Wednesday, May 30, 2007

SLIFR FORUM: HOW GREAT WAS HOWARD HAWKS?

It’s Howard Hawks' birthday today. He would have been 113. If you haven’t seen most or any of the following movies, do yourself a favor—clear out the TiVo, make room at the top of your Netflix queue and start the incredible journey. (Some of these are not yet on DVD, but if you have Turner Classic Movies, keep your eyes peeled):


The Road to Glory (1926)
Fig Leaves (1926)
The Cradle Snatchers (1927)
Paid to Love (1927)
A Girl in Every Port (1928)
Fazil (1928)
The Air Circus (1928)
Trent's Last Case (1929)
The Dawn Patrol (1930)
The Criminal Code (1931)
Scarface (1932)
The Crowd Roars (1932)
Tiger Shark (1932)
Today We Live (1933)
The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933) (uncredited director;
completed by W.S. Van Dyke)
Viva Villa! (1934) (Co-screenwriter and uncredited director; completed by Jack Conway)
Twentieth Century (1934)
Barbary Coast (1935)
Ceiling Zero (1936)
The Road to Glory (1936)
Come and Get It (1936)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
His Girl Friday (1940)
The Outlaw (1940) (uncredited director; completed by Howard Hughes)
Sergeant York (1941)
Ball of Fire (1941)
Air Force (1943)
Corvette K-225 (1943) (film credited to Richard Rosson;
co-screenwriter, producer and supervising director)
To Have and Have Not (1944)
The Big Sleep (1946)
Red River (1948)
A Song is Born (1948)(remake of Ball of Fire)
I Was a Male War Bride (1949)
The Thing (From Another World) (1951)
film credited to Christian Nyby; co-screenwriter, producer
and supervising director)
The Big Sky (1952)
O. Henry's Full House (1952) (episode: "The Ransom of Red Chief")
Monkey Business (1952)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Land of the Pharaohs (1955)
Rio Bravo (1959)
Hatari! (1962)
Man's Favorite Sport? (1963)
Red Line 7000 (1965)
El Dorado (1967)
Rio Lobo (1970)

The Dawn Patrol, The Criminal Code, Come and Get It, Twentieth Century and, of course, Scarface (now on DVD) are all terrific movies. But just look at that period from 1936 to 1948, starting with Come and Get It and ending with Red River. Not counting the uncredited jobs, has any other great director ever had a 12-year streak like that one? Maybe Ford. Maybe Bunuel. Maybe Altman. Maybe Godard. When a baseball player goes on a streak like that, one of the things said about him is that he’s “unconscious.” But there’s nothing unconscious or automatic about any of the movies Hawks made in this period. And he still had The Big Sky, Monkey Business, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Hatari!, El Dorado and, most importantly, Rio Bravo still in his deck.

The forum question: Is Howard Hawks the greatest director ever?

37 comments:

Adam Ross said...

I know I'm celebrating -- watched Red River this morning, have Ball of Fire ready on the DVR for tonight, and I've watched the new Rio Bravo DVD twice since I picked it up last week. If you're a fan of Rio Bravo, the Richard Schickel/John Carpenter commentary track is a lot of fun, with Carpenter in full-on fanboy mode throughout.

It's interesting to look at Hawks' career after he returned from France in the late 50s, an extended sabbatical from Hollywood. His torried production pace definitely slowed down (8 films between '33 and '36!) and he made three of his four career Westerns.

Cerb Chaos said...

Of those I have seen the following:

Scarface (1932)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
His Girl Friday (1940)
Sergeant York (1941)
To Have and Have Not (1944)
The Big Sleep (1946)
Red River (1948)
The Thing (From Another World)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Rio Bravo (1959)

11 out of 45, a bit less then a forth of his output, I plan on watching the big sky soon, when it comes on TCM. The weird thing is, I’ve watched all of these within the past two years, and he’s had an incalculable effect on how I watch movies.

Hawks isn’t my favorite director of all time, but he’s in the top five for sure. He seems incapable of making a bad movie from what I’ve seen, his feel for the camera and his actors alike were impeccable. Although it’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite, Only Angels Have Wings, which I saw one early morning before going to school, is particularly perfect. Perfect acting from Grant, perfect direction from Hawks and just an aura of greatness surrounding it. Hawks is perhaps responsible, more then any other person, for catapulting Cary Grant into “favorite actor” status. I can never thank him enough, a very happy birthday to him.

shongo22 said...

