Hammett (1982) Movie Script

- [Dog barking]
- [Car engine revving]
[Children shouting]
[Dog barking, howling]
[Typewriter keys clicking]
[Clicking continues]
[Trolley bell ringing]
[Children yelling]
[Dog barking]
[Breathing deeply]
Oh, jesus.
[Typewriter keys clicking]
[Clicking continues]
The pearls were insured for 100,000.
So when the thief offered
to sell them back for five...
the insurance company
came to us.
There was just one hitch:
The thief insisted
on a woman go-between.
The old man suggested sue alabama,
who worked for us a few years back.
When he asked me
what i thought, i said i thought
she'd be perfect, just perfect.
That'll stop a kitten,
if you're lucky.
- [Clicking]
- It'll stop a tiger,
if you know how to point it.
[Man] her name
wasn't really sue alabama.
It was sue something greek
and unpronounceable.
But all of us called her alabama,
so she had it changed back in '25.
- [Car door closing]
- That was just after she and i
took nowhere nickelton...
at the biltmore in l.a.
She primed him,
and i went in on the cleanup.
Sex was nearly all
sue alabama ever needed.
And she could use it the way
some guys use a blackjack.
I still think she was probably
the best i ever worked with.
- 5,000 bucks?
- Inside coat pocket.
He needed one hand for the money
and the other for the gun.
He wasn't good enough
to handle both.
If it isn't pen pal morrison.
Hello, pen pal.
- At least you didn't hit the money.
- I didn't aim at the money.
I can't figure him
for a cannon.
- [Foghorn blaring]
- The only thing pen pal
would ever use is the u.s. Mail.
That's why they parked him
in atlanta for three years.
Maybe he just
got ambitious.
Maybe he did.
- No pearls, though?
- No pearls. It was
a cute heist, that's all.
Just one small step up
from extortion.
Where were you gonna
fence 'em? Chicago?
- Cincinnati.
- If you still want 'em, you're
gonna have to use that shooter.
- Give me two hours.
- Why?
- For old times' sake.
- I'll give you one.
Okay. One.
[Man] i didn't give her an hour.
I didn't even give her 15 minutes.
[Typewriter keys clicking]
They picked her up at the union station
with a ticket for chicago in her bag.
I was almost sorry
she didn't make it.
Back in '26, sue alabama and i
nearly got married.
I suppose it's just as well
we didn't.
[Man coughing]
[Coughing continues]
[Breathing heavily]
[Water running]
[Breathing heavily]
[Papers shuffling]
Jesus, ryan.
- James francis xavier ryan.
- Himself.
Look at you, kid.
You're whiter than i am.
Clean living.
- You still a lunger?
- Cured. Almost, anyway. Thirsty?
I looked at this
while i was waiting...
except her name
wasn't sue alabama.
It was betty philadelphia,
and i did marry her. Worst luck.
- Ever hear from her?
- You ever hear from yours?
- Let me ask you a literary question.
- Sure.
I'll be sittin' around
with nothin' to do...
and i'll pick up one of those pulp rags
just to see if you've got a story in it.
When you do, it's usually
about this tough old bird...
who's about two and a half hops
ahead of everybody else.
How come he hasn't got a name?
Are names hard to write?
Shoot, i can write names.
Foxfire mccabe,
bitsy glass...
- [chuckles]
- Joe pickles.
- You think he's you, right?
- I know he is.
He goes around doin'
everything i used to do.
Half the time i don't know whether to be
flattered or embarrassed as hell.
What brings you to town?
That's what i want to talk to you about.
I got an m.p. Thing goin'.
- Who's missing?
- Little chink girl...
about 16 or 17... pretty.
Her name's crystal...
crystal ling.
I need some help, sam.
- You know this burg and i don't.
- I'm out of it.
Once in, never out.
Hell, i'll bet you're still half snoop.
I taught you good.
I bet you read other people's
mail, poke around their
medicine cabinets, eavesdrop...
when i walk down the street,
you know what i still look at?
Earlobes, noses, eyebrows, scars,
if there are any.
- See what i mean?
- Yeah, but you're trying
to put them in jail.
- I'm just trying
to put 'em in a magazine.
- Like i said, i need some help...
especially in chinatown.
- I want you for my tin mittens.
- No chance.
I don't screw around with
the cops anymore. Not in this town.
- Let's go get some booze.
- In a minute.
Let me tell you
a story first.
You like stories, don't ya?
Sure you do.
It seems this old bird is up
in some place that sounds a hell
of a lot like butte, montana.
He got a sidekick this time...
kid the agency sent.
Green as grass.
Somehow they get themselves
in a soup...
and the old guy takes a slug
in the shoulder that by rights...
should have taken the kid
in the left eye.
The green kid falls all over
himself, tellin'the old guy
no matter what he wants...
no matter when,
no matter where, just holler.
You remember that story.
Anywhere, anytime
is now, hammett.
I'm callin' it in.
Let's go get
that whiskey.
[Woman] hi, neighbor.
Can you spare a cup of booze?
Hello, kit. I'm all out.
Oh, sorry.
I didn't know you had company.
- Miss conger, mr. Ryan.
- How are you?
Kit's a librarian downtown.
We werejust going out to mail this.
- I'll bring you back some booze.
- Okay. Let me give you the money.
So where are you from, mr. Ryan?
Baltimore, birmingham,
butte... you name it.
Anyplace that begins
with a "b," huh?
I left out biloxi.
Your new story set
in any of those places, sam?
Yeah, maybe... maybe not.
- Sounded like baltimore to me.
- Did you make a carbon?
- No.
- One of these days, you're...
is that what you wear
to the library?
That's what i wear underneath
what i wear to the library.
- Never seen any before?
- Couple of times... maybe three.
Four, counting the redheaded
contortionist from yakima.
- Cute dish.
- Yeah, very.
I hear you left pinkerton's.
- Yeah, three or four years ago.
Long hours, short dough.
- [Cat meowing]
- Any money in the writing racket?
