Miller's Crossing (1990)
Frequently Asked Questions
It's called 'Ghirlandeina, veta mia', and Googling it will bring up the lyrics and a little background.
Miller's Crossing was loosely inspired by the Dashiell Hammett novel The Glass Key (which has been filmed twice under that title), but the screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen largely departs from the actual events of the book, taking the majority of its inspiration from the relationships between the principal characters. For example, the character of Bernie, a major player in the film (and the only character to retain his name from the novel) vanishes after only the second chapter of the novel.
The film also incorporates themes from Akira Kurosawa's Yôjinbô (1961), where the story concerns one man setting the various warring factions in the town against each other. Adding yet another level of archaeological complexity, Yojimbo's story line was also inspired by the plot of a Dashiell Hammett novel, Red Harvest, making Miller's Crossing doubly indebted to Hammett's fertile imagination and indelible, hard boiled characters.
Throughout the film, Casper refers to Bernie as "the schmatte." The term is a Yiddish word for an old rag, or, colloquially, anything worthless. Casper's use of the term is derogatory both in its dismissal of Bernie as a man of no worth and as a Jew.
We're never told specifically. The movie was filmed in and around New Orleans, probably because it had the look of a city during Prohibition.
There is a small, almost imperceptible clue in the middle-end when Tom tells Verna to leave town for a few days. He says specifically that she should go to the "Palisades" which is in northeastern New Jersey. Therefore, the story could be taking place in Northern New Jersey or somewhere in the Metro New York City area.
In one scene about half-way through the movie behind Casper's desk a calender can be seen with the word "Philadelphia" in big print.
In the end, the Coens might have deliberately left the location unspecific.
So that if anyone went looking they would find a body and to give both himself and Tom some insurance.
The original British police force was the Constabulary of Ireland founded in 1822 (later given the royal appointment and renamed the Royal Irish Constabulary). It formed the basis for all other British police forces in the UK and across the British Empire including London's Metropolitan Police (formed in 1829) whose first 2 commissioners were both Irishmen with the necessary prior experience, Palestine Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police etc. This established a long tradition of law enforcement running in Irish families worldwide, especially as many RIC officers emigrated to America after the violence surrounding Ireland's partition in 1922 and joined police forces there. In addition during the 19th century many corrupt, Irish dominated local governments such as New York's infamous Tammany Hall would reward their supporters with lucrative civil service jobs in the police force and fire department, often using the former as an instrument of political power.