You make a very, very compelling case for Hawks.

Dead heat in my mind between John Houston and Billy Wilder as 'G.O.A.T.s,' but I'm going back to watch Rio Bravo and His Girl Friday right now.

stennie said...

The forum question: Is Howard Hawks the greatest director ever?

My answer is: damn close. Change that to greatest American director, and he's in the top three, I think (with Wilder and Lubitsch -- both European immigrants who had good careers before hitting Hollywood -- so I guess that makes Hawks the best "home-grown" American director ever).

Favorite Hawks movies: a tie, Ball of Fire and His Girl Friday.

The Shamus said...

Hmm...it's hard for me to mix classic and current directors. Among the classic generation working in America, my top 5:

1. Alfred Hitchcock
2. John Ford
3. Howard Hawks
4. Cecil B. DeMille
5. Orson Welles

Paul C. said...

I love practically every Hawks movie I've ever yet, but the funny thing is that I've never considered him a favorite. Over at my blog I talk about this a little, coming to the semi-conclusion that maybe this has to do with the fact that he was always primarily a Hollywood director, and that while his movies had a distinctive stamp, they were also great collaborations, adaptations, and so forth. Of course, bringing out the best in others and/or staying out of the way of talented people are gifts in themselves, but I rarely get the outright urge to way a Hawks movie the way I do with someone like Bunuel or Hitchcock or Welles. Maybe it's just that his films come in so many flavors that it's harder to acquire a taste for the Hawks brand. Or maybe I'm talking out of my butt. Wouldn't surprise me.

Flower said...

Anybody else feel like Hawks and Altman are kind of kindred spirits?

Peter Nellhaus said...

In reply to Flower, the answer is yes. Both Hawks and Altman liked to work with a variety of genres. I found a quote from Altman where he mentions being influenced by Hawks in his use of dialogue. And of course there is the Leigh Brackett connection that I've written about previously, with the legendary screenwriter being the link between The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Flower, I agree with you and Peter. Back in my college days, one of my film professors actually made the explicit comparisons between Hawks and Altman, and also Ford and Coppola, and the comparisons seemed pretty apt. Peter makes a couple of points I really appreciate—the dialogue, of course, being one: I can imagine Altman watching Only Angels Have Wings or His Girl Friday or The Thing in a state of blissful inspiration. And that Leigh Brackett connection is pretty damn important too.

Also, not only did Hawks work within all genres the way Altman did, but the group dynamic and its effect on the individual, which was always a major concern in Hawks’ movies, was transformed into a personal aesthetic by Altman. Although they obviously would have been very different movies, there is a spirit and approach and an appreciation for how people interact within (and beyond) the boundaries they set for themselves (and that are set for them) that the directors share which makes one see how Hawks could have found his way into M*A*S*H or Thieves Like Us. Altman did indeed have his shot at Marlowe, and although it was nothing like The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye indicated more of a dialogue with Chandler than with Hawks. I like to imagine that Altman could have taken a fair swing at something like His Girl Friday or To Have and Have Not.

Edward Copeland said...

I've seen:
Scarface (1932)
The Crowd Roars (1932)
Viva Villa! (1934) (Co-screenwriter and uncredited director; completed by Jack Conway)
Twentieth Century (1934)
Come and Get It (1936)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
His Girl Friday (1940)
Sergeant York (1941)
Ball of Fire (1941)
To Have and Have Not (1944)
The Big Sleep (1946)
Red River (1948)
I Was a Male War Bride (1949)
The Thing (From Another World) (1951)
film credited to Christian Nyby; co-screenwriter, producer
and supervising director)
Monkey Business (1952)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Rio Bravo (1959)
Hatari! (1962)
Man's Favorite Sport? (1963)
El Dorado (1967)

He's one of the top and, along with Billy Wilder, certainly one of the most versatile.

Jeffrey said...

I've been pining for a good new dvd verison of Rio Bravo & had no idea one has recently come out! Thanks adam for that mention! Now if they'll just come out with a deluxe version of Red River.

As far as being the greatest director, he's certainly one of my favorites. To me, he shares company with Lubitsch, Kurosawa, Lang & maybe a couple of Italians. His Hollywoodness is what I cherish about him.