- Penny a word.
- Write a million words, you'd be set.
- Like war and peace.
- Bring you back some gin.
- Gin's for old ladies.
Make it scotch.
[man singing, indistinct]
Christ, you're sure looking flush...
somewhere between
a bootlegger and a banker.
Got my own little agency
up in tacoma now.
Lot of divorces in tacoma.
No wonder. Hell, it rains
350 days of the year.
What's your town like, anyway?
Free and easy?
Yeah. More so than most.
- Who runs things?
- Same people who run
things everywhere.
The cops, the crooks
and the big rich, huh?
Who else?
- Where?
- A little to your right
and back six yards.
I'd sort of like to lose him.
You still know how?
Yeah, i think i might remember.
A corkscrew or splitaway?
Corkscrew. Looks like i taught you
somethin' after all.
[Women talking, indistinct]
- You know who that
little punk reminds me of?
- Who?
- Remember blackie malcombs?
- Oh, my god! You're right!
- Wait, wait. I gotta mail this.
- Mail it later!
- Huh?
- Move it!
[Engine starting]
- [Hammett coughing]
- You okay?
Yeah. If we lose each other,
meet me at cookie's.
- Is that a speak?
- Yeah. Ask anybody.
[Coughing continues]
[Man yelling, indistinct]
[Firecrackers exploding]
[Explosions continue]
- I lost my manuscript!
- Come on!
For god's sake, let's go!
Let's get out of this mess!
What happened?
My manuscript!
[People screaming]
[Hammett] did you see where the
big guy went? The guy with the hat?
[Man speaking french]
[Baby crying]
Sailor, you see a big fella
come through here?
No, monsieur. I have not seen anyone
but very pretty young girls.
- Pretty ones. You like pretty girls?
- [Woman] mister, two bit for me?
No, thanks.
I'm trying to taper off.
My daughter work with me.
[Woman #2]
Mister! Mister!
Have you time?
Have you time?
Two dollar?
One dollar?
[Women giggle]
Jimmy! Jimmy!
[Children chattering]
[Match striking]
Hello? Tom?
I see you're not particular
about the company you keep.
Well, them that works, eats.
Hello, o'mara.
Well, what brings you
down to the depths?
I'm down here with a friend of mine,
but he seems to have gotten lost.
What are you offering for him...
a nickel reward?
For you, o'mara,
i'll make it a dime.
- I would have taken the nickel, samuel.
- [Chuckles]
A little off your regular patch,
aren't you, hammett?
I didn't know you had
chinatown roped off.
I don't, but sometimes
i think it'd be a hell of an idea.
Sure you didn't see this friend
of mine, tom... a guy about 50 or so...
six foot, tan overcoat,
uh, with a velvet collar?
- Fancy.
- Certainly i haven't seen
the likes of him.
And what would your fancy friend
be doing down here?
- Looking for a chinese girl.
- Oh, ain't we all.
- Your friend a private cop?
- Maybe.
And maybe there'd be
a little, uh...
- could be. You never know.
- What do you think, tom?
Well, that's up to you,
Who's the girl?
Her name's crystal ling.
Let me tell you something,
I never heard of any chink girl
called crystal ling.
If you're half smart,
you never heard of her.
And if your fancy friend
with the velvet collar
is half as smart as you are...
which would make him
only one quarter smart...
he never heard of her either!
Well, that's a layoff speech
if i ever heard one.
Go home and type, hammett.
Samuel, that ain't bad advice.
- What's up?
- How ya doin'?
Say, uh, you're
dashiell hammett, aren't ya?
That's what
my birth certificate says.
- [Man shouting in chinese]
- I'm a big admirer of yours.
- I'm a writer too...
newspaper man... yeah.
- Oh, really?
Salt. Gary salt.
I really liked
dead yellow women.
I guess you're just following me
around in this alley
to get my autograph, right?
Well, no. Actually, uh...
well, the fact is the fella
who was with ya there...
- you mean jimmy ryan?
- Well, that's it, mr. Hammett.
- What do you want with him?
- I have something for him.
Oh, really?
That's interesting.
Well, he's probably over at cookie's.
Come on. I'll introduce ya.
Well, yeah.
Gee, thanks, mr. Hammett.
[Woman laughing]
Come on, salt!
I won't let him hurt ya.
- [Piano]
- [Chattering]
- [Man] hi, sam.
- Hello, mike.
I said,
"i don't wanna hear this crap."
Not just now.
[Man] instead, i said,
"let's have a drink."
- Hello, ellen.
- [Woman] how ya doin', sam?
- Oh, sorry.
- Excuse me.
- Hello, sam.
- How's tricks?
- Hey, you're kind of
late tonight, ain't ya?
- I guess.
I'm lookin' for a pal of mine...
camel hair coat, brown hat...
about six feet.
Nobody here tonight
except regulars.
- Thanks anyway.
- What'll it be, pal?
Nothing. Thanks.
- He isn't here.
- Don't worry. He'll be here.
Why don't you do yourself a favor
and tell me what you want him for?
Well, it has to do
with chinatown.
- [Man] my wife left me.
- I'm working on this story,
um... freelance.
It's a freelance job.
Well, like i say,
i've been workin' on this thing for...
for quite a while...
[bell ringing]
Excuse me.
Oh, sorry. I thought
you were a pal of mine...
i used to work with
in the circus.
- Good evening.
- All right.
- Hello, sid.
- How ya doin', sam?
That old geezer with the bow tie...
did you see where he went?
Not here.
That's great cover, kid, the newspaper.
I really like that.
I knew a guy once used to
disguise himself as a fire hydrant.
Of course, he did have
a small problem with a dog.
Tell you what. I'm going home now
to get some shut-eye.
Why don't you just skip the shoeshine
and take a taxi?
There's a swell doorway across
from my place, and you can stand
there all night long.
- Bring a good book with ya.
- You better get
your picture took, creep.
Your mama won't know you
when i'm finished with you.
