cover art for Hammett

Hammett

1982

CD: Prometheus PCR 506

  1. Main Title (2:02)
  2. Hammett's Dream (2:36)
  3. Chinatown Incident (2:09)
  4. Wild Pipa (1:48)
  5. You Can't Forget her/Don't Be a Chump, Let Her Go! (2:17)
  6. Hide and Seek (2:25)
  7. The Opium Den/Escape from Fong's (2:22)
  8. Waterfront Rendezvous (1:54)
  9. The Wrap Up/Finale (4:58)
  10. End Credits (2:57)
  11. Potted Palms (4:09)
  12. Gumshoe Piano (2:14)
  13. Cookie's Speakeasy (2:33)
  14. Look For Me at Fong's (1:02)
  15. Shoeshine Blues (0:44)
  16. Do You Like Bad Girls? (1:29)
  17. Dixieland Tune (4:53)
  18. Last Call (1:00)

The Movie

Dashell Hammett had been a gumshoe before tuberculosis forced him to change careers--whereupon he became one of the most famous american writers of the 20th century. He's most famous as one of the pioneers and masters of "hardboiled" fiction--a genre typically about tough characters on both sides of the law.

This isn't one of his stories--it's a fictional story designed as if Hammett (Frederick Forest) were still a detective. A friend (Peter Boyle) asks for his help in locating a missing prostitute in San Francisco's Chinatown.

I never cared much for hard-boiled private-eye stuff. It the movie ever comes on tv or is carried by Netflix, I'll give it a shot.


The Music

I was expecting something along the lines of Body Heat--the hackneyed heavy sax jazz/blues wail that appears whenever anyone in the movies puts on trenchcoat and a snap-brimmed hat. Barry went with the small jazz combo sound, but more heavily on piano, evocative of late nights in smoky bars, talking through a booze-induced haze. The piano is evident throughout--sometimes lively and tinkly, sometimes dark and menacing. This is one of his better scores, and it's surprising to me that it took so long to be released.


Release Notes

The soundtrack release until around 2000, when Prometheus released it as a limited edition, numbered CD.

Links

Prometheus Records: www.soundtrackmag.com/

Super Collector: www.supercollector.com/