DVD release cover
|Directed by||Wim Wenders|
|Produced by||Fred Roos
Francis Ford Coppola
|Screenplay by||Ross Thomas
|Story by||Thomas Pope (adaptation)|
by Joe Gores
|Music by||John Barry|
|Edited by||Janice Hampton
Robert Q. Lovett
|Distributed by||Orion Pictures
(USA theatrical release)
Hammett is a 1982 homage to noir films and pulp fiction produced by Francis Ford Coppola and directed by Wim Wenders. The film is a fictionalized story about writer Dashiell Hammett, based on the novel of the same name by Joe Gores. The film was entered into the 1982 Cannes Film Festival.
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 - Hammett
- Peter Boyle - Jimmy Ryan
- Marilu Henner - Kit Conger / Sue Alabama
- Roy Kinnear - English Eddie Hagedorn
- Elisha Cook, Jr. - Eli the Taxi Driver (as Elisha Cook)
- Lydia Lei - Crystal Ling
- R. G. Armstrong - Lt. O'Mara
- Richard Bradford - Detective Bradford
- Michael Chow - Fong Wei Tau
- David Patrick Kelly - The Punk
- Sylvia Sidney - Donaldina Cameron
- Jack Nance - Gary Salt
- Elmer Kline - Doc Fallon
- Royal Dano - Pops
- Samuel Fuller - Old Man in Pool Hall
- Fox Harris - 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.
Actors Forrest and Henner were married during the long production of the film, then divorced shortly afterwards in 1983.
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.
- Synopsis of the film and its production at Zoetrope Studios site