See you later, kid.
By the way,
your paper's upside down.
Luck's got nothing to do
with it, pop. Remember?
Hello, sam.
- Hello, mike. How's christa?
- Great.
We named the baby after you.
Well, uh, drink up, sam.
Skip the gutter.
Ain't you gonna ask me
about your latest?
It just come in this mornin'.
- That sure is fine work, samuel.
- Glad you liked it, pop.
Sam, sam, sam.
Foley at winterland gave me it straight.
Put your money on mickey walker.
That's a sucker bet, mike.
- [Mike]
They're layin'eight to five.
- Smart money's on paluaski.
- How much do you want?
- I'll go 50 on paluaski.
You got it, sam.
Ah, you scratched.
[Man #2] all right.
Let's see what you can do.
[Man] what are you trying to pull?
Nobody messes with me like that.
Nobody. You just made
your big mistake.
- I'm gonna fix you, sucker.
- [Hammett laughing]
[Woman] i said
we'll get them both something.
- How do you like to say,
"i told you so?"
- Try me.
- I lost my manuscript.
- I told you so.
What will you do now?
Write it over?
I'll write a better one.
Well, it's been a full evening anyway.
I misplaced jimmy ryan
somewhere along the way.
Maybe he's up
in your place.
[Water gurgling]
[Ryan's voice] the agency and i
took you in off the street, hammett...
and taught you damn near
everything you know.
I taught you surveillance,
the fallback...
even how to lie.
It took me years
to learn that...
and i taught it to you for free.
And you take it and sell it
on the street in a cheap magazine.
[Children shouting]
[Typewriter keys clicking]
- [Knocking]
- Oh. Now what?
[Knocking continues]
- What do you want, salt?
- Can i come in for a minute?
Salt, i've got a story
that was due day before yesterday...
so whatever you've got to say,
make it snappy.
The truth is,
i'm really not a writer.
I just collect gossip for the papers...
for the post and call.
Look, i was trying to write
a real story for once...
about the slave racket
in chinatown...
twelve, thirteen-year-old girls coming
right off the boats and into the cribs.
Well, i met her there.
Crystal. Look.
- Now, isn't she beautiful?
- Yeah, she is beautiful.
She's very beautiful.
- So what?
- Well, a lot of people
wanna talk to her.
I'd like to talk to her myself.
Why is everybody so interested
in this chinese dame anyway?
Just tell your friend ryan
i want her back!
- Back? What are you
trying to tell me, salt?
- That's all i can say.
Believe me.
I'm already out on such a limb.
You tell your friend ryan
if he doesn't watch his step,
he can wind up dead.
And you tell him i mean it!
Young wild west, eh?
[Phone ringing]
- Hello?
- [Ryan] sam, it's me.
- Ryan, where the hell are you?
- I'm in a jam.
Look in the dictionary,
your big dictionary.
I can't talk now.
I've got to find that girl.
[Dial tone]
Swell. Where do you
want me to start?
- Could i get another copy of
the chronicle forjanuary 3?
- [Man] comin'right up, sam.
Thanks, hank.
[Footsteps echoing]
Man alive,
this guy can write.
[Dumbwaiter rings]
[Footsteps continue echoing]
"Mr. Callaghan was prominent
in local business and civic circles.
"Recent financial reversal.
Despondent, according to
a spokesman for the family...
attorney e.l. Hagedorn."
English eddie hagedorn.
[Footsteps echoing]
i wish that i
could write
a song about you
- hello.
- Hello.
- Remember me? Elizabeth.
- Ellen.
- Christmas eve, 1924.
- That's right.
- I'm married now.
- Oh.
- Congratulations.
- Thank you.
Lee, where would you
go in chinatown...
to find a girl
who's run away from the cribs?
There's only one place:
The mission house
on sacramento street.
[Horn honking]
- [Children chattering]
- Yes? May i help you?
How do you do? I'm peter collinson
from the chronicle.
I'd like to have a word
with miss cameron if i may.
A newspaper reporter?
Yes. I'm from the chronicle.
I've been working on a story
about the slave rackets here...
and i've got a problem i think
you might be able to help me with.
We've been having some trouble
locating a primary source.
Who is "we,"
mr. Collinson?
It wouldn't be fong wei tau,
now, would it?
I know who he is,
but that's about it.
Your source came to us
in the middle of the night...
with nothing but
the clothes on her back...
crazed with fear!
She would only tell me
she had escaped from fong.
Fong paid $5,000 for her
when she was brought here...
from china at the age of 12.
$5,000 dollars...
so he could sell her body
in his parlor house.
If she's caught,
it would not be...
a life worth livin',
now, would it?
Do you have any idea
where she is now?
Ayoung man tricked one of my staff
into letting her leave with him.
I'll never forgive myself
for being out that day.
Thanks. That's swell.
If i, uh, find anything out,
i'll let you know.
You're quite welcome,
mr. Hammett.
I've lived in san francisco
since 1895, young man...
and there's very little
i don't know about our city.
Yes, ma'am.
I should've known better.
- Eli.
- Where to, hammett?
- The morgue.
- You back on the game?
Sort of.
I was worried there for a while.
I thought you was getting
halfway respectable, like me.
- [Man] come in.
- Hello, doc.
I heard you retired.
I got 13 kids, hammett.
You don't ever retire
if you've got 13 kids.
[Chuckles] you ever heard of
a doctor with 13 kids?
- [Laughing]
- I was sure i heard you retired.
- I heard you quit drinking.
- I guess we were both wrong.
[Footsteps echoing]
You know what my problem is?
I'm a halfway honest man...
in a 9/10ths dishonest world.
- What's your problem?
- Suicide.
- My advice: Don't hesitate.
- Not mine. C.f. Callaghan's.
Funny you should ask.
Had a guy in last week asking
about the same thing.
The guy had
a fancy tan topcoat...
and a hat to match.
He was on the expense.
[Pigeons cooing]
You on the expense,
We go back a ways, don't we?
