Howard Hawks

"He worked in every major genre, and produced classics in each of them. The French auteurist critics put him in the highest pantheon, alongside Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles. Yet Hawks was the least pretentious of great filmmakers. His style is transparent and unobtrusive; he didn't want the aesthetics to distract from the characters." - Tom Charity (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)

Howard Hawks

Director / Producer/ Screenwriter
(1896-1977) Born May 30, Goshen, Indiana, USA
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Country: USA
Key Genres: Comedy, Screwball Comedy, Romantic Comedy, Drama, Romance, War, Western, Adventure, Buddy Film, Romantic Adventure, Traditional Western. War Drama
Key Collaborators: Russell Harlan (Cinematographer), John Wayne (Leading Actor), Cary Grant (Leading Actor), Leigh Brackett (Screenwriter), Dimitri Tiomkin (Composer), Walter Brennan (Leading Actor), William Faulkner (Screenwriter), Jules Furthman (Screenwriter), Charles Lederer (Screenwriter), Christian Nyby (Editor), Roscoe Karns (Leading Character Actor), Gary Cooper (Leading Actor)

"Hawks’s predilection for understated, everyday heroism, often in the context of the all-male group; his straightforward, direct visual style; and his flair for bringing out unexpected traits in stars like John Wayne, Cary Grant, and Humphrey Bogart were seen as marking Hawks out as special. In the early 1960s Hawks was taken up by auteurist critics in the United States like Andrew Sarris and in the United Kingdom by Movie magazine and Robin Wood, who took Hawks as a supreme example of the understated artistry possible within the Hollywood system." - Jim Hillier (Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film, 2006)
"Hawks has stamped his distinctively bitter view of life on adventure, gangster and private-eye melodramas, Westerns, musicals, and screwball comedies, the kind of thing Americans do best and appreciate least. Now that his work has been thoroughly revived and revaluated throughout the English-speaking world, there is little point in belaboring the point for the few remaining stragglers who maintain that his art is not really Art with a serving of espresso in the lobby. That one can discern the same directorial signature over a wide variety of genres is proof of artistry. That one can still enjoy the genres for their own sake is proof of the artist's professional urge to entertain." - Andrew Sarris (The American Cinema, 1968)
"Far from the the meek purveyor of Hollywood forms, he always chose to turn them upside down, To Have and Have Not and The Big Sleep, ostensibly an adventure and a thriller, are really love stories. Rio Bravo, apparently a Western - everyone wears a cowboy hat - is a comedy conversation piece. The ostensible comedies are shot through with exposed emotions, with the subtlest views of the sex war, and with a wry acknowledgment of the incompatibility of men and women." - David Thomson, (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"Hawks' visual style was classical, restrained, unpretentious - camera at eye-height, unobtrusive editing, a sparing use of close-ups, camera-movements and emphatic angles - so that the focus was firmly on the often dazzling interplay of words and gestures between characters defined by their actions." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
"Men together and men at work are the subjects of most Hawks films. His "eye-level" method of direction, whereby action is the key, has resulted in the creation of many classics in most genres." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"I don't think plot as a plot means much today. I'd say that everybody has seen every plot twenty times. What they haven't seen is characters and their relation to one another. I don't worry much about plot anymore." - Howard Hawks (Directing the Film, 1976)
"I'm a storyteller - that's the chief function of a director. And they're moving pictures, let's make 'em move!" - Howard Hawks
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Scarface (1932) , Ceiling Zero (1935), Bringing Up Baby (1938) , Only Angels Have Wings (1939) , His Girl Friday (1940) , The Big Sleep (1946) ✖︎, Red River (1948) , The Thing from Another World (1951) [direction credited to Christian Nyby], Rio Bravo (1959)
Recommended
Ball of Fire (1941), To Have and Have Not (1944) , I Was a Male War Bride (1949), Monkey Business (1952), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) , Man's Favorite Sport? (1964), El Dorado (1966)
Worth a Look
A Girl in Every Port (1928), The Dawn Patrol (1930), Twentieth Century (1934), Sergeant York (1941), Air Force (1943), The Big Sky (1952), O. Henry's Full House (1952) [also directed by Jean Negulesco, Henry Koster, Henry Hathaway & Henry King], Land of the Pharaohs (1955), Hatari! (1962) , Red Line 7000 (1965), Rio Lobo (1970)
Approach with Caution
Today We Live (1933), Come and Get It (1936) [co-directed by William Wyler], The Road to Glory (1936)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films ✖︎ 1,000 Noir Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Scarface
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