DVD release cover
|Directed by||Wim Wenders|
|Story by||Thomas Pope|
by Joe Gores
|Music by||John Barry|
Robert Q. Lovett
Hammett is a 1982 mystery film directed by Wim Wenders and executive produced by Francis Ford Coppola. The screenplay was written by Ross Thomas and Dennis O'Flaherty, based on the novel of the same name by Joe Gores. It stars Frederic Forrest as detective story writer Dashiell Hammett, who gets caught up in a mystery very much like one of his own stories. Marilu Henner plays Hammett's neighbor, Kit Conger, and Peter Boyle plays Jimmy Ryan, an old friend from Hammett's days as a Pinkerton agent.
San Francisco-based Dashiell Hammett, trying to put his Pinkerton detective days behind him while establishing himself as a writer, finds himself drawn back into his old life one last time by the irresistible call of friendship and to honor a debt.
In 1928, Hammett, known to his librarian neighbor Kit and other acquaintances as "Sam," is holed up in a cheap apartment, hard at work at his typewriter each day. He drinks heavily, smokes too much and has coughing fits.
One day, a friend and mentor from his Pinkerton days, Jimmy Ryan, turns up with a request, that Hammett help him track down a Chinese prostitute named Crystal Ling in the Chinatown district of San Francisco, an area Hammett is more familiar with than Ryan is.
Hammett is soon pulled into a multi-layered plot, losing the only copy of his manuscript, wondering how and why Ryan has vanished, being followed by a tough-talking gunsel, discovering a million-dollar blackmail scheme and being deceived by the diabolical Crystal, right up to a final confrontation near the San Francisco wharf.
- Frederic Forrest as Hammett
- Peter Boyle as Jimmy Ryan
- Marilu Henner as Kit Conger / Sue Alabama
- Roy Kinnear as English Eddie Hagedorn
- Elisha Cook, Jr. as Eli the Taxi Driver
- Lydia Lei as Crystal Ling
- R. G. Armstrong as Lt. O'Mara
- Richard Bradford as Detective Bradford
- Michael Chow as Fong Wei Tau
- David Patrick Kelly as The Punk
- Sylvia Sidney as Donaldina Cameron
- Jack Nance as Gary Salt
- Elmer Kline as Doc Fallon
- Royal Dano as Pops
- Samuel Fuller as Old Man in Pool Hall
- Fox Harris as Frank the News Vendor
German director Wenders was hired by Francis Ford Coppola to direct this film, which was to be his American debut feature. Coppola and the film's studio, Orion, were dissatisfied with the original cut, and reshot nearly the entire film. This has subsequently led to allegations that the majority of the final cut was not directed by Wenders, but by Coppola himself. Wenders made a short film called Reverse Angle documenting his disputes with Coppola surrounding the making of Hammett. As The A.V. Club review states, "A Coppola or Wenders commentary track might have sorted things out a bit—or at least settled an old score—but the bare-bones DVD release leaves viewers with a fascinating mess." The reviewer, though, never says what the source of his information is, and the question of the degree and nature of Coppola's involvement in the directing of the film remains open. However, the confusion surrounding the making of the movie "would certainly explain some of the films’ oddities." In a 2015 interview, with Indiewire, Wenders claimed that he directed the entirety of the released version. He also stated that the first version was junked and is now lost.
Boyle took over the role of Jimmy Ryan from Brian Keith, who left allegedly because the lengthy production conflicted with other commitments. Keith can be seen in some long shots in the film.
A number of actors from the "Golden Age" of Hollywood were cast in the film, including Hank Worden, Royal Dano, and Elisha Cook, Jr. (who played Wilmer "the gunsel" in John Huston's 1941 film The Maltese Falcon).
- "Festival de Cannes: Hammett". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
- Noel Murray (2005-11-16). "Hammett review". The Onion A.V. Club. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
- Robert Munro (2011-11-05). "Hammett review". Retrieved 2011-11-12.
- Perez, Rodrigo. "Wim Wenders Sets The Record Straight On His Forgotten Francis Ford Coppola-Produced Noir 'Hammett' | IndieWire". www.indiewire.com. Retrieved 2016-09-10.
- "Hammett 1982". Zoetrope.com. Retrieved January 13, 2017.