- Quite a ways.
- The colcord thing in '21.
I wasn't in on that one, doc.
What about callaghan?
You sure you're not on the expense
like that other fella?
I'm sure.
- You know what i got?
- What?
Bad kidneys.
[Toilet flushing]
[Door closing]
Like i said...
a most interesting case.
The victim struck himself in the head
with a blunt instrument...
and then pumped
a.38 round into his heart.
Or maybe it was vice versa.
Is often fascinating.
I'll say.
- [Snorting]
- [Sirens blaring]
- [Door closes]
- [Whistling]
[Speaking in chinese]
- [Moaning]
- Crystal ling, right?
Do you always leave
your door unlocked, mr. Hammett?
Why not?
Nothing of value.
- You never know who will come in.
- I guess not.
While waiting for you here...
i felt so safe...
It's such a masculine place.
- Safe from what?
- Your friend mr. Ryan.
What do you know
about me and ryan?
You and he were in chinatown
last night.
Nothing there goes unobserved.
Would you tell
your mr. Ryan...
to stop looking for me?
I am not lost.
What about a guy named salt,
gary salt?
He also seems to think
you're either lost or strayed.
He's a evil little man.
He's corrupter.
He is "worser"
than fong wei tau.
No, that is not true.
No one is worse than fong,
not even salt.
So why come to me?
In chinatown,
you are known as a kind man...
a just man.
I came because i need
a safe place to stay for a few hours...
no more than eight.
I need a haven.
If you could help me...
- i would...
- you'd do what?
[Chuckles] anything.
Anything what you want.
Yeah, i bet you would at that.
First, you're gonna
have to do something for me.
After all,
i am a kind man, a just man.
Anything at all.
Tell me about you
and c.f. Callaghan.
I cannot.
Why not?
I was there
when she killed him.
- Who's she?
- His wife.
Oh. Mrs. Callaghan.
I fled, and later
the police came, and...
- called it suicide.
- Suicide.
- What the hell were you doing there?
- Well, you see...
mr. Callaghan...
he bought me.
He bought me from fong.
You spin quite
a tale, sister.
It's true, mr. Hammett.
It's all terribly, horribly true.
You must understand.
I was a whore...
a very, very "skillet" whore...
until i found christ,
my redeemer.
- At the mission?
- Yes, at the mission.
I was made to do such...
terribly wicked things.
- Maybe i'd better go now.
- [Gasps]
Mr. Hammett!
Can i stay?
Okay. Lock the door. Don't let
anyone in. Don't answer the phone.
I'll be back later.
- I was so very wicked.
- Yeah, i can believe that.
[Door closes]
How are the wonders of the orient?
I saw her go up.
She's a favor i owe ryan.
Oh, sure, sam.
Absolutely. You bet.
Look, there's a cop i know
who's a little shifty,
but he's basically okay.
His name's bradford...
tom bradford.
If i'm not back by the time
you go to work tomorrow...
call him and tell him to come
looking for me at fong's.
- That's all? Just fong's?
- Yeah, he'll know what you mean.
That's good.
What about the little
fortune cookie upstairs?
- Better stay away from her.
- Why? Is she trouble?
She's a disaster.
[Bell ringing]
- [Chattering]
- Three flowers, two crack, one down.
Craps, roulette, blackjack?
I wanna see fong.
I'll be at the blackjack table.
Play here. Everybody wins.
Okay. Change, sir.
Anyone else?
Place your bets.
Dealer has ace showing.
Insurance, anyone?
Dealer has 21.
You. Come with me.
Mr. Hammett, i am honored.
- Your renown precedes you.
- Yeah?
- I've heard a few things about you too.
- Indeed.
Perhaps you can get right
to the point of your visit.
I was wondering if a friend of mine's
been around. Jimmy ryan.
Ryan? Jimmy ryan?
I heard the two of you
have a mutual friend...
a nifty little girl
named crystal.
Perhaps we are a bit too public here.
Please come this way.
[Dealer] place your bets,
everybody. Everybody wins here.
Everybody wins.
Place your bets.
Very nice.
Simple but elegant.
I like your paintings.
Your friend jimmy
has been here.
Indeed, he is still here...
enjoying my hospitality while i
consider a proposition he's made me.
What kind of proposition?
Crystal, did you say?
An interesting piece of work,
mr. Hammett.
My first encounter
with the detective genre.
Is this pure invention...
or do you draw your material
from life?
Real life, fong.
Be glad to show you
some of my poems sometime.
But if you don't mind,
i'd like to have this back.
Now, now, mr. Hammett. Common sense
would dictate you listen quietly.
Perhaps your work has made
the habit of fantasy too strong in you.
You will find that i'm not so easily
dealt with as your paper villains.
In that case,
i think i'll be leaving.
Thanks for the tea.
Evidently, you don't understand
how important it is...
i talk to this lady,
so please don't be silly.
Just tell me where she is.
Do you really insist
on this foolishness?
Go to hell.
Physical heroism is not
the writer's metier, my friend.
Remember about crystal quickly and
save yourself a great deal of vexation.
[Footsteps departing]
[Typewriter keys clicking]
[Man whooping]
- [Gunshot]
- You gonna be able
to cut it, laddiebuck?
Oh, god.
Why couldn't it be giant spiders
and pink elephants?
[Hammett] what the hell
is this supposed to be?
Well, what does it look like?
It's a mexican crib joint!
- Christ, you picked it out!
- [Horse whinnying]
I did?
I told you
he wouldn't remember.
[Ryan] this is it, kid. This is
where they make the big payoff...
- general calaveras and his bunch.
- [Groaning]
Twenty crates
of springfield aught-threes...
for 85,000
mexican silver dollars.
Now do you remember?
We'll have to work it without him.
And you were supposed
to be my backup.
Jesus. Some backup.

[electronic laughing]
[Laughter echoes]
Who are you?
[Typewriter keys clicking]
[Girl giggling]
Where are we?
