Ron Rosenbaum

The Single Worst Failure of Hollywood is...’s failure to make a movie from what may be one of the THE great American novels Dashiell Hammett’s 1929 %%AMAZON=0375411259 Red Harvest%%. Those who may be fans of the book and film of The Maltese Falcon, his second best book, will be unprepared for the bewildering, anarchic, abolutely inimitable greatness of Red Harvest.

It anticpates the lonely existential vision of Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy at their best, it foreshadows the great Samurai films, the bleakest Italian Westerns, and the Tarentino cover versions of them all. It’s about the parodoxes of wild justice and the fluidity of the meaning of “operative” (it features a “hero” inthe guise of a private eye, an “operative”) a word whose ambiguity has, of course become central to the questions at the heart of Plame case, and indeed much of secret intelligence history, if you want a contemproary peg.

I know Bernardo Berlolucci long tried and failed to make this book into a film probably because it can be seen as an allegory of the way fascism arises from the incapacities of unfettered captitalism to offer justice for any but the rich and powerful. Or is that it? It lends itself to a number of poltical interpretations the more the better for a great film.

But where is the great film maker who can bring it to the screen. I’m waiting. One of the Scott brothers, maybe? Somebody. People…