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 Post subject: Howard Hawks
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:32 pm 
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HOWARD HAWKS
1896 - 1977, American

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"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

"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

"I'm a storyteller - that's the chief function of a director. And they're moving pictures, let's make 'em move!"
-Howard Hawks



1926 The Road to Glory
1926 Fig Leaves
1927 The Cradle Snatchers
1927 Paid to Love
1928 A Girl in Every Port
1928 Fazil
1928 The Air Circus
1929 Trent's Last Case
1930 The Dawn Patrol
1931 The Criminal Code (uncredited)
1932 Scarface
1932 The Crowd Roars
1932 Tiger Shark
1932 La foule hurle
1933 Today We Live
1933 The Prizefighter and the Lady (uncredited)
1934 Viva Villa! (uncredited)
1934 Twentieth Century
1935 Barbary Coast
1936 Ceiling Zero
1936 The Road to Glory
1936 Come and Get It
1938 Bringing Up Baby
1939 Only Angels Have Wings
1940 His Girl Friday
1941 Sergeant York
1941 Ball of Fire
1943 Air Force
1943 The Outlaw (uncredited)
1943 Corvette K-225 (uncredited)
1944 To Have and Have Not
1946 The Big Sleep
1948 Red River
1948 A Song Is Born
1949 I Was a Male War Bride
1951 The Thing from Another World (uncredited)
1952 The Big Sky
1952 Monkey Business
1953 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
1955 Land of the Pharaohs
1959 Rio Bravo
1962 Hatari!
1964 Man's Favorite Sport?
1965 Red Line 7000
1966 El Dorado
1970 Rio Lobo

Recommended first watch: Rio Bravo


Man, it seems like he either made some nice but disposable films or straight-up masterpieces. Of the ones I've seen, I've enjoyed all but I haven't seen anything before Scarface or between it and Bringing Up Baby. I also basically picked a first watch at random from his best films because they're all so accessible and mainstream while still being artistic.


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 Post subject: Re: Howard Hawks
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:14 pm 
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Rio Bravo and His Girl Friday are up there with my all time favs now. I can watch those movies on a never ending loop. Rio Bravo should be a good first watch, but really most of his shit you can't go wrong really. The finest American director of all.


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 Post subject: Re: Howard Hawks
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:08 pm 
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I really like The Big Sleep, and Rio Bravo was good, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is fun. I thought Scarface was awful though, really hasn't aged well.


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 Post subject: Re: Howard Hawks
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:52 am 
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Oh c'mon I know it's trendy to hate the remake but don't diss the original.

I enjoy those golden age gangster movies, as dated as they may be. Then again everything made in the 30s/40s/50s is dated by default.


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 Post subject: Re: Howard Hawks
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 1:42 pm 
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PBR Streetgang wrote:
Hey Jake can you elaborate a little on Howard Hawks studying TV for Rio Bravo? I did not know any of this but I wanna know all there is to know about Hawks so please enlighten me.
Here or in the directors thread, whatevs




After making the big failure of Land of the Pharaohs, Hawks went on a hiatus in Europe and came back to the states. When he came back he was intrigued on how popular TV was (he hadn’t seen any TV before) and noticed that people would come back to it because of the people in them and not necessarily the plot of each episode. That’s where I feel the whole hangout aspect of Rio Bravo is most firmly rooted. So he used the star personas he worked with and focused on them for the majority of the film, much more than any normal director would do. There really isn’t a lead up to a big event at the end and the event that is there (the dynamite bit) is entirely focused on the stars. Like tv shows, the set even is unusually stripped down to its barest essentials, the jail, the hotel, a barn. Any props you do see are there for practical reasons rather than as a décor to make things look as real life as possible. There is hay on the ground in the barn not for verisimilitude, but for the purpose to throw hay in the eyes of the antagonists. The town is also not loaded with extras and Hawks stays away from the traditional “pretty” western shots of big skies and ranges. In a way it’s almost anti-Ford in how he conducts it, straying away from copying surface reality to focus on what he does best, displaying the most enjoyable group of characters/people that we’ve all come to know through their star personas. People love John Wayne, people love Dean Martin, people love Walter Brennan. Let’s make a movie where they just hang the fuck out and focus on that.


