Red Harvest
Red Harvest is a novel by Dashiell Hammett
Dashiell Hammett
Samuel Dashiell Hammett was an American author of hard-boiled detective novels and short stories, and political activist. Among the enduring characters he created are Sam Spade , Nick and Nora Charles , and the Continental Op .In addition to the significant influence his novels and stories had on...

. The story is narrated by The Continental Op
The Continental Op
The Continental Op is a fictional character created by Dashiell Hammett. A private investigator employed as an operative of the Continental Detective Agency's San Francisco office, he never gives his name and so is known only by his job description....

, a frequent character in Hammett's fiction. Hammett based the story on his own experiences in Butte, Montana
Butte, Montana
Butte is a city in Montana and the county seat of Silver Bow County, United States. In 1977, the city and county governments consolidated to form the sole entity of Butte-Silver Bow. As of the 2010 census, Butte's population was 34,200...

 as an operative of the Continental Detective Agency, San Francisco.

Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

included Red Harvest in its 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

-winning French author André Gide
André Gide
André Paul Guillaume Gide was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947. Gide's career ranged from its beginnings in the symbolist movement, to the advent of anticolonialism between the two World Wars.Known for his fiction as well as his autobiographical works, Gide...

 called the book "a remarkable achievement, the last word in atrocity, cynicism, and horror."


The Continental Op is called to Personville (known as "Poisonville" to the locals) by Donald Willsson, who is murdered before the Op has a chance to meet with him. The Op begins work on the murder and meets with Willsson's father, Elihu, a local industrialist who has found his control of the city threatened by several competing gangs he himself had originally invited into his city to "resolve" a labor dispute.

The Op extracts a promise and a signed letter from Elihu that pays the Continental Detective Agency, the Op's employer, $10,000 in exchange for cleaning up the city. When the Op solves Donald's murder, Elihu tries to renege on the deal, but the Op won't allow him to do so.

In the meantime, the Op finds himself spending time with Dinah Brand, a possible love interest of Donald Willsson's as well as a moll
Gun moll
Gun moll is a term that refers to the female companion of a male professional criminal. In some contexts, gun moll more specifically suggests that the woman handles a firearm....

 for the local gangster Max "Whisper" Thaler. Between Brand and the crooked chief of police, Noonan, the Op manages to extract and spread most of the information he needs to set off a gang war among the four major local factions.

He wakes up the next morning to find Brand stabbed to death with the icepick the Op had used the previous evening, with no visible signs of forced entry. The Op ends up a suspect sought by the police for this murder, and one of his fellow operatives ends up leaving Personville because he is uncertain of the Op's innocence.

The story ends as the Op finds Reno Starkey, the only one of the four main gangsters still alive, bleeding from a gunshot wound. Reno reveals that it was he who stabbed Brand, and that when she fell she collided with the semi-conscious Op, coincidentally landing in a position which made the Op look like the culprit. Reno has also just killed Whisper, and after he dies himself, Elihu can restore his control over the town.


Red Harvest was adapted for the 1930
1930 in film
-Events:* November 1: The Big Trail featuring a young John Wayne in his first starring role is released in both 35mm, and a very early form of 70mm film and was the first large scale big-budget film of the sound era costing over $2 million. The film was praised for its aesthetic quality and realism...

 film Roadhouse Nights
Roadhouse Nights
Roadhouse Nights is a 1930 gangster film very loosely based on the novel Red Harvest written by Dashiell Hammett , but the screenplay differs sharply from the novel, with the storyline almost entirely rewritten by screenwriter Ben Hecht...

, starring Helen Morgan
Helen Morgan
Helen Morgan was an American singer and actress who worked in films and on the stage. A quintessential torch singer, she made a big splash in the Chicago club scene in the 1920s...

, Fred Kohler
Fred Kohler
Fred Kohler was an American actor known for his "heavy" style of character.-Career:Fred Kohler was born in Kansas City, Missouri. As a teen, he began to pursue a career in vaudeville, but worked other jobs to support himself. He lost part of his right hand in a mining accident during this time...

