Props to the Cohen Brothers!
As an avid reader and aspiring writer, I feel sacrilegious saying this, but I enjoyed Miller’s Crossing so much better than Red Harvest. To me, the Cohen brothers took the good parts of Hammett’s novel, took out the confusing and creepy parts (icepick??), made it funnier, wrapped it all up into a movie and called it Miller’s Crossing.
There were MANY similarities between the novel Red Harvest and the movie Miller’s Crossing. For starters, many characters were very similar to their respective character manifestation. For example, the Continental Op (RH) and Tommy (MC) are both constantly playing everyone off each other. Similarly, Dinah Brand (RH) and Vera (MC) were both “the ultimate femme fetale.” Although Vera didn’t die, which I was very pleased about. Also in Miller’s Crossing you get much more information about Tommy and Vera’s relationship, while in Red Harvest not much really happens between the Continental Op and Dinah (besides him finding her in his bed stabbed with an icepick, of course).
Other similarities include the HUGE amount of violence, and the aspect of prohibition. Also, the topic of ethics is brought up a lot in both Red Harvest and Miller’s Crossing. The Continental Op and Tommy both follow their own code of ethics and do what may not be seen as “right” to most people, but do whatever it takes to reach their goal. Leo and Casper (MC), on the other hand (Casper especially), are from a different era, and although they are gangsters, they still expect everyone around them to follow a certain code of “ethics.”
“How do you ‘read’ film like you read literature?”
Something I found very interesting in our class discussion was the motif of the hat. Tommy is obsessed with his hat. In class we talked about the idea of losing your hat, of losing your head, of losing your cool if you lose your hat. Then Jess said that yeah that’s great, but what about mad hatters? So maybe Tommy just did all of this stuff because he had mercury poisoning due to never taking his hat off. Or, maybe people in our generation act so dumb because we DON’T wear hats… just something to ponder.
This doesn’t really have anything to do with anything, but it’s something Professor Groom said in class and it really struck me so I wrote it down. And I’m going to write it down here. “The truth is not important- it’s about a convincing argument within a context.”