Hawks did mention that the film can actually be dissected and seen as 3 different television stories separated into 3 different parts, each would make good tv shows themselves. Dude trying to get over his alcoholism, John Wayne’s shaky confidence with a woman, and the whole defending the town thing which aids the forward moving component, tho drawn just enough to move the movie forward without deterring the magic of the chemistry of the group. Another thing that Hawks was good at doing was to find his originality through tradition even stock types. Stumpy and Carlos are very comical, reminding you of the goofy sidekick type in tv shows, but they are treated and presented in very human ways. They are there to help Chance and Dude when they are in need and the comraderie and personality clashing of the group is a pure joy to watch again and again.


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 Post subject: Re: Howard Hawks
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 7:33 am 
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How often have you seen Rio Bravo and how are the rewatches in comparison with first viewing? I love this movie the most of all the Hawks films I've seen (which I'm ashamed to say is limited to Scarface, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, The Outlaw, The Big Sleep, Red River, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Thing From Another World and Rio Bravo) and but I have not yet given it a rewatch because I'm scared I might not like it as much as I did the first time. That was probably a stupid thing to think.

What do you think of John Carpenter's tribute to it in his Assault on Precinct 13?

Rio Bravo - 9.5/10
Red River - 9/10
His Girl Friday - 9/10
The Big Sleep - 8.5/10
Scarface - 8/10
Bringing Up Baby - 8/10
The Thing From Another World - 7/10
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - 5.5/10
The Outlaw - 4/10


come to think of it, that's not too bad actually. Will try and watch A Girl In Every Port tonight cause I'm curious as to whether Hawks's skills are showcased in his early, silent work.


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 Post subject: Re: Howard Hawks
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 7:37 am 
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Ah wait I see now in your first post here that you call Hawks the finest American director. No no no no no you are confused with John Ford, my man!! Seriously, watch all his films. No wait scratch that... stay away from Mogambo and that Queen Liz movie with Katharine Hepburn.

I, as a die hard Ford fan, will now focus a little more on Hawks to see what's what. Can't see my mind changing on this one, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Howard Hawks
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 2:05 pm 
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obsessing over hawks atm so I will be watching many more (i hope) of his these next few weeks

update 1:

Rio Bravo - 9.5/10
Red River - 9/10
His Girl Friday - 9/10
The Big Sleep - 8.5/10
A Girl in Every Port - 8/10
Scarface - 8/10
Bringing Up Baby - 8/10
Ceiling Zero - 8/10
The Thing From Another World - 7/10
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - 5.5/10
The Outlaw - 4/10


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 Post subject: Re: Howard Hawks
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 7:16 pm 
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Only Angels Have Wings should be high priority man, his other masterpiece in my eyes. Probably my favorite American film of the 30's.


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 Post subject: Re: Howard Hawks
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:11 am 
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I have it, Monkey Business, To Have and Have Not and El Dorado waiting. I'll try and pop Angels tonight.

I have very high expectations of Only Angels Have Wings, but best American film of the thirties is one helluva high mark to aim for... I mean shit you got Grand Hotel, Trouble In Paradise, Pilgrimage, Judge Priest, The Prisoner of Shark Island, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and fucking Stagecoach to beat. Stagecoach is mos def my favourite American film from the thirties, it's my favourite western and my favourite Ford movie!

Get back to you soon with my thoughts on it.


