Important similarities between Dashiell Hammett’s novel the Glass Key and Joel Coen’s film Miller’s Crossing

Dashiell Hammett’s writing style is generally adapted as the most acceptable to for rendering in cinemas because it is well versed with describing the circumstances as well as the setting. It is displayed in such a manner that favors an objective observer’s point of view (Hammett 10). Miller’s Crossing and The Glass Key represent two different points of view portrayed in Hammett’s literature. The Glass Key represents direct transformation of Hammett’s novel bearing a similar name whereas the Miller’s crossing elements are based on Red Harvest. These elements are sourced from Red Harvest are then shown in a prose that resembles The Glass Key by Hammett never the less, it readily digresses into a material that is natural. Miller’s Crossing succeeds to manifest the important themes portrayed by Hammett’s novel.

Hammett’s novel The Glass Key is set in fabricated and a city that is not known where as Miller’s Crossing gives a true representation of a town full of corruption in Hammett’s literature. In Coen’s movie, the story revolves around the attempts by Tom to bring incite to gangsters which would later on agree on entrenching his boss political power. Tom manages to accomplish his mission via several conflicting deals which contradicts one another.

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His contrivances finally shutter the fabric of his boss’s opposing regime. This model of employing evil against evil encompassed in common suspicion as one of the ways of bringing destruction is an element adapted from Red Harvest where Continental Op makes use of the well developed distrust found in Personville to do away with the wild corruption. According to Coen, this act of bringing confusion intentionally is a very important method which was used to assemble Miller’s Crossing. Tom, in Miller’s Crossing brings the conflicting ideas in the town to an end, his delicate wits seem to gnash under the enormous power provoked by the people. The Glass Key on the other hand also revolves around political chicanery, murder as well as plans which works to remove balance in an environment vulnerable to mistrust and doubt. Just as seen in Miller’s Crossing, the adaptation fails to come out clearly, instead, other elements evolve in the novel which affect the whole material. Dashiell Hammett explains in his literature about the protagonists who represents individuals with high moral standards as well as strict systems to rules and represented weaknesses on very rare occasions (Hammett 50). Hammett indicates in The Glass Key of his tough protagonists who were cynical devoted to work, courageous, with good moral and not pervious to emotions.

For instance, such elements have been brought out clearly by Ladd who expresses his physical strength as being very strong and unbeatable. He restricts his movement in order to appear controlled and calm. He however, gives a blow to one person just like Tom his counterpart in Miller’s Crossing he gives blows to himself repeatedly, even though this appears to be a tactic as opposed to an act of bravery. The influence in Hammett’s hero into Hollywood compromise is a key feature in Miller’s Crossing.

Coen’s movie has been influenced greatly by portraying Gabriel in a similar manner to that of Hammett’s protagonists. Gabriel has been clearly brought out as a symbol of psychological assurance and personal confident to be provided in its reality before the boss. In Miller’s Crossing, Tom is one person who takes strides after somebody, whispering in his ear thus he is the key person behind the operations of his boss, Leo alongside being the central person in this film. Hearts and emotions fight for attention in Miller’s Crossing. Tom thinks about the significance of purpose in the decisions he makes, by using an analytical system to qualify all the actions he takes.

In most sections Tom is staged singly, constantly smoking, the consternation observed on his face depicts an individual who is in deep thoughts. Miller’s Crossing key enigma is the Agenda of Tom which is aimed at wooing and Winning Verna. Miller’s Crossing is all about the revelation of Leo to Tom of his purpose to marry Marcia Gay Harden. These events are what lead to untenable strong bond between Tom and Leo. With Paul and Ed a strong bond is created with respect to The Glass Key (Hammett 75).

This is similar to that of Tom and Leo; the two bonds possess that which is needed by the other. In spite of Paul being a corrupt leader, he has been represented as a powerful leader full of courage and good morals. Paul in reality is not bright and this gap is filled by a very intellectual Ed. This is what led to Ed s nomination as the big brain. Ed is the person behind his boss, his part is very vital in Paul’s ability to remain in office as a politician. Paul, Ed’s boss in spite of his activities has the audacity to equate his intellect to that of Ed. Their unity is based on the fact that with unity they possess a whole being, each person fulfilling that which is needed by the other party Paul’s masculinity is very important in his character especially his dresses which are flamboyant. For instance, he shadows cartoons and dispatches insurgents via glass windows.

Similar to Leo who has an ability to give others blows to any anyone, his power is can be likened to that of an animal. Just like Verna, Janet, who is the sister to Henry Taylor is what constitutes to the strong bond between Ed and Paul. As the novel comes to the end, Taylor’s sister becomes a trophy for contention between Paul and Ed. Never the less, their bond remains strong in spite of the battle between them. Paul eventually joins Ed and Janet as they get married because he understood the fact that the two were in real love. In spite of this their bond remains strong. In conclusion, both The Glass Key and Miller’s Crossing are various intertwining and conflicting sources pulling the narratives in various dimensions, interpreting, commenting as well as exploring the original sources from which they are adapted.

A benefit of doubt to Coen’s great achievements which in spite of them drifting from inspiration, the movie however portrays a rather successful and complete analysis of Dashiell and his literature.

Works Cited

Hammett, Dashiell. The Glass Key. New York: The Libraly Of America, 1999.


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