, and Jimmy Durante
Jimmy Durante
James Francis "Jimmy" Durante was an American singer, pianist, comedian and actor. His distinctive clipped gravelly speech, comic language butchery, jazz-influenced songs, and large nose helped make him one of America's most familiar and popular personalities of the 1920s through the 1970s...

. Many major elements of the book were changed in the film, including most of the characters' names, and the film is not considered a faithful adaptation.

Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa
was a Japanese film director, producer, screenwriter and editor. Regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema, Kurosawa directed 30 filmsIn 1946, Kurosawa co-directed, with Hideo Sekigawa and Kajiro Yamamoto, the feature Those Who Make Tomorrow ;...

 scholar David Desser and critic Manny Farber
Manny Farber
Emanuel "Manny" Farber was an American painter, film critic and writer. Often described as "iconoclastic" , Farber developed a distinctive prose style and set of theoretical stances which have had a large influence on later generations of film critics; Susan Sontag considered him to be "the...

, among others, state categorically that Red Harvest was the inspiration for Kurosawa's film Yojimbo; however, other scholars, such as Donald Richie
Donald Richie
Donald Richie is an American-born author who has written about the Japanese people and Japanese cinema. Although he considers himself only a writer, Richie has directed many experimental films, the first when he was 17...

, believe the similarities are coincidental. Kurosawa himself stated that a major source for the plot was the film noir
Film noir
Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as extending from the early 1940s to the late 1950s...

classic The Glass Key
The Glass Key (1942 film)
The Glass Key is a 1942 film noir, directed by Stuart Heisler and based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett. The story had previously been adapted for film in 1935.-Plot:...

1942 in film
The year 1942 in film involved some significant events, in particular the release of a film consistently rated as one of the greatest of all time, Casablanca.-Events:...

), an adaption of Hammett's 1931
1931 in literature
The year 1931 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:*Cherokee playwright Lynn Riggs' play Green Grow the Lilacs premiers. It would later be adapted by Rodgers and Hammerstein as Oklahoma!....

 novel of the same name
The Glass Key
The Glass Key is a novel by Dashiell Hammett, said to be his favorite among his works. It was first published in 1931, and tells the story of gambler and racketeer Ned Beaumont, whose devotion to crooked political boss Paul Madvig leads him to investigate the murder of a local senator's son as a...

. In Red Harvest, The Glass Key, and Yojimbo, corrupt officials and businessmen are seen to stand behind and profit from the rule of gangsters. A number of films have been specifically based on Yojimbo, including Sergio Leone
Sergio Leone
Sergio Leone was an Italian film director, producer and screenwriter most associated with the "Spaghetti Western" genre.Leone's film-making style includes juxtaposing extreme close-up shots with lengthy long shots...

's A Fistful of Dollars
A Fistful of Dollars
A Fistful of Dollars is a 1964 Italian Spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood alongside Gian Maria Volonté, Marianne Koch, Wolfgang Lukschy, Sieghardt Rupp, José Calvo, Antonio Prieto, and Joseph Egger. Released in Italy in 1964 then in the United States in...

and Walter Hill's Last Man Standing
Last Man Standing (film)
Last Man Standing is a 1996 action film written and directed by Walter Hill, starring Bruce Willis, Christopher Walken, and Bruce Dern. It is a credited remake of the Akira Kurosawa film Yojimbo.- Plot :...


In the early 70s, Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 director Bernardo Bertolucci
Bernardo Bertolucci
Bernardo Bertolucci is an Italian film director and screenwriter, whose films include The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, 1900, The Last Emperor and The Dreamers...

 considered filming an adaptation of the novel, and wrote a first draft infused with political themes typical of his work. A short while after he wrote a second draft which was more faithful to Hammett's story. He considered Robert Redford
Robert Redford
Charles Robert Redford, Jr. , better known as Robert Redford, is an American actor, film director, producer, businessman, environmentalist, philanthropist, and founder of the Sundance Film Festival. He has received two Oscars: one in 1981 for directing Ordinary People, and one for Lifetime...

, Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson
John Joseph "Jack" Nicholson is an American actor, film director, producer and writer. He is renowned for his often dark portrayals of neurotic characters. Nicholson has been nominated for an Academy Award twelve times, and has won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice: for One Flew Over the...

 (who had played a hard-boiled detective in Roman Polanski's
Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski is a French-Polish film director, producer, writer and actor. Having made films in Poland, Britain, France and the USA, he is considered one of the few "truly international filmmakers."...

 neo-noir film Chinatown), and Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood
Clinton "Clint" Eastwood, Jr. is an American film actor, director, producer, composer and politician. Eastwood first came to prominence as a supporting cast member in the TV series Rawhide...

 (who played the Op-inspired Man with No Name
Man with No Name
The man with no name is a stock character in Western films, but the term usually applies specifically to the character played by Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone's "Dollars Trilogy."...

 in Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy
Dollars Trilogy
The "Dollars Trilogy" , also known as the "Man with No Name Trilogy", refers to the three Spaghetti Westerns starring Clint Eastwood and directed by Sergio Leone: A Fistful of Dollars , For a Few Dollars More , and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly .A Fistful of Dollars is an unofficial remake of...

) for the role of the Op. At some point Bertolucci met with Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty born March 30, 1937) is an American actor, producer, screenwriter and director. He has received a total of fourteen Academy Award nominations, winning one for Best Director in 1982. He has also won four Golden Globe Awards including the Cecil B. DeMille Award.-Early life and...

 in Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 where they heavily discussed this possible film. In 1982 Bertolucci moved to Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 where he was originally to begin production. However, the project was shelved for some unknown reason.

The Coen brothers
Coen Brothers
Joel David Coen and Ethan Jesse Coen known together professionally as the Coen brothers, are American filmmakers...

 film Miller's Crossing
Miller's Crossing
Miller's Crossing is a 1990 American gangster film by the Coen brothers and starring Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, Marcia Gay Harden, Jon Polito and John Turturro...

1990 in film
The year 1990 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* CGI technique is expanded with motion capture for CGI characters, used in Total Recall .* The first digitally-manipulated matte painting is used, in Die Hard 2....

) contains stylistic and narrative elements of Hammett's The Glass Key, Red Harvest and several of Hammett's shorter works. The Coens' 1984
1984 in film
-Events:* The Walt Disney Company founds Touchstone Pictures to release movies with subject matter deemed inappropriate for the Disney name.* Tri-Star Pictures, a joint venture of Columbia Pictures, HBO, and CBS, releases its first film....

 film Blood Simple
Blood Simple
Blood Simple is a 1984 neo-noir crime film. It was the directorial debut of Joel Coen and the first major film of cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld, who later became a noted director...

takes its title from a line in Red Harvest in which the Op tells Brand that the escalating violence has affected his mental state: "This damned burg's getting me. If I don't get away soon I'll be going blood-simple like the natives."

Science-fiction writer David Drake
David Drake
David Drake is an American author of science fiction and fantasy literature. A Vietnam War veteran who has worked as a lawyer, he is now one of the premier authors of the military science fiction subgenre.-Biography:...

 has said that he took the plot of his novel The Sharp End from Red Harvest.

Cory Doctorow
Cory Doctorow
Cory Efram Doctorow is a Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. He is an activist in favour of liberalising copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licences for his books...

 reviewed Steven Brust
Steven Brust
Steven Karl Zoltán Brust is an American fantasy and science fiction author of Hungarian descent. He was a member of the writers' group The Scribblies, which included Emma Bull, Pamela Dean, Will Shetterly, Nate Bucklin, Kara Dalkey, and Patricia Wrede; he also belongs to the Pre-Joycean...

's novel Jhegaala
Jhegaala is the eleventh book in Steven Brust′s Vlad Taltos series, set in the fantasy world of Dragaera. It was published in 2008. Following the trend of the series, it is named after one of the Great Houses and usually features that House as an important element to its plot.Each house uses a...

as "Steve Brust doing Hammett's Red Harvest".
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.