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LawrenceA

And Your Favorite Howard Hawks Film Is...?

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Time for a new director. This time it's Howard Hawks.

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Here are his directorial credits:

  • The Road to Glory (1926) - lost film
  • Fig Leaves (1926)
  • The Cradle Snatchers (1927)
  • Paid to Leave (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)
  • Viva Villa! (1934)
  • 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)
  • Sergeant York (1941)
  • Ball of Fire (1941)
  • Air Force (1943)
  • The Outlaw (1943) - partial
  • Corvette K-225 (1943) - uncredited
  • To Have and Have Not (1944)
  • The Big Sleep (1946)
  • Red River (1948)
  • A Song Is Born (1948)
  • I Was a Male War Bride (1949)
  • The Thing from Another World (1951) - uncredited
  • The Big Sky (1952)
  • O Henry's Full House (1952) - partial
  • Monkey Business (1952)
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
  • Land of the Pharaohs (1955)
  • Rio Bravo (1959)
  • Hatari! (1962)
  • Man's Favorite Sport? (1964)
  • Red Line 7000 (1965)
  • El Dorado (1966)
  • Rio Lobo (1970)

 

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Hawks is among my four or five favorite filmmakers of the classic era, so it's hard to choose, but here are my top ten choices at this moment:

  1. The Thing from Another World
  2. Scarface
  3. The Big Sleep
  4. Red River
  5. His Girl Friday
  6. Only Angels Have Wings
  7. Ball of Fire
  8. Rio Bravo
  9. Bringing Up Baby
  10. Twentieth Century
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Out of the films listed, I'd say that Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is my favorite.  I love the color, Marilyn and Jane, Charles Coburn, that hilarious little kid that tells Marilyn she has "a lot of animal magnetism," the costumes, the songs, everything.

Close second would probably be Ball of Fire, just because I love Barbara Stanwyck and I like the actors who play the stuffy professors.  I especially like Richard Hadyn who also voiced the Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland.  I could help but think "A-E-I-O-U, U-O-I-E-A" during Haydn's scenes.

I love the Bogie and Bacall films, To Have and Have Not and The Big Sleep, even if The Big Sleep doesn't really make any sense.  It's so interesting! 

I know it's divisive, but I love Bringing Up Baby.  I think it's hilarious.

I Was a Male War Bride is interesting, if only because Howard Hawks managed to get Cary Grant to dress up like a woman.  He does NOT make an attractive woman. 

I also like Monkey Business.  Too bad Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers only made a couple of films together, they made a good pairing.  Charles Coburn is always delightful in everything he appears in.  

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My favorite 10 Hawks films;

  • Scarface (1932)
  • 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)
  • Monkey Business (1952)
  • El Dorado (1966)

 

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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Hawks is among my four or five favorite filmmakers of the classic era, so it's hard to choose, but here are my top ten choices at this moment:

  1. The Thing from Another World
  2. Scarface
  3. The Big Sleep
  4. Red River
  5. His Girl Friday
  6. Only Angels Have Wings
  7. Ball of Fire
  8. Rio Bravo
  9. Bringing Up Baby
  10. Twentieth Century

Great list, Lawrence. I'd replace The Thing From Another World, Only Angels Have Wings, and Twentieth Century with The Big Sky, To Have and Have Not, and a player to be named later. I've never seen Monkey Business, for one. James, I like your list, too. For me, Hawks is a minor figure, though an excellent director of comedy. I don't care much for Only Angels Have Wings, mainly because 1) Jean Arthur is not going to be happy with a man who only wants her to look after him because his buddy got killed; and 2) there are parallels with The Wages of Fear, which makes the backlot make-believe of Angels all too apparent.

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These...

Scarface (1932)
Viva Villa! (1934)
Ball of Fire (1941)
The Big Sleep (1946)
Red River (1948)
The Thing from Another World (1951) - uncredited
The Big Sky (1952)
O Henry's Full House (1952) - partial
Land of the Pharaohs (1955)
Rio Bravo (1959)
Man's Favorite Sport? (1964)
 

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Yeah, this nonsense of "choosing" just ONE when so MANY "great" choices are available is stupid.  It too, might just be that a "favorite" MOVIE of somebody's MIGHT JUST BE a Hawks film by COINCIDENCE, and is that person's "favorite" movie for some OTHER reason!  ;) 

Anyway....what might narrow it down is that in that list of Hawks' movies up there, is probably a couple movies I DON'T like.  But Hawks directing them has nothing to do with THAT. 

