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Hammett and Chandler: Of Movies and Men

ENGL 284.601
instructor(s):
M 6-8:40

This course will focus on the writings of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler and the process by which the American detective novel has been made (and re-made) into movies. With masculinity as our organizing thematic, we will explore the ways in which modern and (postmodern) American character, identity, and beliefs are, in a sense, "movie-made." We shall follow six novels as they move from word to image, from screenplay to screen: Hammett's "Red Harvest," "The Maltese Falcon," and "The Glass Key" as they become the Coen brothers' "Blood Simple," John Huston's "The Maltese Falcon," and the Coen brothers' "Miller's Crossing"; and Chandler's "The Big Sleep, "Farewell My Lovely," and "The Long Goodbye" as they become Howard Hawks' "The Big Sleep," Dirk Richards' "Farewell My Lovely," and Robert Altman's "The Long Goodbye." Students will be asked to write weekly short (1-2pp.) response papers as well as a screen treatment of James Crumley's detective novel, "The Last Good Kiss."