Hammett: The Fat Man

I took a little break from reading Haefele’s upcoming book on Derleth, Lovecraft, and the Cthulhu Mythos to tie in with Bill Arney and shoot a couple of segments of Cheese Theatre for the upcoming third season.

Which meant I finally had to track down and watch the 1951 film The Fat Man starring J. Scott Smart, spun off the radio show “created by Dashiell Hammett.” Like Roadhouse Nights, this is another Hammett-related movie I had never bothered with until now — if you don’t want to wait for the Cheese Theatre production with our commentary, it’s easy to find on YouTube, archives.org, what have you.

As I say in my comments, this is a movie where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. The overall film just doesn’t kick in, but it’s worth watching for various reasons. An early role for Rock Hudson. Directed by William Castle, later famous for The Tingler, House on Haunted Hill, etc. First film appearance by Emmett Kelly, the famous clown, with a whole circus sub-plot to it. Jayne Meadows. Parley Baer in an uncredited cameo. The Fat Man dancing. . . .

As I was watching it play out, I suppose my fave moment occurred early on, when files in a dentist’s office in LA are being riffled through in close-up. Suddenly, the name “R. CHANDLER” appears on a folder.

Pretty funny.

Of course, I completely forgot to mention that little hard-boiled nod during my comments, but it might have gotten cut in editing, anyway.

Also neglected to mention that The Fat Man stays in the Beverly Wilshire, one of Hammett’s usual haunts.

Yeah, worth watching just for the pieces.

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