Sepiatone

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"Bringing Up Baby" for me. I think it is the best screwball comedy ever. The laughs are non stop, Cary Grant as the befuddled professor and Katherine Hepburn as kooky girl make a great match. 

Another one that does get mentioned much is "The Criminal Code", it is a pretty tough prison film for it's time. Walter Huston is great as the tough talking but fair warden (try to count how many times he says "Yeah?"). Phillip Holmes plays a baby faced inmate who wants to reform. Boris Karloff has a small but powerful role as a hardened convict with a beef against one of the guards. In the 1968 film "Targets" Karloff plays a old time movie star who watches "The Criminal Code" on TV. Peter Bogdanovich plays a movie director trying to get Karloff to act in his new film. The two watch a scene on the TV and Bogdanovich remarks "Hey Howard Hawks directed that! He sure knows how to tell a story"

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Hawks directed a lot of my favourite films, from westerns to comedies to one detective drama, showing his impressive range.

sergeantyork_maybeinaflash_FC_470x264_05

But Sergeant York, which most Hawks buffs don't much discuss, it seems to me, has always had a special place for me. The first three quarters of the film, in particular, when set in the Tennesse hills, splendidly captures the atmosphere of simple rural life, painted backdrops a bit of a distraction at times. The pro war propaganda aspect of the film (which was the entire reason the film was even made) has less appeal for me, I must admit.

The film also benefits, in particular, from the perfect casting and performances of Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan and Margaret Wycherly.

Other Hawks films that rank as favourites:

Scarface (1932) - the greatest of the early talkie gangster dramas

Viva Villa (1934) (though he was taken off the project and Jack Conway received credit).

20th Century (1934)

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Ball of Fire (1941)

The Big Sleep (1946)

Red River (1948)

The Thing (1951) (Uncredited)

Rio Bravo (1959)

 

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While my favorite Hawks were always those Studebaker Hawks of the '50s and '60s, when it comes to the CINEMATIC Hawks, I gotta go with Gershwin fan's pick up there of Red River

(...and btw...I always liked those Studebaker Avantis back in the day too)

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:o

Wasn't STUDEBAKER HAWK(Hoch) the "hero" from Zappa and The Mothers'  "Billy The Mountain" on the "Just Another Band From LA" LP?  ;) 

 

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Interesting how the one and only time he was nominated for Best Director (for SGT YORK) has only been mentioned once (that I’ve seen.)

IMO, It is one of his least interesting films. (Although it’s fine.)

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On 2/4/2019 at 11:15 PM, kingrat said:

 I've never seen Monkey Business, for one.

!

(You should)

I myself only saw it for the first time a year or two ago (it's a Fox Film and I think that TCM only recently got access to it...?.)

IMO, both GRANT and ROGERS give nomination-worthy performances.

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(I'm bored this morning)

  • The Criminal Code (1931) was a letdown for me; I actually couldn't finish it, but i tmight've had somethign to do with the print being dark and muddy.
  • Scarface (1932)-Is a masterpiece, I have no notes. Possibly the best picture of 1931.
  • Tiger Shark (1932) was a huge letdown; another one I couldn't finish. It's basically LITTLE CAESAR AT SEA (which was later done way better in THE SEA WOLF) In spite of EDWARD G. ROBINSON and HAWKS and it being a precode, this one is very limp and the "blending" of the actual shot-at-sea footage with the obvious studio shots is about as harmonious as the "special" effects in THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA.
  • Twentieth Century (1934)- I know I'm supposed to like this one, but I don't. In fact, I don't like it a lot.
  • Barbary Coast (1935) Is all right.
  • Bringing Up Baby (1938) Masterpiece. I have no notes.
  • Only Angels Have Wings (1939) I kinda like this in spite of Jean Arthur, all the misogyny and those Gaucho pants on Cary Grant. I think THOMAS MITCHELL should have won his 1939 Oscar for this movie and not STAGECOACH.
  • His Girl Friday (1940) This is his best film. People say HAWKS doesn't have a personal style and yet- this film bears his trademarks all over- appealing misogyny, mile-a-minute dialogue, tough dames, lots of yelling into candlestick phones. newsrooms, SENSATIONALISM! A must for anyone who suffers from manic mood swings, it's a delight to see your worldview captured so accurately.
  • Sergeant York (1941) S'allright.
  • Ball of Fire (1941) Again, I have no notes. Perfection.
  • Air Force (1943) Is an interesting movie.
  • To Have and Have Not (1944) I don't get this one. It's watchable and not bad, but eh. Bacall should've been nominated though/
  • The Big Sleep (1946) Perfection. No notes.
  • Red River (1948) I don't get the ending to this one.
  • The Thing from Another World (1951) - uncredited- is awesome, but I'm not entirely convinced Hawks deserves all the credit. Either way, in the end he was willing to not claim directorship, which to me seems like a decision that should be honored and as such- I cannot help but consider this one a CHRISTIAN NYBY JOINT.
  • O Henry's Full House (1952) - which one did he direct? I like this movie though.
  • Monkey Business (1952)- see reply to KINGRAT
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) I have no notes. RUSSELL and MONROE should both have been nominated.
  • Land of the Pharaohs (1955) Not that bad really. minus one star for the rubber crocodiles, but not too bad at all.
  • Man's Favorite Sport? (1964) I don't get this movie. At all.