[Girl laughing]
Where are you taking me,
you cute little dickens?
[Women speaking in chinese]
Come on.
[Women chattering, laughing]
- [Chinese]
- No, thank you.
[Both arguing]
Get lost!
- Ryan, what are you doing in there?
- Get the lid off, kid!
[Girl giggling]
- Is it locked?
- Why the hell should it be locked?
I can't reach it!
- Give me your hand.
- [Both grunting]
- [Rats squealing]
- [Groaning]
Geez. What happened?
The deal went a little sour,
that's all.
- I'll say.
- Just a little sour!
- [Men shouting]
- Let's get out of here!
- Damn!
- [Man yelling]
- [Grunting, yelling]
- [Moaning]
Saddle up!
Look out below!
- [Coughing]
- All right, you two. Let's go.
Too bad your girlfriend
called us.
I could've taken you outta here
in a box. Come on. Get in.
[Wheezing, coughing]
- So you're the famous jimmy ryan, huh?
- Yeah, i'm ryan.
Well, you and me, bucko,
you and me...
we're going to have
a little talk.
Get in.
[Coughing continues]
[Truck engine starting]
You know what's happened to you, ryan?
You're fallin' apart!
Your nerve's shot!
Your brain's pickled!
And you know the mistake i made?
I felt sorry for ya!
Nobody has to feel sorry
for jimmy. Nobody!
Start with that dumb phone call
about the dictionary and go from there.
What are you working, ryan,
some cute shakedown
and a little extortion maybe?
You don't know
what that phone call was?
You, the great detective story writer?
Why, that was a clue,
you simple son of a bitch!
They went after you,
and i went about my business.
All right, hammett.
One more time.
Why have you been asking all over town
about crystal ling?
I haven't been asking
all over town!
You asked me. You asked tom.
You asked fong!
You even tried to bribe me and tom,
as god is my witness.
Didn't he try
to bribe us, tom?
If god is your witness, lieutenant,
he certainly tried to bribe us.
What do you do when you
go home at night, tom, throw up?
- I drink, samuel. I drink
a whole lot. Then i throw up.
- [Hammett chuckles]
Ryan says you're his go-between...
his tin mittens!
- Ryan's lying! [yells]
- [Screaming]
[Yelling continues]
Come on! Come on.
[Breathing heavily]
Where were you at 3:13
this morning, hammett?
I told you
i was at fong's!
- Why?
- Because that's when
it happened, that's why.
I don't know what the hell
you're talking about!
All right. Take him down,
show him and then throw him out!
Come on, samuel.
[Door closing]
Crystal ling.
She got it
at exactly 3:13 a.m.
It was at the end of the line
of a number 19 trolley run.
The motorman and the conductor
just looked at their watches
and heard her scream.
- How many times?
- Did she scream?
- Just once.
- What happened to her face?
She got it bashed in,
didn't she?
They found a baseball bat
next to her body.
She was struck on the head
nine times, maybe ten.
- Sexually assaulted?
- We haven't run the tests yet.
But if i had to guess,
i'd say probably.
[Tom] we ain't
quite through yet, samuel.
[Tom laughing]
I think i got the idea.
That's enough.
- That's enough, damn it!
- Where'd you get it?
It's been making the rounds of the stags
for the last three months.
- Who made it?
- Hmm. That's what we thought
you'd be telling us.
Me? You've got the wrong guy.
- You should be talkin'...
- you've been nosing around
about her, samuel.
- You got us curious.
- What'd you do with ryan?
- We let him walk.
- You did? Swell.
I think i'll do the same.
Do you want
a nip before you go?
I could use
a snifter after that.
- [Exhales deeply]
- Mr. Hammett. You look terrible.
- [Bell tolling]
- Beat it, salt. I'm tired.
I heard you and ryan
got picked up.
Did he tell 'em anything
at all about crystal?
What'd he tell them
about crystal?
For that matter, what would you
tell them about crystal?
Oh, for pete's sake,
mr. Hammett.
- You know what i mean.
- Hey, look at that.
It's going to be the longest
suspension bridge in the world.
And the graft will probably
set a world record too.
Yeah. It's beautiful.
I just hope
i live to see it.
Look, salt. I'm getting tired of
being treated like the village idiot!
Let's just pretend...
let's just pretend...
i'm gonna slap you to sleep
unless i get some straight answers.
- It was you that took crystal away
from the cameron dame, wasn't it?
- No.
She was on the run,
all right, but it wasn't
some penny-ante bullshit, was it?
Now crystal's dead, salt.
She's down there on a slab
with a sheet over her head!
- Go ask the cops!
- [Man] it's all right.
Hello, hank.
What's cookin'?
Where ya been
hangin' out, son?
Good god, sam. You look like
somethin' the cat dragged in.
- What happened?
- Never mind. You wouldn't
believe me if i told ya.
- Would you like a snort?
- No, i'd like something
to take home, pops. I'm out.
The blue plate special.
I've been savin' it
for your weddin' day.
Fat chance.
Oh, mr. Hammett.
What happened to you?
- I slipped on a banana peel, rose.
- Oh, i'm sorry.
[Speaking chinese]
[Child] forty-five. Fifty.
Fifty-five. Sixty.
Sixty-five. Seventy.
Seventy-five. Eighty.
Eighty-five. Ninety.
Ninety-five. A hundred.
Ready or not,
here i come.
Is he up there?
[Door closing]
Good god!
I don't know
which looks worse, you or this.
Don't worry about the blood.
It probably belonged to a chicken.
- A what?
- Or a duck. Or maybe it's
just another case of suicide.
In any case, it's just a warning.
Maybe the third or the fourth.
- I can't remember exactly.
- Warning to do what?
Lay off.
It all started with ryan.
After ryan came gary salt,
and after salt, the cops, and
after the cops, crystal ling.
Almost one, two, three.
Now ryan's gone, and crystal ling
is about to be buried by the cops.
- So that leaves only
gary salt, doesn't it?