Hatari is the perfect film to have going on in the background on a lazy weekend day.

jeffmcm said...

Let me rub against the grain for a moment and say that one Hawks film - Sergeant York - I really feel is inferior. It's well made but there's something about the performances and the patriotic tubtext that feels way off for Hawks - I believe Rosenbaum called it the Hawks film that John Ford should have directed.

The Shamus said...

Altman and Hawks? I think it's stretching it a bit for the sake of an academic comparison. The only genre Altman worked in was one called Altman. It didn't matter the setting, the Altman characters all seemed to flow from the same mindset, which explains Altman's insistence that all he did was make one long movie. I believe him!

(A slight digression: My blog has changed addresses. If you're looking for it, just click on my name.)

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Altman was definitely his own genre. But he also worked in deconstructing or otherwise examining the very kinds of genres that Hawks helped to define in classic Hollywood. And I suppose if it was a simple Hawks = Altman just for an academic comparison, I might agree. But looking at the ways those two directors intersected in temperament and art-- and the ways they did not-- was a very valuable process for me to undergo in attempting to understand what was important about what each director was doing. Whereas Coppola and Ford shared Catholicism, a reverence for ceremony, and a sense of family as the primary fabric in the American experience, Hawks and Altman shared an appreciation of the vitality of the communal spirit and a true curiosity about the individuals that comprised that community. I'm not saying that Hawks' style can be equated with Altman's-- one man set up the camera at eye level, the other man's camera was an eye, roving all over the landscape, rarely settling down. I just think they have enough in common, fundamentally speaking, that the comparison is more interesting and fruitful than it might initialy seem. Like Paul, I could be talking out of my butt, but this Hawks talk sounds like me to me!

By the way, everybody, the Shamus, formerly That Little Round-Headed Boy, has set up new digs. Only thing is, now my Scarface link won't work anymore! But check out Bad for the Glass (calling Jim Emerson!) anyway and get reacquainted. Hey, Shamus, you don't have that concert post saved anywhere, do ya? I wanted my wife to see that!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Stennie: Did you ever see A Song is Born, Hawks' remake of Ball of Fire?

It doesn't really work-- Danny Kaye has never been my favorite, and genial though she may be, Virginia Mayo is a bad trade for Barbara Stanwyck (Is there a good trade? Probably not.) But the movie is kinda fun despite itself, largely because Hawks' and his screenwriters rejigger Billy Wilder's script and turn the house full of linguistics professors (aka the Seven Dwarves) into a house full of musicologists-- Professor Magenbruch is played by Benny Goodman, and the list of performing greats that appear, headed by Tommy Dorsey, Louis Armstrong and Lionel Hampton is longer than your arm. (There's a couple of good clips on YouTube featuring the big band in action.) Like I said, no one in their right mind would trade Sugarpuss O'Shea for any of these shenanigans, and I can't really figure out why Hawks bothered, but it's agreeable enough on its own terms.

My own favorite Hawks wavers from minute to minute. Right now it's His Girl Friday. At 12:23 a.m. it's likely to be Only Angels Have Wings. Come 1:01 a.m. it's probably gonna be Rio Bravo. So it goes...

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Jeffmcm: I remember seeing Sergeant York when I was a kid, and have never encountered it since, until just this past weekend. It aired on TCM this past Saturday morning, I believe, and my girls and I laid in bed and watched the first 15 minutes or so. Too many guns for them (Cooper shooting his initials into the trunk of the tree), but they were endlessly fascinated by the Right Reverend Walter Brennan's huge, dark eyebrows! I'll have to check it out soon-- I believe it's included in that keen new WB Gary Cooper DVD set-- and see how it measures up. (However it shakes out, Rosenbaum's comment is still funny.)

Mr. Peel said...

I don’t know if he’s the best ever—how can such a thing ever be determined?--but what other Hollywood director from any era has made so many films that were so purely enjoyable and had such a true sense of craft to them? There’s Wilder and Hitchcock...other possibilities don’t have as wide-ranging a filmography, some may not date as well, some I’ve never fully connected with and some of them burned out quickly. Altman is up there...but how can you really compare Hawks and Altman?

