Hammett

Impressed by Wim Wenders's obvious talent, Francis Coppola invited the German director to come to America and make a Hollywood film. The project chosen was a highly fictionalized account of the exploits of famed detective novelist Dashiell Hammett. Set in 1920s San Francisco, the film follows Hammett (Frederic Forrest) as he leaves the Pinkerton Detective...read more

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Impressed by Wim Wenders's obvious talent, Francis Coppola invited the German director to come to America and make a Hollywood film. The project chosen was a highly fictionalized account of the exploits of famed detective novelist Dashiell Hammett.

Set in 1920s San Francisco, the film follows Hammett (Frederic Forrest) as he leaves the Pinkerton Detective Agency to devote himself to writing. His former Pinkerton boss, Jimmy Ryan (Peter Boyle), recruits him to help crack a particularly tough case involving a Chinese prostitute. The

cinematography and performances are terrific and highly stylized in this moody thriller, and Wenders directs the film well, but the story is a pastiche of many Hammett tales and is at times so splintered as to be confusing. Like THE AMERICAN FRIEND, Wenders's previous meditation on American

genres, HAMMETT is less concerned with its storyline than it is with focusing on an American myth. As such it is not to be missed.

In between HAMMETT's production delays, Wenders made the low-budget black-and-white THE STATE OF THINGS, a film about the difficulties of filmmaking and the elusiveness of an American film producer. Rumor has it that much of HAMMETT was reshot by Coppola but the end result looks seamless.

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