Howard Hawks, Part 2
April 19–July 2
Howard Hawks was one of Hollywood’s most consistently entertaining directors, and one of the most versatile, directing exemplary comedies, melodramas, war pictures, gangster films, films noir, westerns, sci-fi thrillers, and musicals, with several being landmark pictures in their genre.
Hawks never won an Oscar—in fact, he was nominated only once, as Best Director for 1941’s SERGEANT YORK (he and Orson Welles both lost to John Ford that year)—but his critical stature grew over the 1960s and '70s, even as his career was winding down, and in 1975 the Academy awarded him an honorary Oscar, declaring Hawks “a giant of the American cinema whose pictures, taken as a whole, represent one of the most consistent, vivid and varied bodies of work in world cinema.”
“I consider Howard Hawks to be the greatest American director. He’s the only director I know to have made a great movie in every genre…In my opinion, the man literally invented American cinema. He showed us ourselves, the way we are, the way we should be.” – John Carpenter
“Howard Hawks is the supreme storyteller and entertainer. He’s just too damn enjoyable.” – Quentin Tarantino
"If one does not love the films of Howard Hawks, one cannot love cinema." – Eric Rohmer
AFI Member passes accepted at all films in the Hawks series.
Hawks’ abiding passion for group dynamics and professional excellence was perfectly deployed in this WWII actioner, following the crew of a B-17 Flying Fortress departing California for Hawaii on the morning of December 6, 1941. Learning midflight of the Pearl Harbor bombing, the crew spend the ensuing weeks and months going where the action is, island-hopping across the Pacific. John Garfield, as embittered gunner and flight school washout Joe Winocki, is the star attraction in the ensemble cast that includes Arthur Kennedy, Harry Carey, Gig Young and George Tobias. Effective as the film is as action-packed wartime propaganda picture, it overreaches badly on one front: there is a scurrilous minor subplot about “local Japs” abetting the Pearl Harbor attack.
DIR Howard Hawks; SCR Dudley Nichols; PROD Hal B. Wallis. US, 1943, b&w, 124 min. NOT RATED
TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT
Fri, Apr 19, 3:00; Sat, Apr 20, 11:00 a.m.; Mon, Apr 22, 7:10
“You know how to whistle, don’t you Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.” Lauren Bacall’s sultry come-ons to Humphrey Bogart made her a star overnight, and began one of Hollywood’s great on- and off-screen love affairs. Bogart plays Harry Morgan, an American fishing boat captain in 1940 Martinique, unconcerned when and from where his next dollar’s coming, but unwilling to take chances running local French resistance fighters on dangerous nighttime missions. Bacall plays Marie, a woman with a shady past and fierce instincts for self-preservation, whom Morgan falls for. The film famously bears little resemblance to Hemingway’s source novel and a conspicuous one to the recent Bogart smash hit CASABLANCA. Intriguingly, Harry and Marie almost exclusively refer to each other as “Steve” and “Slim”—the nicknames used by Hawks and his then-wife, Nancy.
DIR/PROD Howard Hawks; SCR Jules Furthman, William Faulkner, from the novel by Ernest Hemingway. US, 1944, b&w, 100 min. NOT RATED
THE BIG SLEEP
Restored "Pre-Release" version!
Sat, Apr 27, 11:00 a.m.; Sun, Apr 28, 8:00; Mon, Apr 29, 5:15; Wed, May 1, 7:00
Looking to recapture the Bogie-Bacall magic of TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT, Hawks selected this Raymond Chandler whodunit as a vehicle to showcase more of the pair’s smart talk. Hired to investigate the blackmailing of society wild child Carmen Sternwood (Martha Vickers), private dick Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart), falls for her classy, sassy older sister Vivian (Lauren Bacall). The famously byzantine plot—murders proliferate, solutions do not—and the lurid hint of drug use and pornography behind Carmen’s blackmailing provide ample intrigue, but it’s all a backdrop for the stars’ racy, innuendo-laced repartee.
