Hawks on Hawks

Hawks on Hawks

Hawks on Hawks

Hawks on Hawks

Excerpt

The distinctive signature of Howard Hawks appeared on several dozen of the most popular movies ever made in Hollywood. The most versatile of all great American directors, he worked with equal ease in screwball comedies, westerns, gangster movies, musicals, private-eye melodramas, and adventure films. He made some of the best movies of such male stars as John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, and Gary Cooper, and his portrayals of tough, sexy, sophisticated women such as Lauren Bacall, Carole Lombard, Rosalind Russell, and Angie Dickinson were far ahead of their time. He collaborated with a remarkable array of first-rate writers, including Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner. As a flyer, hunter, fisherman, automobile racer, horseman, and all-around bon vivant, he lived a colorful life that could have been taken straight from one of his own movies. Hawks’s work has grown in stature with the years, and his movies seem as fresh and lively today as when they were made. Contemporary audiences delight in revivals of such Hawks classics as Scarface, Twentieth Century, Bringing Up Baby, Only Angels Have Wings, His Girl Friday, To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, Red River, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Rio Bravo. When he was honored in 1975 with an Oscar for his six decades in films, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences cited him as “a giant of the American cinema whose pictures, taken as a whole, represent one of the most consistent, vivid, and varied bodies of work in world cinema.”

Until his late years, however, Hawks was never given much serious attention. He was always known in Hollywood as a reliable directorproducer with deft technical skills, a keen story-telling sense, an eye for new talent, and an unerring instinct for the box office. But he never courted prestige by making self-consciously “important” pictures. He contented himself with making the kind of straightforward, enjoyable, unpretentious stories that he liked and that the audience liked. Hawks was both bemused and gratified at the surge of attention paid him in the 1960s and 1970s, when the new generation of young film buffs and film-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.