Dashiell Hammett and the Movies
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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actors adaptation American Association of America audience Beaumont Bebe Daniels Bogart boss Brigid cast characters City Streets Code Administration records Coen brothers couple Dain Curse Dangerous Female Dark Dashiell Hammett Davis detective dialogue director Dorothy drink Dyke Dyke’s earlier film emphasizes ethnic fiction film noir film’s gangster film genre Glass Key Gutman Hammett’s novel hard-boiled Henry Hollywood Ibid Janet John Huston Joseph Breen Lady Li-chee Lillian Hellman Madvig Maltese Falcon man’s mett’s Miller’s Crossing Mister Dynamite Motion Picture Association movie murder Myrna Loy narrative Nick and Nora Nick’s Nolan Nora’s O’Rory O’Shaughnessy play police political Powell Production Code Administration protagonist Purvis Reagan Red Harvest relationship released Richard Layman Roadhouse Nights role Satan scene screen screenplay script sequel sexual Shadow Shane shot Spade star story Stromberg studio success Thin Thin Man films tion Verna Warner Bros William woman Wonderly writing Wynant York Zanuck