I’ve seen:

The Criminal Code
Scarface
Twentieth Century
Come and Get It
Bringing Up Baby
Only Angels Have Wings
His Girl Friday
Ball of Fire
Air Force
To Have and Have Not
The Big Sleep
Red River
A Song Is Born
I Was a Male War Bride
The Thing (From Another World)
Monkey Business
Gentleman Prefer Blondes
Land of the Pharaohs
Rio Bravo
Hatari!
Man’s Favorite Sport?
Red Line 7000
El Dorado
Rio Lobo

Bogdanovich said it in Targets: “He really knows how to tell a story.”

I’m sure there are a few good ones I’m missing. My favorite would have to be His Girl Friday. My favorite single sequence just might be Barbara Stanwyk singing Drum Boogie (and the Match Boogie followup) in Ball of Fire. For a while Red River was my favorite of the westerns but Rio Bravo just has a way of sneaking up on you in those repeated viewings. And after I’ve watched that I always have to watch El Dorado. Like Tarantino, I’ll sit through Man’s Favorite Sport at the drop of a hat.

Several years ago I would preface my defense of Clint Eastwood’s Blood Work by saying, “I feel like I’m defending Rio Lobo, but…” Then I saw some people comparing their liking Romero’s Land of the Dead to liking Rio Lobo. Has the name Rio Lobo become a kind of shorthand for defending an older director’s work more than you know you should?

cinebeats said...

My own Top 5 favorite Hawk films (of the 10 or 12 that I've seen) are:

1. The Big Sleep (1946)
2. Red River (1948)
3. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
4. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
5. The Thing (From Another World) (1951)

I got to see The Big Sleep on the big screen a few years ago and it became my favorite Hawks film after that. I really love that movie!

He made a lot of great films, but my own vote for "greatest director" would probably go to Bava or Hitchcock. I hate picking favorites though so I'll pass on making an official vote for anyone.

Brian said...

Has anyone here seen any of his silent films? I know that one of the attributes Hawks is most prized for is his handling of dialogue, but it seems strange that none of his earliest films aren't better known despite their lack of sound. A Girl in Every Port, featuring Louise Brooks and directed by Hawks, would be cinephile catnip; why hasn't it been put out on video or sent around on the repertory circuit recently?

Anyone know if he ever experimented with overlapping intertitles? ;)

Moviezzz said...

I saw A GIRL IN EVERY PORT a few months ago. I found a DVD-R copy on Ebay. Fairly watchable. Well worth seeking out.

It is a good film, said to be the first real Hawks film. Two sailors(Victor McLaglen and Robert Armstrong) fighting over Brooks. I wish it would get an official DVD release.

As for Hawks being the greatest director, I find it hard to argue. But, while I like probably a larger percentage of his films than many other directors, I can't say I LOVE as many of his films as say a Capra or Sturges or Wilder.

jeffmcm said...

Mario Bava is someone's favorite director?

A Girl in Every Port is a movie any Hawks fans should see as it originates many of his themes - male bonding, primarily.

I was amused at the Rio Lobo discussion - Land of the Dead isn't as arthritic as Rio Lobo, but it is 'old fashioned' as far as pacing and characterization go, which seems to have thrown a lot of younger viewers.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Overlapping intertitles! Yes! I'm sure they'd look a lot like the subtitles and captions I came up with for Nashville! A colleague of mine had to create verbatim subtitles for His Girl Friday some years back-- she worked on the project for nearly a week and it nearly broke her fragile spirit!

"Has the name Rio Lobo become a kind of shorthand for defending an older director’s work more than you know you should?"

I don't know if it has, Mr. Peel, but maybe it should. Although I think, personally, Rio Lobo isn't as bad as all that. I might substitute Topaz in this situation-- I've never heard anyone defend that creaky mess who sounded like they believed a word they were saying.

Jeff, I'd agree that "arthritic" is a good way to characterize Rio Lobo. On the other hand, I'm all for old-fashioned pacing and characterization (and I'm relatively old too), so I would suggest that the best way to look at Land of the Dead is not as quaint and outdated in form, but instead as the work of a coasting director who's been told one too many times that the social commentary in the three subsequent chapters of his zombie opus far exceeds what he was able to achieve when he was just trying to make a cheap horror movie in Pittsburgh in the late '60s. Self-consciousness can be a good thing, but it's been detrimental, I think, to Romero.