DIR/PROD Howard Hawks; SCR William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, Jules Furthman, from the novel by Raymond Chandler. US, 1946, b&w, 116 min. NOT RATED
A SONG IS BORN
Sat, Apr 27, 7:00; Tue, Apr 30, 7:00
Hawks’ musical remake of his own BALL OF FIRE features Danny Kaye as the leader of a troupe of ivory-tower musicologists whose decade-long work on an encyclopedia of music history has left them woefully out of touch with the modern world in general, and jazz music in particular. Virginia Mayo is the nightclub chantoozy who helps get these squares hip, with noteworthy assistance from the likes of Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Barnet, Mel Powell and the Golden Gate Quartet. Jazz great Benny Goodman delights as Kaye’s associate, Professor Magenbruch, an able clarinetist who easily learns how to swing.
DIR Howard Hawks; SCR Billy Wilder, Thomas Monroe, from their story “From A to Z”; PROD Samuel Goldwyn. US, 1948, color, 113 min. NOT RATED
Sat, May 4, 11:00 a.m.; Sun, May 5, 2:00; Mon, May 6, 5:15; Tue, May 7, 5:15; Wed, May 8, 5:15
Arguably Howard Hawks’ greatest film, it established John Wayne once and for all as a major star, after some two decades of variable success; he’d remain a box office force for the next 25 years. Wayne plays a swaggering cattle baron, riding his men, his herd and himself hard across the Texas range to the railhead in Kansas. On the verge of a crackup and having descended into tyranny, Wayne is relieved of his command by adopted son Montgomery Clift, setting up a Western-style Oedipal showdown.
DIR/PROD Howard Hawks; SCR Borden Chase, Charles Schnee. US, 1948, b&w, 133 min. NOT RATED
THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD
Tue, May 7, 7:30; Wed, May 8, 7:30; Sat, May 11, 11:30 a.m.; Sun, May 12, 11:30 a.m.
Although officially directed by longtime Howard Hawks editor Christian Nyby, by all accounts producer Hawks was the one calling the shots on set, and the film unmistakably bears his personal stamp—a close-knit team of professionals performing risky work in an exotic environment, an all-male world save for a single savvy female and, above all, a flip attitude in the face of danger. The biggest difference here is the genre—science fiction, still in its cinematic infancy before exploding in popularity in the later 1950s. Scientists working at a remote Arctic army base discover a crashed flying saucer, its alien pilot encased in ice. Bringing the spaceman specimen back to base in hopes of further study instead unleashes terrible danger. Remade spectacularly as THE THING in 1981 by Hawks acolyte John Carpenter.
DIR/PROD Howard Hawks; DIR Christian Nyby; SCR Charles Lederer, from the novella “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell, Jr. US, 1951, b&w, 87 min. RATED PG
THE BIG SKY
Fri, May 17, 5:15; Sat, May 18, 11:00 a.m.; Sun, May 19, 6:45; Tue, May 21, 5:00
Unique among Westerns, this film takes place in 1816 (most are set closer to the Civil War years) and concerns not a wagon train of homesteaders but a Missouri River keelboat crew making a perilous journey from the frontier town of St. Louis deep into the Montana territory to trade with the Blackfoot Indians. Captain Frenchy (Steven Geray) heads a crew that includes friendly rivals Jim Deakins (Kirk Douglas) and Boone Caudill (Dewey Martin), Boone’s frontiersman uncle Zeb (Arthur Hunnicutt) plus an ace in the hole: Blackfoot princess Teal Eye (Elizabeth Threatt), sprung from enemy captors, whose return the crew hopes will curry favor with her tribe.
DIR/PROD Howard Hawks; SCR Dudley Nichols, from the novel by A. B. Guthrie, Jr. US, 1952, b&w, 140 min. NOT RATED
I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE
Sat, May 18, 1:10; Mon, May 20, 4:15
In post-WWII Germany, French Captain Henri Rochard (Cary Grant) and American WAC Lieutenant Catherine Gates (Ann Sheridan) go from antagonistic co-workers to passionate lovebirds while on assignment out in the field, and get married. But the Kafka-meets-“Catch-22” bureaucracy of military regulations keeps their wedding night on perpetual hold, the first of many comic indignities visited upon Grant in this wickedly clever comedy of humiliation.
