I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for visual uniformity in a series. On my shelf if the books have matching spines it makes me a very happy man. The covers though are just as important. In the early 1990’s the company publishing company Vintage Crime/Black Lizard rereleased three classic Dashiell Hammett novels, The Thin Man, The Maltese Falcon and Red Harvest with simplistically pulpy and elegant covers.
Debbie Glasserman is credited with the book design in these editions, but she’s not responsible for the actual art as much as she is the design aesthetic. The top portion of the Thin Man cover can be credited to early 1900’s artist J.C. Leyendecker for a Fatima cigarette campaign. Which might be the single classiest cigarette ad that I’ve ever seen.
If you have any information on the the rest of these covers drop me a line and let me know.
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The Maltese Falcon is generally considered to be the first true film noir with a widespread release and as far as I’m concerned it’s the best.
It doesn’t carry all the hallmarks of the genre but it set a lot of the guidelines of what was to come. Seeing it for the first time as a teenager it helped me connect a lot of dots and to this day holds a special place in my heart. It was the first time I was introduced to Humphrey Bogart, who is still my favorite golden age Hollywood actor. After seeing countless parodies growing up of the private detective visited by a deadly dame that was in distress it was great to finally see one of the movies where it originated from.