Don Herron Speaks, Shows Films on Hammett’s Tenderloin Noir

by on July 11, 2017

Don Herron, whose tours of Dashiell Hammett’s San Francisco have been a tourist must do since 1977, comes to the Tenderloin Museum on July 13 for a truly special event. Herron will both discuss legendary Tenderloin author Dashiell Hammett and show a screening of pre-code film adaptations of two of his famous novels, The Maltese Falcon (1931) and The Thin Man (1934). Herron will show selections from the former, while the latter film will be screened in its entirety.

As someone who studied Hammett’s key Tenderloin years for my book on the neighborhood—he wrote his first noir stories in the 1920’s while living at 620 Eddy Street—I found it fascinating that what Hammett observed in the Tenderloin became the foundation for the noir genre. Hammett’s greatest literary productivity occurred while he lived in the Tenderloin.

Nobody knows Hammett better than Don Herron. The opportunity to hear him discuss Hammett’s relationship with the Tenderloin and then see some of the great films depicting his work should not be missed.

The Maltese Falcon is the most recognizable novel written by Hammett while he was living in the Tenderloin between 1920-1929. The original film adaptation of The Maltese Falcon (1931) was produced pre-code. Later releases of the film were notably revised catering to a sanitized version following the production code of the 1940s. For decades thereafter, unedited versions of the film were not available in the United States.

The Thin Man was Dashiell Hammett’s final novel (1934). Adapted for film the same year and nominated for an Academy Award, The Thin Man was later translated into a popular television series (1950).

Don Herron’s Dashiell Hammett Tour Book is currently in its fourth edition. He also wrote the guidebook, The Literary World of San Francisco, published by City Lights. Herron’s Dashiell Hammett’s tour is the longest lived literary tour covering the Tenderloin.

The reception for the event begins at 6pm and the program at 6:30pm. The $10 admission includes the lecture and screening, as well as entrance to the museum’s exhibitions.

This event will sell out so advance tickets are strongly encouraged. You can get tickets here.

Kudos to Tenderloin Museum Director Katie Conry for getting Don Herron, Dashiell Hammett, and key films of Hammett all in one event. It could only occur in the neighborhood that made it happen, San Francisco’s Tenderloin.

Randy Shaw is the Editor of Beyond Chron. He is the author of The Tenderloin: Sex, Crime and Resistance in the Heart of San Francisco


Randy Shaw

Randy Shaw is the Editor of Beyond Chron and the Director of San Francisco’s Tenderloin Housing Clinic, which publishes Beyond Chron. Shaw is the author of four books on activism, including The Activist's Handbook: Winning Social Change in the 21st Century, and Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century. His new book is The Tenderloin: Sex, Crime and Resistance in the Heart of San Francisco

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