
Made of four short tales, linked by a story filmed by Wim Wenders. Taking place in Ferrara, Portofino, Aix en Provence and Paris, each story, which always a woman as the crux of the story, ... See full summary »
Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians' careers.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 , 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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