- Who's gary salt?
- Gary salt's a guy who last thursday
put 50 cents down on 777.
- Numbers.
Okay. You figured out
he plays the numbers.
What do those names mean to you?
"Henson, chambers, norsette,
creel, michelson, dorn."
- Six of the richest men
in san francisco.
- Right again.
Would you be dippy enough, angel,
to spend a little shoe leather?
Doing what?
Looking for gary salt.
Who the hell are you now... hammett
the writer or hammett the detective?
I think you left out
hammett the fool.
What a waste.
Kit, this is eli, the last
of the i.w.w. Organizers.
- Are you really a wobbly?
- Ah, no. That's just hammett talking.
What i am now is sort of an anarchist
with syndicalist tendencies.
Eli, who uses pink number slips?
Oh, probably frank nestor
over in the old mission district.
He runs the newsstand.
Let's go have a word with 'im.
I thought you told me
that you were a strikebreaker
when you worked for the pinkerton's.
I was. That's why i quit.
just doin' my job,
if you please
fill 'er up.
Six twenty-six.
Thank you.
You lost, pal.
- I'm lookin' for the guy who bought it.
- Yeah, sure you are.
- You a cop?
- What about her?
Well, you can't
forget her, ever.
That studio up the stairs...
she used to come and go, in and out.
Thanks. Is she in trouble?
- Dames like her... they live on trouble.
- Stick around, eli.
[Siren blaring]
What a grand dump.
What are we looking for?
Wish i knew.
Maybe we'll find your manuscript.
I know where that is.
Too bad you didn't get to read it.
There's somebody in it
you might be very familiar with.
- A girl?
- Maybe.
"She had eyes too close for trusting
but wide enough for beauty."
- How'd you guess?
- Because all your women are like that.
How come you never write about women
with eyes like lost lakes?
'Cause everybody else does,
Look at this:
James ryan, $ 100 retainer.
It's dated the 27th.
That's a week ago.
Jimmy ryan's
big-time client, gary salt...
bought ryan for a hundred bucks.
This must be the bedroom.
Guess again.
[Kit] my grandmother
used to have a brass bed just like this.
[Gasps] oh, she used to hide
her old love letters in here.
She thought it was a big secret,
but my brothers and i used to read them.
Your grandmother...
how is old lizzy?
I have to write her.
- Oh, look. There is something in here.
- [Door closes]
- Yeah, what is it?
- Shh!
[Man whispering]
Keep moving, sweetie.
We're almost there.
[Man #2] i'm tellin'ya,
i haven't got 'em. I swear i haven't.
- Hagedorn says you got 'em.
That's good enough for me.
- Hagedorn's wrong.
Hagedorn's never wrong,
sweetie. Never.
- [Door opening]
- Look, can't we make a deal?
I don't make deals, sweetie.
You oughta know that by now.
- I could cut you in.
- No.
You can have
my end of the pool.
I said no. I just want
what i am sent for.
But i haven't got 'em!
Then you better find 'em!
Please. Let's talk about it.
Wejust run outta talk.
Get in the bedroom,
you squirm.
I want 'em now, pally.
Not tomorrow.
Not the next day.
I haven't got 'em anymore.
I swear to god.
I haven't got 'em. L...
what you got...
is five seconds.
- Two.
- Don't.
- Four.
- For god's sake...
look, l...
- five.
- [Moans]
[Kit screaming]
Don't be a chump.
Let her go!
Just one more step, sweetie,
and she goes.
But she goes slow... real slow.
I said let her go.
Come on.
That old wheeze.
Yeah? Call it.
Real soon. I'm gonna take you
right off the count real soon.
How 'bout right now,
goddamn it!
- What the hell?
- Johnny on the spot.
Where'd you get the artillery, eli?
You should put wheels on it.
You need a little protection
when you drive a hack in 'frisco.
It's san francisco.
I hack here, lady.
I call it 'frisco.
- Okay.
- The envelope. What was
in that envelope, kit?
Oh, ah, i don't know.
I didn't look.
You're a swell detective,
Recognize 'em?
- The six on the list.
- Yeah. The salt's dead.
Oh. Shouldn't we
call the police?
Shouldn't we do
something legal?
First, we'll drop you off, angel.
You call the cops,
and i'll go see hagedorn.
What should i tell the police?
Tell 'em you know where they
can find another body that
we know wasn't a suicide.
And no names. Here.
Tuck these away
someplace safe.
You know the nicest people.
Where's your gun?
In the top drawer of my desk.
- Need a good monkey wrench, eli?
- Thank you.
[Brakes screeching]
- Pretty fancy.
- Yeah.
Hey, are you gonna be
a long time?
Never early, never late.
What's the difference?
Well, that's what they all say.
I'm only human. I just
wanna know what's goin' on.
Sure. Sure. I don't blame ya.
Everybody wants to know
what's goin' on.
- Piddle around here for a while,
then we'll go home. Deal?
- Yeah. Deal.
[Wind howling]
[Footsteps approaching]
Who's there?
You don't want
a belly full of daylight!
- [Bird cawing]
- Come out with your hands up.
Gee, you've got shifty eyes.
- [Squawks]
- Hold it, son.
Gee, you've got shifty eyes.
Let's go. Looks like eddie's
gonna need a new boy.
[Bird squawking]
A little kid took this away from him,
but i made him give it back.
You son of a bitch.
I'll strangle you with your own guts.
People lose teeth talking like that.
What's in there?
Get in. Open it.
How do you do, mr. Hagedorn?
I thought we should have a little chat.
Indeed, sir.
I fear you have the advantage over me.
Truly, sir, i do.
What's the story
on you and jimmy ryan?
My god, sir. I think you and i
are going to get along perfectly.
I like a man who favors
the forthright approach.
You have a unique,
persuasive style, sir.
Perhaps a little lacking in finesse,
but then polish isn't everything.
Whom have i the honor
of addressing?
Sam hammett.
Samuel dashiell hammett.
Former pinkerton man.