Mario Bava, on the other hand, stayed on his own wavelength and remained, to the end of his career, and I think he remained more interesting to the end than Romero has been. While he's not my favorite director, movies like Black Sunday, A Bay of Blood and Planet of the Vampires give me a big clue as to why he might be for someone else. (I'm sure I'm leaving off many of your faves, eh, Cinebeats?)

Bill said...

Excuse me for not being up on my film history, but how much credit does Hawks really deserve for "The Thing from Another World"? I'm asking because I genuinely don't know. I finally saw it recently, and thought it was fantastic.

Flower said...

I've always wondered that myself about The Thing. Is this like Jane Eyre or Poltergeist, where Welles and Spielberg, respectively, were rumored to be the shadow directors? Or is there hard proof that Hawks was actually behind the camera?

I really like Land of the Dead. I don't think I agree that it represents Romero coasting, but I do think it shows him trying to have it both ways - couching his social and political commentary (which I think is as sharp, engaged, and timely as ever) within a traditional, even conservative, action-movie structure. It makes it a less provocative film, which is maybe what some of you are getting at, but it didn't feel to me like the work of a guy who's over the hill or who has been cowed into submission. Just a guy who's saying something in a new way, in hopes of having the financial success necessary to continue saying anything at all.

I've really enjoyed reading and participating in this thread, btw.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Bruce Eder of the All-Movie Guide has the skinny about Hawks and The Thing here. Nyby was Hawks’ editor for years, and the accepted legend, apparently confirmed in an interview by Hawks himself, is that he stepped back and gave Nyby credit for the movie so Nyby could get his Directors' Guild membership. Eder also makes a good point that none of Nyby’s subsequent films even approached the stylistic and narrative sharpness and leanness of The Thing.

Bill said...

Thanks for the info, Dennis. Also, can I just say that I think the political commentary in Romero's films has been wildly overstated? Romero himself has done a lot of the overstating, of course. But look at "Dawn of the Dead", easily his best movie, I think. What commentary there is -- and there really ain't much -- is pretty ham-handed, and its importance to the movie has been inflated pretty much since its release.

There are two pretty famous lines from "Dawn of the Dead". One of them I don't remember verbatim, but it's the one about how malls were important to the zombies in their first lives. The other line, of course, is "When there is no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth." Now, honestly, which of those two lines does a better job of summing up why that movie is still so powerful?

Bill said...

Thanks for the info, Dennis.

And can I just say that the importance of Romero's political statements have been wildly overstated over the years, not least by Romero himself?

Just taking "Dawn of the Dead" as an example, what political commentary is there (and there ain't much) is pretty ham-handed, and almost seems to be there as a little joke more than anything else. It sometimes feels that he, and people who praise the movie, feel the need to justify their love of a zombie movie (I love it, too, by the way, because it's a great zombie movie).

There are two pretty famous lines from "Dawn of the Dead". One, which I don't remember verbatim, is the one about shopping malls being important places to the zombies in their previous lives. The other one, of course, is "When there is no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth." Now, honestly, which of those two lines does a better job of summing up why that movie is still so powerful today?

bill said...

Sorry for the double post...

Mr. Peel said...

Many years after seeing Topaz just about all I remember about it are the Roscoe Lee Browne sequence, the overhead shot of Karin Dor and the sudden feeling that Michel Piccoli may have been in every movie made in the 60s. On the other hand, I do watch Rio Lobo every now and then--maybe in the hope that it'll get better, but is is kind of enjoyable to have on.

I like Land of the Dead too, which does have considerably more juice. A friend I saw it with (who had never seen any Romero film before) said favorably that it reminded him of an 80s movie, but that's probably not what Universal wanted from it.

Cerb Chaos said...

May I pop in for the Land of the Dead discussion? I loved it personally, not up to snuff with Night and Dawn, but what is really? I agree that the politics have been overstated in criticism, politics is usually overstated in criticism.

Land of the Dead is interesting to how it continues the zombie evolution that was started in Day, it develops the zombies from a menace in the first trilogy, a nuisance in the beginning of Land into almost a separate branch of humanity. There is of course the political element, represented by Dennis Hopper in what I consider one of his best roles, and it is more prevalent then in the original trilogy; but all the politicking in the world wouldn’t take away that this movie is pretty dang fun.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Well, I've said this before on this blog, but now's as good a time as any to restate, I guess, that I'm not much of a fan of the sequels to Romero's Night of the Living Dead. I think the original 1968 movie is about as rich and terrifying as it could be, and it all operates on a level much closer to Romero's (and our) subconscious than the other movies do, which is what I think allows it to tap into such a rich vein of fear and social allegory.

