6.5/10
2,626
23 user 33 critic

Hammett (1982)

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Fictional account of real-life mystery writer Dashiell Hammett, and his involvement in the investigation of a beautiful Chinese cabaret actress' mysterious disappearance in San Francisco.

Director:

Wim Wenders

Writers:

Joe Gores (novel), Dennis O'Flaherty | 2 more credits »
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Frederic Forrest ... Hammett
Peter Boyle ... Jimmy Ryan
Marilu Henner ... Kit Conger / Sue Alabama
Roy Kinnear ... English Eddie Hagedorn
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Eli the Taxi Driver (as Elisha Cook)
Lydia Lei ... Crystal Ling
R.G. Armstrong ... Lt. O'Mara
Richard Bradford ... Detective Bradford
Michael Chow ... Fong Wei Tau
David Patrick Kelly ... The Punk
Sylvia Sidney ... Donaldina Cameron
Jack Nance ... Gary Salt
Elmer Kline Elmer Kline ... Doc Fallon
Royal Dano ... Pops
Samuel Fuller ... Old Man in Pool Hall
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Storyline

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 <mdrc@hp9000a1.uam.mx>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 September 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Investigación en el Barrio Chino See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,222, 19 September 1982, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$42,914
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Zoetrope Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Hammett: Kit, this is Eli, last of the IWW organizers
Kit Conger: Are you really a Wobbly?
Eli the Taxi Driver: Naw, that's just Hammett talkin'. What I am now is sort of an anarchist, with syndicalist tendencies.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Dream Studio (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
She's a disaster.
17 August 2015 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Hammett is a fictional story about the great writer Dashiell Hammett (played by Frederic Forrest). The story finds the writer retired from the Pinkerton Detectice Agency and nursing bad lungs and a taste for the liquor. When old colleague Jimmy Ryan (Peter Boyle) comes a calling, Hammett finds himself down in Frisco's Chinatown district in it up to his neck in muck and grime.

The back story to the production of Hammett is long and disappointing, all of which makes for fascinating reading and available at the click of a mouse. The film we have to view now may not be the one originally envisaged by director Wim Wenders, but on repeat viewings it shows itself to be a very loving homage to the halcyon days of film noir, a film of great technical craft and guile. Though not without issues either...

Production value is high, the set design that brings late 1920s Frisco to life is a joy, as is Joseph Biroc's luscious colour photography. John Barry provides a musical score that smoothly floats around the Gin Joints and Alleyways, while costuming is on the money. Cast are led superbly by the under valued Forrest, with Marilu Henner (Biroc lights her so well), Boyle and Lydia Lei striking the requisite film noir chords, while a host of cameos and short order roles will have the keen of eye putting names to the faces from similar films of yesteryear.

The story is complex, which is purposely complimented by narration, canted angles, slatted shadows, billowing smoke, and of course a number of venues that all anti-heroic detectives must traverse to unravel the mystery bubbling away under the seamy surface. The problems are evident of course, it's a very uneven picture, the re-writes etc leaving a disappointing mark. It's also like watching a performance at the theatre, akin to watching a play, the predominantly stage bound shoot - and the almost forced delivery of lines - makes it synthetic.

But ultimately there's a lot of noir love here, enough to ensure that repeat viewings for those of that persuasion should find themselves rewarded for their time. 7/10


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