Now what?
Master of the penny dreadful.
- Getting rich?
- Scraping by.
Aren't we all?
Now what shall we talk about?
First off... him, your gunsel.
Why is he tailing me all over town?
- Does he think i'm pretty or what?
- Gunsel?
My word, sir. What a precise use
of the english language.
You know the synonym
of gunsel, of course?
Catamite. Nance.
Fairy. Punk.
By the way, you shouldn't
let him carry this.
It smacks of ill will.
Again, why is he tailing me?
We're looking for
your mr. Ryan, actually...
who we feel might be in possession of
certain information useful to my client.
Mrs. Callaghan, whose late husband
killed himself, sort of.
Why did callaghan kill himself,
if he did?
Well, sir, he was ruined...
financially, i mean.
What was it?
Liquor, women, gambling?
He guessed wrong on
the commodity market. The market rose...
and he couldn't cover
his short position.
What about callaghan and crystal ling...
the late crystal ling. [chuckles]
- What about them?
- I understand he bought her from fong.
My word, sir.
You have been amongst the liars.
I'll say.
Crystal was almost like
a daughter to the callaghans.
Oh, i'm sure they had
some swell sunday dinners.
Anyway, they're both dead now.
One murdered and one a suicide...
according to the cops, that is.
Now there's a third body in the morgue
you might be interested in.
Not a suicide.
Very murdered, with a witness.
Might i ask whom?
- Gary salt.
- Salt?
- Short pornographer?
- Murdered, you say?
As in bumped off
by your little roomie.
It seems he got a little impatient
when he went after the dirty pictures.
Or maybe he
just likes his work.
- All i know is he blew a hole
through salt's chest!
- Oh, dear.
I had to search you,
mr. Hammett.
My clients would never have forgiven me
if i hadn't. You do understand?
Of course.
I shall miss my winston,
mr. Hammett.
Well, i won't.
We were together for a long time.
A very long time.
We understood each other.
But as an officer of the court,
i have my sworn duty.
- Who are you calling?
- Why, the proper authorities,
of course.
- Who'll do what?
- Tidy things up, naturally.
- Just like that.
- Yes, mr. Hammett. Just like that.
- You're an original, hagedorn.
- The front door is to the left.
Thank you.
- [Knocking]
- [Tom] open up, samuel.
- I'm on the phone!
- Well, make it snappy.
- What?
- My lawyer's jim welch.
He's in the book.
Call him as soon as
i go through the door.
[Sighs] i don't think
i like this new career of yours.
It almost got me
killed tonight, and for what?
Answer me that, smart guy.
What was in it for me?
A peep in the cesspool?
A roll in the hay?
- A roll in the hay, at least.
- I'm serious.
Look, you went because i asked
you to, because you knew there
was nobody else i could ask.
[Knocking continues]
Take it easy, tom!
Hello, tom.
What's the good word?
I told you to stay
out of it, samuel.
- So ya did.
- So let's go.
And don't ask me where. Don't argue.
Because if you argue...
- i'm gonna put the cuffs on.
- Well, i guess you better
damn well do that.
How's that?
[Foghorn blowing]
Samuel, from now on,
you're on your own.
And god help ya.
Well, i'll be damned.
Welcome, mr. Hammett.
We have great need of you, sir,
great need.
You know mr. Fong
and lieutenant o'mara, of course.
- The other gentlemen, l...
- i can make my own introductions,
hagedorn. Thank you.
Let's see.
Shipping, isn't it?
And you go for
little miss muffett, right?
Big insurance.
And your preference,
little bo peep.
Railroads. Grandpa's railroads,
if i remember right.
A little old, wasn't she?
Why, you old dog.
And you're sugar.
Maybe half the world's sugar.
Let's see. Daddy's little girl,
i'd say. But i could be wrong.
And you're oil. Used to be
mr. Rockefeller's oil,
but now it's yours.
Queen of the sixth grade
or fifth... fourth, maybe.
What the hell?
You're just the idle rich, right?
Good works, charities... always
a big power in the reform movement.
And you like...
well, let's see.
Looks sort of like
the poor little match girl.
- [Hagedorn] mr. Hammett, i must...
- shut up, hagedorn.
Let me see if i can figure out the rest.
It must have started...
- mr. Hammett, i must advise you...
- let him speak.
You know, you two
make a swell pair. It must
have all started at a stag party.
New year's eve maybe?
Anyway, a blue film was
the night's main event, right?
Starring crystal ling
and the wolf man.
And then what? A week later...
two weeks later... somebody...
maybe somebody like gary salt,
comes and whispers in your ear...
that you, too, for a small fee,
can take a turn in the hay with crystal.
So one by one, you sneak up
into that back room
at the friendly pornographer's...
and... bingo!...
it's arabian nights!
No fantasy too wild.
No taste too bizarre.
Except that all the time
the camera's clicking away.
Then somebody grabs the negatives away
from salt, right? Crystal, maybe.
And you turn san francisco
inside out looking for her.
Then all of a sudden
crystal's dead, and there's a body
in the morgue to prove it.
But now the blackmailer
lands on you.
And you either pay up, or prints
of you and crystal will be sent
to every ritzy club...
between here and new york...
not to mention your wives.
- Am i right so far, hagedorn?
- You are substantially correct, sir.
You know, i've lived in this town
for what, seven or eight years now.
It's not a bad town.
It's certainly more fun than most.
The streets get swept, the garbage
gets picked up and the graft gets paid.
But the politicians don't really
run this town. They never have.
They ran it because they had
the money, and now you run it
because you've got the money...
and you run it
to suit yourselves.
Going too fast for ya? You buy
the power, you trade it and you sell it.
And you know what? When you die,
your pictures will go up on that wall...
with all the others, and not one of ya...
not a single one of ya...
ever had to scramble
for one lousy vote.
And maybe that's why i don't see
the mayor here or the d.a.
Just the cops, the crooks
and the big rich... and me.
And that's what
i wanna know. Why me?
