Private eye investigates diamond theft, and becomes involved with an ancient family curse.



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Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win. See more awards »




Series cast summary:
...  Hamilton Nash 3 episodes, 1978
...  Owen Fitzstephans 3 episodes, 1978
...  The Old Man 3 episodes, 1978
Nancy Addison ...  Gabrielle Leggett 2 episodes, 1978
...  Aaronia Haldorn 2 episodes, 1978
...  Alice Dain Leggett 2 episodes, 1978


Hard-boiled private dick Hamilton Nash is hired to investigate a case of stolen diamonds, which leads him to a lovely and odd young woman named Gabrielle, who believes she has been stricken with the ancient curse of the Dain family. The curse has historically caused its victims to die prematurely. Written by Marty McKee <>

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Release Date:

22 May 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dashiell Hammett's The Dain Curse  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (4 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Hamilton Nash private eye character is known as "The Continental Op" in the source Dashiell Hammett novel and other stories by him. See more »

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User Reviews

Three self contained mysteries
1 October 2017 | by See all my reviews

Noting in the Wikipedia article on Dashiell Hammett only 3 of his 5 full length novels became motion pictures. But the three The Thin Man, The Glass Key and The Maltese Falcon became classic films all. The Maltese Falcon as we know was done 3 times as well.

A fourth one The Dain Curse was deliberately segmented into three self contained mysteries which for purposes of adaption fitted nicely into the television mini-series format.

James Coburn played our protagonist/cynical hero Hamilton Nash and I think Coburn should have done more detective stories, he was perfectly cast for the part.

It starts out as an investigation of a jewel robbery of a family the Leggetts. It's Coburn who deduces that he thinks the robbery story has a lot of holes in it. The Leggatts are Paul Harding, wife Beatrice Straight and her stepdaughter Nancy Addison. Straight is also Addison's blood aunt, Harding's first wife was Straight's sister. They are members of the Dain family upon which it is said there is a legendary curse.

One who tries hard to convince Nash there's something to this curse business is Jason Miller, Coburn's hard drinking novelist buddy. As this is 1928 and Prohibition rules the land that was some hard drinking indeed.

The Dain Curse might be the bloodiest novel Dashiell Hammett ever wrote. Several members of the Dain family die here including those who married into the family and those who had some involvement with them. Still Coburn thinks there's a guiding intelligence at work here and of course he's right.

A lot of expense went into this production and you really do think you're in 1928, cars and costumes definitely authentic.

Look for good performances by Jean Simmons as a cult church leader, Hector Elizondo as a hick sheriff, and the future Data from Star Trek, The Next Generation Brent Spiner as one of the cult members in good standing.

The Dain Curse is definitely worth watching for more than James Coburn and Dashiell Hammett fans.

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