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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

HAMMETT (1983)

You only get fleeting glimpses of the pastiche detective film Wim Wenders was attempting here since exec producer Francis Coppola put the film on hold and (apparently) reshot much of it after the colossal failure of ONE FROM THE HEART/’82 threatened to sink his dream project, Zoetrope Studios. (It sunk, anyway.) The resulting film is a mess, but not an unpleasant one. The nifty idea pulls Dashiell Hammett (author of THE MALTESE FALCON & THE THIN MAN) back from his writing desk and into a San Francisco-Chinatown mystery with enough bodies, crooked cops & capitalists, sexy dames, noir atmosphere and double-dealing partners to confound any gumshoe. Marilu Henner is pretty awful as Hammett’s sexy gal-pal/neighbor, but everyone else gets into the spirit of the thing. Stick with it and you will, too. Look sharp for cult director Sam Fuller. Maybe that’s who should have helmed this one.

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