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Hammett (1982)

PG  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  17 September 1982 (USA)
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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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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jimmy Ryan
Kit Conger / Sue Alabama
English Eddie Hagedorn
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Lydia Lei ...
Crystal Ling
Lt. O'Mara
Detective Bradford
Michael Chow ...
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Old Man in Pool Hall


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The mystery writer who lived his own stories ! [Video] See more »


Crime | Drama | Mystery


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

17 September 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Investigación en el Barrio Chino  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Final cinema film of Elisha Cook Jr. See more »


Doc Fallon: You know what my problem is? I'm a halfway honest man in a nine-tenths dishonest world. What's your problem?
Hammett: Suicide.
[takes a drink]
Doc Fallon: My advice? Don't hesitate.
See more »


References The Maltese Falcon (1941) 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...

17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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