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HAMMETT

Director: WIM WENDERS

U.S.A. • 1982 • COLOUR • 97 MIN


WENDERS’ FIRST AMERICAN FILM WAS MADE FOR FRANCIS COPPOLA’S PRODUCTION COMPANY AT A TIME WHEN THE DIRECTOR OF THE GODFATHER HAD DREAMS OF OPERATING AN ALTERNATIVE TO HOLLYWOOD’S TRADITIONAL STUDIO SYSTEM.
Despite a notoriously troubled shoot, the finished film is surprisingly coherent and more an artistic triumph than the compromise its reputation might suggest.
‘I wanted to do a straight detective story about the man who invented the whole genre—and explore the conflict between real life and fiction,’
Wenders said. Both these ambitions are achieved through an ingenious scenario which combines elements of the hardboiled detective genre with reflections on the whole process of creating fiction. The year is 1928 and writer Dashiell Hammett (Frederic Forrest) is churning out crime stories based on his former career as a Pinkerton detective. The arrival of an old colleague not only plunges Hammett back into a world of crime, but also allows him to discover within himself the seeds of Sam Spade and subsequent triumphs such as The Maltese Falcon.

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