Dashiell Hammett and the Movies

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Rutgers University Press, Nov 3, 2014 - Performing Arts - 224 pages
As the father of the hardboiled detective genre, Dashiell Hammett had a huge influence on Hollywood. Yet, it is easy to forget how adaptable Hammett’s work was, fitting into a variety of genres and inspiring generations of filmmakers.
Dashiell Hammett and the Movies offers the first comprehensive look at Hammett’s broad oeuvre and how it was adapted into films from the 1930s all the way into the 1990s. Film scholar William H. Mooney reveals the wide range of films crafted from the same Hammett novels, as when The Maltese Falcon was filmed first as a pre-Code sexploitation movie, then as a Bette Davis screwball comedy, and finally as the Humphrey Bogart classic. He also considers how Hammett rose to Hollywood fame not through the genre most associated with him, but through a much fizzier concoction, the witty murder mystery The Thin Man. To demonstrate the hold Hammett still has over contemporary filmmakers, the book culminates in an examination of the Coen brothers’ pastiche Miller’s Crossing
Mooney not only provides us with an in-depth analysis of Hammett adaptations, he also chronicles how Hollywood enabled the author’s own rise to stardom, complete with a celebrity romance and a carefully crafted public persona. Giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the complex power relationships, cultural contexts, and production concerns involved in bringing Hammett’s work from the page to the screen, Dashiell Hammett and the Movies offers a fresh take on a literary titan. 
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Three Early Films
9
2 Celebrity
26
3 After The Thin Man
50
4 Lillian Hellman
81
5 Sexual Politics
96
6 Ethnic Politics
128
7 Hammett in Retrospect
154
Conclusion
172
Notes
179
Bibliography
197
Index
203
About the Author
215
Copyright

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About the author (2014)

WILLIAM H. MOONEY is a professor of English and Coordinator of Film and Media at the Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY. 

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