Hammett (1982)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Frederic Forrest, Peter Boyle, Marilu Henner, Roy Kinnear, Lydia Lei, Elisha Cook

Wim Wenders' film "Hammett" is a nice throwback to the classic Film noir genre, only this time it is in color. Telling the story of former-Pinkerton-detective-turned-dime-novel-writer, Dashiell Hammett (Frederic Forrest) he suddenly finds himself drawn into a ring of death and people disappearing. Placed in San Francisco's Chinatown the movie offers a wonderful backdrop to a mystery story full of twists and cool angles.

The movie is a bit slow-paced at times but for the most part offers up solid entertainment and gives viewers the chance to mull on their own conclusions they draw from the events, adding to the film's overall appeal.

Paramount has created a clean and clear transfer for the movie in its original widescreen aspect ratio, enhanced for 16×9 TV sets. The print reveals a high level of detail and the transfer's color reproduction and contrast perfectly brings this "noir" cinematography to life. No bleeding distracts from the experience and no edge-enhancement is evident. The compression is also free of compression artifacts.

The release features a Dolby Stereo audio track that nicely complements the picture. Never to modern or aggressive the track uses subtle effects and a great jazzy score by John Barry to underscore the events in the film. Dialogues are perfectly understandable and never drowned out. Optional subtitles in English are also provided, but other than that no extras can be found on the release.

Film noir fans will love "Hammett" as it uses all the great ingredients of the genre, telling a gumshoe story with great bad guys and a solid mystery against a very cool backdrop, spiced up with a somewhat unconventional premise, in fact, which may come as a surprise to many viewers as the mystery unravels. Great film!