Friday, August 17, 2012

HAMMETT (1982) - Wim Wenders

The granddaddy of all noir writers, Dashiell Hammett (Frederic Forrest), becomes trapped in one of his own hardboiled stories when his Pinkerton past (Peter Boyle) shows up in his living room to pull him back in. He's also trapped in what seem to be leftover Las Vegas sets from Francis Ford Coppola's One From the Heart (made about the same time). This gives Hammett's somewhat lethargic noir-stalgia proceedings the odd, colorzied feel of a Technicolor stage play.

Rumor is Coppola wrestled this film out of Wenders' directorial grasp midway through. I'm not sure who's to blame, but Hammett's not as terrible as I had heard. Though the mystery at its center is rather weak (especially by Dashiell's standards), the character actors at its periphery were reason enough to keep my Netflix stream buffering. Elisha Cook, Jr., R.G. Armstrong, David Patrick Kelly, Jack Nance, Samuel Fuller. Perhaps Coppola should have given Fuller a crack at the director's chair too.

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