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 Post subject: Re: Howard Hawks
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:42 pm 
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Watched Rio Bravo, my first Hawks. It's probably my favorite western so far, but that's really not saying much seeing as I'm so unfamiliar with the genre. I certainly liked it better than any of the Ford pictures I've seen (again admittedly a very small number), and I'm guessing that's mainly because of the emphasis on chemistry and character displayed as wanta so keenly pointed out. I also really enjoyed the spare number of sets which lends this lived-in, homely feel to the whole movie. Definitely gonna check out more stuff from this guy. Recs are welcome.


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 Post subject: Re: Howard Hawks
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:07 am 
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Smallows wrote:
Watched Rio Bravo, my first Hawks. It's probably my favorite western so far, but that's really not saying much seeing as I'm so unfamiliar with the genre. I certainly liked it better than any of the Ford pictures I've seen (again admittedly a very small number), and I'm guessing that's mainly because of the emphasis on chemistry and character displayed as wanta so keenly pointed out. I also really enjoyed the spare number of sets which lends this lived-in, homely feel to the whole movie. Definitely gonna check out more stuff from this guy. Recs are welcome.

The recs are as follows: Red River, His Girl Friday, To Have and Have Not, A Girl in Every Port, The Big Sleep, Bringing Up Baby, Only Angels Have Wings and Ceiling Zero.

What Fords did you see that you didn't like as much as Rio Bravo? I'm curious because Ford is my favourite director ever. Now, I would also place Rio Bravo above most Ford westerns (in fact, all of them excepting Stagecoach and maybe The Searchers, depending on my mood); it must be said that Rio Bravo is among the top five westerns ever made. So it's not like I'm blaming you for not liking Ford movies as much as Hawks movies (I blame wanta for this already) It is also much longer, denser and intricate from a storytelling/character angle than any of the Ford films, which to me are much more concerned with the visual and the spiritual nature of a young America and its (white) inhabitants, unsure of where it is or they are going. But for a little more light-hearted western that finds a comfortable middle ground between Ford and Hawks, try out Wagon Master. It is maybe the most fun I have had watching a western and that smile will stay on your face for the duration of the film. Quite possibly the most underrated and underwatched western I have seen.


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 Post subject: Re: Howard Hawks
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:49 am 
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First of all, thanks for the recs. Secondly, I think you hit the nail right on the head as to why I haven't so far been able to connect with Ford:
Quote:
Ford films, which to me are much more concerned with the visual and the spiritual nature of a young America and its (white) inhabitants, unsure of where it is or they are going.


In fact I feel like I judge almost all genre movies on too narrow, too narratological bases. I've only seen Stagecoach, Young Mr. Lincoln (not a western obv) and The Searchers by Ford. Now in charaterization and story structure I feel all of them have their fair share of problems, and that's what I naturally focused on during my viewings. Had I viewed them moreso as these parts of a larger social context as you say, I bet I would've gotten more of a kick out of them. What I don't know, however, is how I could get rid of my aversion to genre films in general. It bothers me because I feel like I'm missing out on so many naturally wonderful experiences. There really isn't any resolution to this rambling, other than maybe exposing myself more to such films.


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 Post subject: Re: Howard Hawks
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:15 am 
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Yeah, I feel like I'm blessed with a love for genre as an approach (one of many, just to be clear) to cinema. One could argue that that's an easy way out, but I don't think that's true at all. What it does, however, is make the whole process of sieving through the so-called "shitpile that is commercial Hollywood cinema" actually a very pleasant and most rewarding experience. Because even I am aware of the immense heap of terrible westerns that are out there, and I have seen a few terrible ones indeed. But it's figuring out what to look for, how well certain directors execute things and how much better they do it than others, etc that makes swimming in the sea of genre so much fun for me.
Also, you can't have that big an aversion towards genre cinema if you could really dig Rio Bravo. Watch more great westerns (My Darling Clementine, Red River, Ride Lonesome, The Man From Laramie, High Noon, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) and great noirs (Double Indemnity, Out of the Past, The Killers, The Big Sleep, Touch of Evil, In a Lonely Place, Side Street) and maybe you'll start to love the machine.


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