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Hey… that’s the wrong aspect ratio. *hits aspect change button*

That’s better.

I think this is the only blu ray I’ve seen that comes up in the wrong ratio here? Weird. But it is a Spanish blu ray (from StudioCanal!), so er uhm.

But! This is a Zoetrope Studio movie!? I thought they went bankrupt toot suite after One From The Heart totally bombed, but they got this Wim Wenders movie out, too? Hm… no, they didn’t actually go bankrupt, apparently, but the studio lot shut down, I think.

Oo, this totally looks like it was shot on that lot. It looks a lot like One From The Heart. I.e., great.

Wim Wenders, man… I’m just suddenly starting to wonder why all the Cinematheque darlings of the 80s have disappeared from history. You see 60s and 70s indie directors popping up on all sorts of lists (like the Sight & Sound 100), but none of the 80s ones. Perhaps it’s just an age factor? But you’d think that people that grew up on this stuff would be plenty old enough — I mean, they’d be in their 50s, so they should be manning all these lists.

Let’s see… the hottest directors back then were… Peter Greenaway, Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, Atom Egoyan, Aki and Mika Kaurismäki, Derek Jarman, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Hal Hartley… David Lynch, of course. Susan Seidelman? Andrei Tarkovsky did movies in the 80s, but is perhaps of an earlier age.

I feel like I’ve tried coming up with this list before, and it’s going to bug me all night. I feel like I’m forgetting a lot of directors.

Frederic Forrest isn’t quite the right actor for this sort of thing. He’s not exactly Brando.


Critically acclaimed German director Wim Wenders was hired by Francis Ford Coppola to direct Hammett as his American debut feature. Coppola and the film’s financing studio, Orion, were dissatisfied with the original version and nearly the entire film was reshot.


The reshoot was “entirely in one sound stage”, which Wenders avoids: “The first film was shot entirely on location […] in real places in San Francisco.” Of that, “In the final product ten shots survived from my original shoot: only exteriors […] a couple of shots from the first, maybe 5% of the film from the first version.” When Wenders later wanted to finish and release his director’s cut as “an interesting case study”, he found the material was destroyed: “They only kept a cut negative, everything else is junked.”

Wow. Wenders first shot a film on location, and then Coppola (and Orion) made him re-shoot it all on the Zoetrope studio lot. That’s… insane.

If imdb is to be believed, nobody at all saw the finished film.

That number just looks literally in-credible, though. I mean, I watched it at the time, so it had to have had some distribution.

Forrest is just totally uninspiring here. He’s half-smiling in an unconvincing way all the way through, and it really seems like he’s stoned most of the time. And not in an amusing way, but just being vague and tiresome.


I think Francis was too much of a director himself so he didn’t really delegate enough. He wanted to have a hand in all the projects and there were lots of projects. I had my studio next door to David Lynch; his movie never got made…there were a lot of great people on the lot, but Francis…he really wanted to be able to discuss every detail with everybody. As a studio boss you have to delegate. They didn’t produce even half of the films they wanted to produce.

Oh my god! It’s a shot from the original movie that’s survived!

After the one-two punch of One From The Heart and this movie, Forrest didn’t do any leads for a while, and moved more into TV. Coppola thought Forrest had star power, but…

I have to admit that my attention started to wander almost immediately, so I may well have missed bits that make this a better movie. But I found this to be pretty dull and uninspiring — there’s very little here of Wenders’ usual charms (and he can be very charming).

Hammett. Wim Wenders. 1982.

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