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 »
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.
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 »
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?
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>
Underrated, undervalued, almost designed to be a cult film from the onset
In the background/historical notes to his novel, "Hammett," author Joe Gores says of one character, ". . . and if you don't know who he's based on, you need to read more Hammett." The movie, more or less based upon the novel, takes Gore's dicta to heart with several key characters. The result can be a whole lot of fun if you know your Hammett; if you're a little weak in that category, the result is merely a lot of fun.
Set in 1927 San Francisco, the film catches Dashiell Hammett in transition: Trying to firmly put his Pinkerton days behind him while establishing himself as a writer, dealing with the twin scourges of his World War I - induced tuberculosis and the alcoholism that will plague him almost to the end of his days, he finds himself drawn back into his old life one last time by the irresistible call of friendship and to honor a debt. By the time he's done, he finds himself having paid a far higher price, learning that he had only thought himself to be totally disillusioned beforehand.
"Hammett" the movie is as much an homage as "Hammett" the novel. It is a rare thing for neither a movie nor a novel to suffer by comparison to each other -- especially when the two are so divergent -- but that is exactly what happens here. The screenplay is strong, the production values uniformly excellent (check out the 1920s Market Street Railway streetcar which passes by in the background briefly in one scene, for example; only one in a thousand viewers might recognize it, and only one in possibly two thousand might appreciate the verisimilitude it provides), the direction and pacing authoritative.
Frederic Forrest is virtually perfect as Hammett; by turns ravaged and buoyant, hardboiled and outraged, at every turn ultimately unstoppable. By the film's close, he makes it very clear that, for Hammett, there will be no turning back; those moodily tapping typewriter keys which formed such an eerie backdrop for much of the action will also provide his salvation, and that this is a good thing.
And anyone who disputes that, as Joe Gores would say, needs to read more Hammett.
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