cover art for Hammett



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)
cover art for Hammett

CD: Silva SILCD1662

  1. Main Titles
  2. Hammett's Dream
  3. Ryan is Missing
  4. Chinatown Incident
  5. Moonlight Over Spring River
  6. Cookie's Speakeasy
  7. Shoeshine Blues
  8. Shadow Man
  9. The Library
  10. Hammett Meets Salt / Suicide is Fascinating / I'm Calling It In
  11. Look For Me at Fong's
  12. Potted Palms
  13. The Opium Den / Escape from Fong's
  14. Hide and Seek
  15. The Numbers Ticket Clue / A Belly Full of Daylight
  16. Dixieland
  17. You Can't Forget her Ever / Don't Be a Chump, Let Her Go
  18. A Cool Million
  19. Waterfront Rendezvous
  20. The Wrap Up
  21. End Credits
  22. Gumshoe Piano
  23. Do You Like Bad Girls
  24. Last Call
  25. End Credits (alternate)

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 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 (though I do like Raymond Chandler). It the movie ever comes on tv, 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 wasn't available until around 2000, when Prometheus released it as a limited edition, numbered CD. Silva Screen UK released it in July 2023 with 25 tracks (seven more than the Prometheus edition). I haven't heard it yet so I can't compare. As I type this (June 2023) it's available from Silva's UK site, but is not yet on Silva's USA site. The difference is the cost of international shipping.

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