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

(I'm bored this morning)

Well, don't spread it, sweet stuff.

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2 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

People say HAWKS doesn't have a personal style 

What people say that? He's one of the few classic-era directors that I think has a distinctive style, along with Ford, Capra, Hitchcock, Lubitsch, a few others. Most, if not all, of Hawks' films are readily apparent as being a Hawks film. To me, anyway.

On the other hand, I once got some flak around here, and probably will again, for saying that William Wyler doesn't have a distinct, personal style. He's a fantastic director, and I'd rank him among the top 5 classic studio directors. Most of his films rank among the best of their time. That being said, I still say that he did not have a particular style. He never put himself before the material, unlike most of the other directors generally ranked as the best. If you were shown, say, The Letter and then The Best Years of Our Lives and then Ben-Hur and then The Westerner, but the credits had been removed, would you have known that they were all by the same guy? There seem to be little to no thematic or stylistic through-lines in his output. And that's not meant as a denigration of his work, either.

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4 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

What people say that? He's one of the few classic-era directors that I think has a distinctive style, along with Ford, Capra, Hitchcock, Lubitsch, a few others. Most, if not all, of Hawks' films are readily apparent as being a Hawks film. To me, anyway.

On the other hand, I once got some flak around here, and probably will again, for saying that William Wyler doesn't have a distinct, personal style. He's a fantastic director, and I'd rank him among the top 5 classic studio directors. Most of his films rank among the best of their time. That being said, I still say that he did not have a particular style. He never put himself before the material, unlike most of the other directors generally ranked as the best. If you were shown, say, The Letter and then The Best Years of Our Lives and then Ben-Hur and then The Westerner, but the credits had been removed, would you have known that they were all by the same guy? There seem to be little to no thematic or stylistic through-lines in his output. And that's not meant as a denigration of his work, either.

Well, maybe Some have said, and I’ve even thought from time to time, but Hawks’s films don’t always *seem* to have a personal stamp on them, watching them you wouldn’t always necessarily know right off Hawks directed them the way you would if you were watching something directed by Hitchcock or David Lean or even Billy Wilder.

I think the same is also true very much for WYLER

...And it’s not necessarily a bad thing to say that his direction doesn’t often call attention to itself.

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3 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

What people say that? He's one of the few classic-era directors that I think has a distinctive style, along with Ford, Capra, Hitchcock, Lubitsch, a few others. Most, if not all, of Hawks' films are readily apparent as being a Hawks film. To me, anyway.

On the other hand, I once got some flak around here, and probably will again, for saying that William Wyler doesn't have a distinct, personal style. He's a fantastic director, and I'd rank him among the top 5 classic studio directors. Most of his films rank among the best of their time. That being said, I still say that he did not have a particular style. He never put himself before the material, unlike most of the other directors generally ranked as the best. If you were shown, say, The Letter and then The Best Years of Our Lives and then Ben-Hur and then The Westerner, but the credits had been removed, would you have known that they were all by the same guy? There seem to be little to no thematic or stylistic through-lines in his output. And that's not meant as a denigration of his work, either.

I agree that Wyler doesn't have a particular style but he sure helped to bring out the best in some actors. And for a man who was apparently non-communicative on the set, merely saying to the actors "Let's do it again" that's rather fascinating. But if you look at a list of Wyler films you're also looking at a list of films with great performances.

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I like a lot of Hawks' movies -- practically every one that I've seen was well worth watching.

But here are the ones that I really love:

  • Bringing Up Baby (1938)
  • Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
  • His Girl Friday (1940)
  • Ball of Fire (1941)
  • To Have and Have Not (1944)
  • The Big Sleep (1946)
  • Red River (1948)

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Only Angels Have Wings (Way out in front as my #1)

The Big Sleep

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Ball of Fire

Scarface

 

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