Because, sir, the person who has
what we wish to buy insists upon it.
So what if i do make
your buyback for ya? What then?
- What's in it for me?
- Well, mr. Hammett, we've finally
come to the essence of things.
You will find us, sir,
most generous.
- Money, huh? To hell with your money!
- Indeed, sir.
I want two things:
First, i want my story back.
It might not be much, but it's mine.
It's what i do, and i want it back!
And second... and this is the most
important thing... i wanna be let alone.
So what's the blackmailer asking?
A million?
- [Hagedorn] one million dollars.
- [Hammett chuckles]
- That's a lot of dough. Where and when?
- In one hour's time, sir.
Your authorization, credentials
and instructions are in this envelope.
Only one other thing:
After i get the million bucks...
what's to prevent me
from taking the next boat out?
Your good judgment and the high value
you place on your own life.
That's what i figured.
Have a nice evening, gents.
One hundred times $ 10,000.
Sign here.
First day?
Here i am, 34 years old, and the only
two people i can trust in the world...
are a librarian
with a smart mouth...
and a would-be bomb thrower!
You got two you can trust. You got
two more than most people, hammett.
What do you got
in the bag there, huh?
- Money, and a lot of it.
- Oh?
- What are we doin'? A buyback?
- That's right.
- Oh. How much?
- A million!
- You're shittin' me.
Oh, pardon me, lady. Pardon me.
- Eli.
Watch the road, eli.
Oh, rich people.
What are the rich going to buy back
for a million bucks?
Their reputations.
- I get to come?
- You stay put.
- I'll wait there.
If i hear a shot or a yell...
- or even a splash.
Or even a splash,
i yell for the operator...
scream for the d.a.
And get the hell outta here.
- I hope you know what you're doing.
- Don't we all?
- Hello, crystal.
- Stop right there, hammett.
Put the valise down
and open it.
I hope i haven't
kept you waiting.
Now move backward five steps
and put your hands behind your neck.
- The negatives.
- The widow callaghan
really did kill her husband.
Dashiell hammett.
Still the "one floor up"
and same detective.
Yes, she killed him.
I made her jealous... very jealous.
It wasn't difficult.
- You and he were sorta
stuck on each other, huh?
- We were lovers.
The blackmail scheme was callaghan's.
He was broke, so he and i cooked it up.
And salt. Nice alibi you got
for yourself at the mission house too.
I also like the way you fix the cops.
You're good, all right.
By the time callaghan
was killed, i'd already acquired
some... influence, let's say.
And the dead chinese girl with
the thick ankles they tried...
to palm off on me at the morgue,
you did that too, didn't you?
I needed a day or so
with no interruptions.
She was a useful pawn, i suppose.
There are millions and millions
more like her in china... and me.
I wouldn't bet on it.
I think you're one of a kind.
- I'll take those negatives now,
if you don't mind.
- Close the valise as you do so.
You are bad,
aren't you, sister?
- Evil clean through.
How does it feel? Really feel?
- Evil?
What is evil?
Show it to me.
My parents sold me
when i was nine for $5,000.
I turned my first trick
with a caucasian at 11.
At 17, i am a millionaire!
Wonder what i'll be when i'm 21.
- Dead.
- [Clicks tongue] you think so?
You are most late, mr. Ryan.
I thought i was right on time.
How are ya, kid?
Hello, ryan.
What are you, her new pimp?
More like a partner.
Right, sweetheart?
I knew you'd gone sour, ryan,
but i didn't think you'd gone
simple. She'll eat you alive.
You're not really gonna trust our little
mademoiselle butterfly here, are you?
Who wouldn't trust a face like that?
We're partners!
- I always trust my partners,
remember? Up to a point.
- [Gun cocking]
Don't drop it. Just toss it
over the side so i can hear the splash.
[Water splashing]
Here's your story, kid.
My part of the deal.
I had to pay a lot
to get it back from fong...
more than it's worth.
I even read it again.
I still don't like it!
It needs a better ending!
How 'bout this?
"The old bird pulls off a grand slam
and leaves town with a million bucks."
[Chuckles] and you thought
my life was over, hammett.
It's just beginning.
You want something real
to write about? Write about this!
[Pay phone dinging]
Operator, this is an emergency.
Get me the district attorney's
office, please.
Thank you.
Not just yet, little lady.
"He needed one hand for the money
and the other for the gun.
He wasn't good enough
to handle both."
I read it too, hammett.
I liked the ending.
- Swell.
- Was he a friend or what?
- Yeah. He was a friend.
- He was good.
He broke in from nowhere,
tracked me down...
figured it all out
and cut himself in.
- He was good.
- He was the best in his heyday.
- Maybe you didn't know him too well.
- Maybe i didn't know him at all.
Take his place, hammett.
Come with me.
You could be my bodyguard
and biographer...
my lover, my lapdog.
Don't be a simp. I'm gonna
give it to you and i'm gonna
give it to ya straight.
You don't really think
they're gonna let you waltz, do ya?
Oh, you might get to berlin
or constantinople...
maybe even hong kong,
wherever you're going.
But one day you'll turn
the wrong corner and... wham!
Curtains! ...no more crystal.
You see what i mean? You're going
up against $ 100, $200, $300 million.
You're going up against
the powerhouse, angel. The big steam.
I can beat them.
Sure. Like hell.
I'll show you
i can beat them.
[Footsteps departing rapidly]
No grand slam, jimmy.
Ya lost it all.
Everything except your nerve.
[Seagull squawking]
[Typewriter keys clicking]
It's okay, eli.
- Messenger boys!
- Let's have the negatives, hammett.
[Chattering, indistinct]
Well, now you and the little lady can
make all the phone calls you want to.
Ryan's lying in the middle
of the dock, shot dead.
She gave 'im the works.
Well, we'll get somebody
to sweep 'im.
I'll take care of him, samuel.
[Woman laughing]
It's not like any one
of your stories, is it?
Never is like a story.