I liked Day of the Dead the only time I ever saw it, mainly because I responded to Romero pushing at the limits of the box he'd gotten imself into regarding the expectations for the genre, and his own movies in particular. But I have no idea what I'd think now, after the passage of 20 or so years.

However, I've never been much of a fan of Dawn of the Dead. I think it makes its fairly obvious points far too slowly and deliberately, and it's as bloated and lumbering a movie as the zombies crawling all through it. If ever there were an ideal viewer for a big zombie thriller/social satire, you'd think it would be me. But there's always been a huge disconnect between my moviegoing brain and the rapturous critical praise that has been heaped on Dawn of the Dead since its release. I much prefer Zach Snyder's ruthless, hair-raising take on the subject.

And I feel pretty much the same about Land. I think it's perhaps the most potentially fascinating of the sequels, in terms of the idea of evolving the zombies into some sort of new Third World population. But Romero's style, described here by Mr. Peel as a deliberate throwback to an 80s sensibility, just feels tired to me, and I think finally it becomes an action movie because it has nowhere else to go-- Romero's ideas have essentially run out of gas. Frankly, Shaun of the Dead incorporated and evolved some of the same ideas found in Romero into its framework, especially the benign enslavement of this undead reflection of the roteness of everyday British life, to much better, richer, funnier ends.

This is a great direction for this thread to have gone, however, because it directly links to the next post. But by all means, let's keep this one going!

Flower said...

When I think of Romero was a socially/politically aware director, I'm honestly thinking more of Night of the Living Dead and Martin than Dawn of the Dead. Dennis, you really captured the essence of NofLD beautifully, so I'll just deal with Martin - which deals so cleverly with the collision of cultures, modernity vs. tradition, science vs. magic, generational division, family dysfunction and disintegration. It's a disturbing, funny, sharp as a tack movie - and maybe those two earlier films tend to make me give a movie like Land of the Dead more credit than it deserves.

Anyway, while I like Land of the Dead, I definitely think more stylistically interesting, thematically complex movies have been made in the horror genre this decade - but I guess that's best left for the new thread...

bill said...

For the record, I did enjoy "Land of the Dead". I thought it was a solid zombie movie.

Also, for the record, I think I have to go ahead and admit that my favorite zombie movie of all time is "Shaun of the Dead". I couldn't have been more pleased with that one.

Anonymous said...

I think my blood ran cold when I saw Altman mentioned in the same breath as Howard Hawks. Altman was a terrible director in my opinion and no way would he make my list of great directors. Sorry Dennis and all you Altman groupies but that's just the way I feel about him. But yes, Hawks is clearly one of the great directors. His ease with so many different genres and his ability to make those films not just good but amongst the best of their genre is what seals the deal for me. He was a gifted director of actors as well. I can think of few contemporary directors - Eastwood is really the only name that springs to mind - who can match his ease and ability to transcend genre.

CINEBEATS said...

Just wanted to chime in one last time since Jeff's comment...

Mario Bava is someone's favorite director?

was obviously directed at me.

As Dennis mentioned, I think Bava has an amazing career as a director, but I also think he was a great writer and possibly the greatest cinematographer that ever picked up a camera. He also did groundbreaking work in special effects.

Besides his many brilliant horror films, he also made great sci-fi, adventure and western movies. He even created one of my favorite comedies, Four Times That Night.

His influence on cinema is really immeasurable and his wide range of talent is really astonishing. When you add that all together I think it's pretty easy to understand why he might be someone's favorite director.

Mr. Peel said...

Four Times That Night is one of someone's favorite comedies?

Wow. I mean, I kinda like it, but as laughs go it doesn't compete with the ending of Twitch of the Death Nerve.

Can I blow my bugle now? said...

I was among the unfortunate few to have not seen ROAD TO GLORY (1936) until recently.

It's good. Very very very good. Put it on the triple bill with Kubey's PATHS OF GLORY and Losey's KING AND COUNTRY.

Along with ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS, one of his best.

My other major faves are TWENTIETH CENTURY, MONKEY BUSINESS and HATARI.

The noirs and Westerns? Not so much.

One thing about Hawks: if the movies stink, it's not because he didn't have access to top actors.