Posts Tagged ‘The Thin Man’

Thin-Man-Dashiell Hammett

The Return of the Thin Man

Noirtastic news Crimeziners! Dashiell  Hammett reaches out from beyond the grave and offers us a final installment of The Thin Man.

As most will agree Dashiell Hammett  elevated the crime genre to the status of true literature, and The Thin Man was Hammett’s last—and most successful—novel, so Crimezine is very excited to reveal that Hammett actually wrote not one, but two sequels, that will be published under the title, The Return of the Thin Man.

Following the enormous success of The Thin Man movie in 1934, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, Hammett was commissioned to write stories for additional films. He wrote two full-length novellas, for the films that became “After the Thin Man” and “Another Thin Man”. Neither of these stories have been previously published, in book form, although a fanzine did reveal a brief snatch of the story 25 years ago.

Heaven help us Crimeziners, first it was James M. Cain reaching out from beyond the crypt with The Cocktail Waitress, now we find Hammett returning in ghostly fashion. Whatever next? A revelation from the posthumous if somewhat whiskey drenched Chandler estate perhaps? There has to be a golf addled lawyer, or a scarlet septugenarian secreting a browning Chandler M/S  defiantly in the  bottom of a Marlowesque fliling cabinet, somewhere—we just know it!

Until that glorious, if somewhat inevitable revelation comes Crimeziners, we will have to content ourselves with the news that there is a Johnny Depp/Rob Marshall movie remake of The Thin Man heading our way very soon. You heard it here first Crimeziners!

The Return of the Thin Man will be published November 6, 2012.

Dashiell Hammett,

Maltese Falcon in Black Mask

If you ask James Ellroy who the big swinging cheese in the world of the hardboiled detective story is, he will tell you in no uncertain terms that  Dashiell Hammett is the man. Hammet has been called , one of the finest mystery writers of all time.  His work has been and still is, influential to writers of hard hitting detective fiction. In a similar way to his accolyte Raymond Chandler, Hammett has much to thank Humphrey Bogart for. In Hammet’s case it was Bogart’s legendary portrayal of Detective Sam Spade in the 1941 film The Maltese Falcon. A genre defining performance, that became  a cultural reference point when thinking of  the world of the private eye.

Hammett wrote a lot of short fiction for pulp magazines like Black Mask, but only  five books: Red Harvest (1929), The Dain Curse (1929) The Maltese Falcon(1930) The Glass Key (1931) and The Thin Man (1934) A paltry legacy when you consider the positively prolific output, some would say too prolific, of certain modern writers.

One has to remember however that Hammett worked for the world famous, Pinkerton Detective Agency where he got much of his material for his later books. He then got wrapped up in World War two and then got embroiled in in the McCarthyist anti-communist brouhaha of the post war years, ultimately landing in jail, because of his political views. Hammet also had other hobbies besides communist sympathy, namely drinking and smoking himself to death,  which he succeeded in doing in 1961, with the aid of tuberculosis. Had there been more time, there would almost certainly have been more books. But the tragedy of early death often makes legends greater. Hammett is a legend and through his work that legend lives on.