DIR Howard Hawks; SCR Charles Lederer, Leonard Spigelgass, Hagar Wilde; PROD Sol C. Siegel. US, 1949, b&w, 105 min. NOT RATED
Sat, May 25, 11:00 a.m.; Mon, May 27, 11:00 a.m.; Tue, May 28, 7:10
Howard Hawks’ madcap 1952 comedy was a throwback to the screwball territory of the 1930s, staked out by his own TWENTIETH CENTURY, BRINGING UP BABY and HIS GIRL FRIDAY. With an accidental assist from a lab chimp, brilliant but absent-minded professor Cary Grant ingests a serum that restores youthful vitality by reversing the aging process. Grant rediscovers his vim and vigor; his patient but weary wife Ginger Rogers, overmedicated on the stuff, regresses to full-on childhood. With supporting players Charles Coburn as Grant’s taskmaster boss and Marilyn Monroe—already the picture of youth—as Coburn’s non-typing secretary.
DIR Howard Hawks; SCR Ben Hecht, Charles Lederer, I. A. L. Diamond, from a story by Harry Segall; PROD Sol C. Siegel. US, 1952, b&w, 97 min. NOT RATED
GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES
Sun, May 26, 11:00 a.m.; Mon, May 27, 11:05 a.m.; Tue, May 28, 5:10; Wed, May 29, 7:10
In Howard Hawks’ wicked musical romp, best-friend lounge singers Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe, “Two Little Girls from Little Rock,” are on a cruise ship bound for Europe. Russell is on the prowl for a handsome hunk; Monroe is engaged to marry fiancé Tommy Noonan once they reach Paris, but tends to get distracted at the sight of bling. Getting an eyeful of diamond magnate Charles Coburn’s rocks has her singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in the famous, and famously referenced, show-stopping number. The movie version adds songs by Hoagy Carmichael and Harold Adamson to the stage musical’s originals by Jule Styne and Leo Robin.
DIR Howard Hawks; SCR Charles Lederer, from the musical comedy by Joseph Fields and Anita Loos (based on her novel); PROD Sol C. Siegel. US, 1953, color, 91 min. NOT RATED
LAND OF THE PHARAOHS
Sat, Jun 1, 11:05 a.m.; Mon, Jun 3, 7:10; Wed, Jun 5, 5:00; Thu, Jun 6, 5:00
“The Barbaric Love That Left the Pyramid as Its Landmark!” The Pharaoh Khufu (Jack Hawkins), obsessed with carrying his wealth into the afterlife, orders construction of an enormous, impervious pyramid, designed and built by enslaved architect Vashtar (James Robertson Justice) and his son Senta (Dewey Martin). But Khufu's duplicitous wife Nellifer (Joan Collins) schemes to undermine his legacy. Shot on location in Egypt with a veritable cast of thousands, the film impresses with its CinemaScope vistas, Alexander Trauner’s ingenious set designs and Dimitri Tiomkin’s rousing score. But this costly production underperformed at the box office and has long divided critical opinion, some seeing a key film of the 1950s, others merely a camp spectacle.
DIR/PROD Howard Hawks; SCR William Faulkner, Harry Kurnitz, Harold Jack Bloom. US, 1955, color, 105 min. NOT RATED
Sun, Jun 2, 11:05 a.m.; Mon, Jun 3, 5:00; Tue, Jun 4, 5:00
Hatari is Swahili for danger, which John Wayne and his team of African big-game catchers seek on a daily basis as they capture animals in the wild for sale to zoo clients around the world. Shot on location in Tanganyika (now Tanzania), the film is distinguished by gorgeous wildlife photography, thrilling chase sequences trucking across the Serengeti plain and Harry Mancini’s famous score, including the song “Baby Elephant Walk,” now a standard. With Elsa Martinelli, Red Buttons, Hardy Krüger, Gérard Blain, Bruce Cabot, Valentin de Vargas and Michèle Girardon.
