Magazine article American Cinematographer

Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood

Article excerpt

HowardHawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood by Toad McCarthy Grove, 756 pps., cloth, $35

Variety's Todd McCarthy is one of the movie industry's truly knowledgable and down-to-earth historians, as well as the author of two fine documentary films: Visions of Light The Artof Cinematography and Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer. Needless to say, his new biography of director Howard Hawks is worth its considerable weight in good information. Superbly researched and meticulously detailed, it contains many interviews with people who were there when things happened, and is surprisingly evenhanded, considering the multifaceted person it profiles.

One big chore faced by a Hawks biographer is that he must try to separate the legends from the facts. Like many an iconoclastic celebrity, Hawks tended to embellish his own image, mixing in a lot of fiction when relating his adventures. It's difficult to tell how well McCarthy was able to traverse this minefield, but the general impression is that he did a good job of ferreting out the truth. Hawks emerges as a rich, spoiled brat who grew up to be an iron-willed and uncompromising moviemaker. …

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