Re: RARA-AVIS: Hammett/Kurosawa/Grimaldi/Last Man Standing

From: Keith Alan Deutsch (
Date: 25 Apr 2000

Dear Bob,

I agree with everything you say. Particularly Hammett's final assessment of THE GLASS KEY. However, I do believe there was a time when he did consider Red Harvest his best work. Shortly after completing it. On occasion he voi8ced his opinion to Black Mask editors. the problem with any author's attribution about his work is that like any other human being, their opinions change at any particulalr point of time. I believe Fred Dannay, an intimate friend all through Hammett's later career, confirmed the Glass Key as H's favorite. In a completly different vein, Hammett was also proud of The Thin Man, according to Erle Stanley Gardner (can't remember where I read this) because he proved to himself a solid relationship between a man hero and a woman was possible to work in a detective novel. Of course Thin Man revolutionized detective novels, and particulalry detective films for mixing froth, elegance and humor into the mayhem. Hammett soon grew sick of the Thin Man franchise, but it did keep him going financially.

Bob Toomey wrote:

> Keith Deutsch wrote:
> >
> > A very full description and analysis of the relationship between Red
> > Harvest, Yojimbo, Last Man Standing, and Grimaldi (the producer whose name I
> > could not remember but who does own the film rights to Red Harvest) can be
> > found at:
> >
> Interesting article with a lot of speculation, no definitive answers,
> and at least one downright inaccuracy:
> Hammett thought Red Harvest his best
> novel; so did highbrow critics. Robert
> Graves called it "a literary landmark,"
> and Andre Gide dubbed it "the last word
> in atrocity, cynicism, and horror" (one
> assumes Gide meant it as compliment).
> In fact Hammett considered THE GLASS KEY to be his best novel.
> BobT
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