DIR/PROD Howard Hawks; SCR Leigh Brackett. US, 1962, color, 157 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Jun 7, 2:00; Sun, Jun 9, 11:00 a.m.; Mon, Jun 10, 4:00
With the younger brother of a feared outlaw locked up in his jail, sheriff John Wayne hunkers down for the older brother’s attack. His deputies include a drunk Dean Martin, hot-headed teenager Ricky Nelson and cantankerous coot Walter Brennan. Howard Hawks’ high-spirited masterpiece has it all: comedy, drama, action—even a musical number—plus career-best performances from Martin, Nelson and Brennan, and an eye-catching turn from Angie Dickinson as gambling lady “Feathers.”
DIR/PROD Howard Hawks; SCR Jules Furthman, Leigh Brackett, from the short story by B. H. McCampbell. US, 1959, color, 141 min. NOT RATED
MAN’S FAVORITE SPORT?
Fri, Jun 7, 7:15; Sat, Jun 8, 1:15; Sun, Jun 9, 3:10
Roger Willoughby (Rock Hudson) is Abercrombie & Fitch’s foremost angling expert, the author of “Fishing Made Simple” and a sharp salesman whose tips are eagerly sought out by fishing fanatics. But Willoughby has a secret: he’s strictly an armchair angler who, despite his erudition on casting and lures, has never been fishing in his life. Pressured to participate in a high-profile fishing tournament by resort publicist Abigail Page (Paula Prentiss), Willoughby undertakes a crash course in outdoorsmanship to save face, and discovers animal magnetism with Page in the bargain. The catchy score is by Henry Mancini.
DIR/PROD Howard Hawks; SCR John Fenton Murray, Steve McNeil, from the story “The Girl Who Almost Got Away” by Pat Frank. US, 1964, color, 120 min. NOT RATED
RED LINE 7000
Fri, Jun 14, 4:45; Sat, Jun 15, 11:00 a.m.; Sun, Jun 16, 1:15; Mon, Jun 17, 4:45
Three daring stock-car drivers, three free-spirited women and their tangled love lives. Most found this 1965 film to be an unsuccessful bid by Hawks to make a “youth” picture, a sexed-up pastiche of story elements from THE CROWD ROARS and CEILING ZERO, marred by clunky performances from much of the cast (although the young James Caan impresses, as does starlet Marianna Hill; George Takei appears in a small role just one year before achieving pop-cultural immortality as Sulu on STAR TREK). Hawks expert Robin Wood is among the film’s passionate defenders, declaring it “the most underestimated film of the sixties.” Quentin Tarantino partly based Jack Rabbit Slim’s nightclub in PULP FICTION on a nightclub in RED LINE 7000—look for a young Teri Garr among the go-go dancers there.
DIR/PROD Howard Hawks; SCR George Kirgo. US, 1965, color, 110 min. NOT RATED
16mm print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive
Sat, Jun 15, 1:30; Sun, Jun 16, 11:00 a.m.
Newly arrived in El Dorado, gunfighter Cole Thornton (John Wayne), discovers his old friend J. P. Harrah (Robert Mitchum) is now the sheriff in town. Thornton has come to work for cattle baron Bart Jason (Edward Asner), but sours on the job after he’s asked to run the MacDonald family off their land. Gravely wounded after a scrape with the clan, Thornton heads back to El Dorado to aid Harrah, who, brokenhearted since being jilted by his showgirl lady friend, has become “a tin star with a drunk pinned on it.” Great comedic chemistry between Wayne and Mitchum enlivens Hawks’ late-career capper, which borrows heavily from his still-recent RIO BRAVO (screenwriter Leigh Brackett jokingly called it “THE SON OF RIO BRAVO RIDES AGAIN.”). With James Caan, Arthur Hunnicutt and Charlene Holt.
DIR/PROD Howard Hawks; SCR Leigh Brackett, from the novel “The Stars in Their Courses” by Harry Brown. US, 1966, color, 126 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Jun 28, 2:00; Sat, Jun 29, 12:00; Tue, Jul 2, 2:30