Dashiell Hammett’s 1929 novel “Red Harvest”, about a detective playing two mobs against each other, was on Time Magazine’s 100 Best Novels list for 75 years. Hammett was objectively brilliant. Many films have been based on the premise, if not quite the actual story, some also drawing influence from his other novel “The Glass Key”.

One of the first was Akira Kurosawa’s “Yojimbo”, which also drew on American westerns – he loved westerns, like me. The film is hugely influential itself and the same premise was used in “A Fistful of Dollars”, “Last Man Standing” and the Coen Brother’s “Miller’s Crossing” – Hammett’s a huge influence on the Coens, the book even talks about going “Blood Simple”.

Kurosawa does fantastic work, it’s an amazing look at a culture which, I have to admit, is completely alien to me. And if you’ve never seen star Toshiro Mifune before you’ve been missing out.

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