Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Director Wim Wenders made his American film bow with the ultra-stylish Hammett. Based on the speculative novel by Joe Gores, the story concerns real-life detective novelist Dashiell Hammett (Frederic Forest), who early in his career is involved in a complex mystery that will profoundly influence his later works. While hacking away for pulp magazines, Hammett is asked by Jimmy Ryan (Peter Boyle), his old boss at the Pinkerton agency (and the model for the writer's "Continental Op" character), to help out on a particularly difficult case. Before long, Hammett is prowling the nooks and crannies of San Francisco in search of a missing Chinese prostitute-blackmailer (Lydia Lei). Among the several delectable "inside jokes" in Hammett is the presence of Elisha Cook, who'd appeared in the 1941 film adaptation of Hammett's Maltese Falcon, as Eli the Cab Driver. Cinematographers Philip H. Lathrop and Joseph Biroc work overtime to invest Hammett with the "feel" of a classic 1940s detective yarn.
book, criminal, detective, investigation, kidnapping, murder, prostitute/prostitution