On location in Portugal, a film crew runs out of film while making their own version of Roger Corman's Day the World Ended (1955). The producer is nowhere to be found and director Friedrich... See full summary »
In 17th-century Salem, Hester Prynne must wear a scarlet A because she is an adulteress, with a child out of wedlock. For seven years, she has refused to name the father. A vigorous older ... See full summary »
A traveling projection-equipment mechanic works in Western Germany along the East-German border, visiting worn-out theatres. He meets with a depressed young man whose marriage has just broken up, and the two decide to travel together.
A rare gem of cinematic storytelling that weaves docudrama, fictional reenactment, and experimental photography into a powerful, reflective work on the early days of German cinema. The film... See full summary »
The director Friedrich Monroe has trouble with finishing a silent b&w movie about Lisbon. He calls his friend, the sound engineer Phillip Winter, for help. As Winter arrives Lisbon weeks ... See full summary »
In 1999, Claire's life is forever changed after she survives a car crash. She rescues Sam and starts traveling around the world with him. Writer Eugene follows them and writes their story, as a way of recording dreams is being invented.
The novel writer 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>
Director Wim Wenders has said of this film on his personal website: "Hammett: detective, writer - this aspect of the character fascinated me. And it was this aspect that blocked the shooting of the film for so long. I wanted to find a balance between the detective story and the story of the writer who begins to confuse reality with fiction. The core of the screenplay was constructed of various levels upon which the story and the final solution of these levels had to develop". See more »
Would you be dippy enough Angel to spend a little shoe leather?
Looking for Gary Salt.
Who the hell are you now? Hammett the writer? or Hammett the detective?
I think you left out Hammett the fool.
See more »
I didn't really expect my first forray into Wenders to be a fictionalized pulpy detective story homage to the patriarch of pulpy detective stories, writer Dashiell Hammett, produced by Coppola's Zoetrope Studios, but there you have it. Strangely, I'm not even sure this is a Wenders film in anything but name, as Coppola himself allegedly had to reshoot one and a half years after Wenders wrapped shooting significant portions of a film his backers found very 'dissatisfying'. Par the course for a film that had to undergo so much revamping to please money men, Hammett is a mess, albeit an interesting mess.
If the premise sounds good enough, pulpy writer Dashiell Hammett being drawn one last time into his detective past as a favour to a former Pinkerton colleague whom he helps investigate the disappearance of an underage Chinese prostitute, the script never quite fulfills its potential. Not because it's sprawling and convoluted (the best noirs usually are), but because it's just that for all the wrong reasons, and on top of that half-baked and unconvincing. At times it plays almost like a Dick Tracy caricature of noir plots.
Most interesting thing about it however are the meta- aspects of the story, probably what drew Wenders into the fold (apart from his fascination with American genre cinema). Writer Hammett playing detective Hammett, the lines between reality and fiction blurring dangerously as he does. But the film never runs with it, as though afraid it might alienate a mainstream audience that likely had little vested interest in such a film to begin with.
The opening sequence shows what might have been: having just finished his latest novel, Hammett lies down playing out the ending in his head; after a violent coughing fit, he staggers back into his living room only to find waiting for him the hero of his book. Is Hammett hallucinating in the grip of alcohol and tuberculosis or does he base his fictional characters on people he knows?
The ending tries to bring all that back full circle but it's too little too late. The movie has dawdled a little too much in squeaky clean Zoetrope sets trying to pass for 1920's San Francisco, has tripped over the needlessly convoluted mess it creates for its characters. It's still a fun watch, the cast is populated by familiar faces (three Twin Peaks actors, Sam Fuller, Elisha Cook Jr.), and Frederic Forrest gives a good show. Interesting curio, not much else, Hammett fans will probably dig it significantly more than me.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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