What’s the rumpus?

“What’s the rumpus?” This question shows up early in Red Harvest. I recognized it from Miller’s Crossing where it was asked by several chartacters. Miller’s Crossing bears some plot similarities to Red Harvest. You’ve got a guy playing everyone against everyone else, stirring up a hornet’s nest just to watch it burn (to mix a metaphor or two). It’s actually closer to The Glass Key, a later novel of Hammett’s, and another movie worth watching. Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, Leone’s Fistful of Dollars, Walter Hill’s Last Man Standing, are all Hammett-influenced. Clint Eastwood’s High Plains Drifter has a Hammett thing going on as well, with it’s unidentified protagonist.

The Coen brothers, who gave us Miller’s Crossing, also hit up Hammett for the title of their first film, Blood Simple. It comes from a line in Red Harvest towards the end, when our hero realizes Poisonville is making him kill-crazy.

There is some gunplay in Miller’s Crossing, so here’s a few gifs. The old man’s (Albert Finney) an artist with a Thompson, as they say. 

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