Howard Hawks

“Three great scenes, no bad ones.”1926
The Road to Glory
Fig Leaves
1927
The Cradle Snatchers
Paid to Love
1928
A Girl in Every Port
Fazil
The Air Circus
1929
Trent’s Last Case
1930
The Dawn Patrol
1931
The Criminal Code
1932
Scarface 82
[ You know what’s awesome about these old studio directors like Hawks? Among other things, it’s how rich and varied their filmographies are. Nowadays, save for a Soderbergh or a Spielberg, filmmakers tend to make a movie every three or four years, and they don’t get out much of their comfort zone. Whereas in 1932 alone, Hawks made a motor-racing flick (“The Crowd Roars”), a romantic drama (“Tiger Shark”) and this here gangster classic. The wonderfully sleazy and brash Paul Muni stars as the eponymous badass, a real piece of work who machineguns his way to the top of the bootlegging racket, only to be brought down by his own oversized ego. The film is packed with rapid-fire hardboiled dialogue, hot dames and brilliantly crafted, surprisingly bold shoot-outs. “Scarface” is definitely ahead of its time, and its influence can be felt in nearly all the modern gangster films, from “The Godfather” to “The Departed” by the way of DePalma’s remake, natch. ]

The Crowd Roars
Tiger Shark
1933
Today We Live
1934
Twentieth Century
1935
Barbary Coast
1936
Ceiling Zero
The Road to Glory
Come and Get It

1938
Bringing Up Baby 44
[ I’m generally quite fond of old American movies, but I had much trouble sitting through this “classic” screwball comedy.. The humor seemed rather contrived to me and Katherine Hepburn’s manipulative loudmouth and Cary Grant’s stuffy nerd of a zoologist quickly grow obnoxious. I didn’t root for them to hook up, I just wanted them to shut up! The leopard’s pretty cool, though. ]

1939
Only Angels Have Wings

1940
His Girl Friday 81
[ Dense with rapid-fire dialogue and cigarette smoke, this screwball comedy is an epic battle of the wits between editor Cary Grant and his journalist (and ex-wife!) Rosalind Russell. The screenplay is spectacularly well written and the whole cast shines. ]

1941
Sergeant York
Ball of Fire
1943
Air Force

1944
To Have and Have Not 72
[ On the heels of “Casablanca”, here’s another movie in which Bogart plays an American (named Captain Morgan, like the rum) who doesn’t give a crap about helping the French resistance but winds up doing so anyway for the love of a woman. And what a woman! Lauren Bacall is overwhelmingly sexy, with her bedroom eyes and her sultry voice. “It’s even better when you help.” I also got into the male bonding stuff between Bogart and a drunkard friend, not unlike the character Dean Martin would later play in Hawks’ “Rio Bravo”. The plot itself is not very interesting, aping “Casablanca” too closely for its own good, but Bacall and Bogart are the stuff dreams are made of. ]


1946
The Big Sleep 91
[ review ]

1948
Red River
A Song is Born
1949
I Was a Male War Bride
1952
The Big Sky

1952
Monkey Business 44
[ Cary Grant plays an absent-minded chemist whose monkey-rejuvenating formula is inadvertently mixed into the lab’s water-cooler, turning him and his wife (Ginger Rogers) into crazy youths again. This is hardly one of Howard Hawks’ best, but I love Cary, I love Marilyn Monroe (playing a sexy secretary), and Lord knows I love monkeys! ]

1953
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 70
[ Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe are two showgirls who sail off to Paris looking for good times, gentlemen and, of course, diamonds (cause diamonds are a girl’s best friends). This is a bouncy, bubbly, sexy musical comedy, as light as air but fun fun fun. Viewed today, some of the sexual attitudes feel wildly old-fashioned, misogynistic even but hey…

“I might as well warn you, flattery will get you anywhere.”
“If we can’t empty his pockets between us, we’re not worthy of the name Woman.”
“I won’t let myself fall in love with a man who won’t trust me no matter what I might do…”
“He never wins an argument, does anything i ask, and has the money to do it with. How can I help falling in love with a man like that?”
“Don’t you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but my goodness, doesn’t it help?”
“I can be smart when I need to be.”
“Remember, honey, on your wedding day it’s alright to say yes.” ]

1955
Land of the Pharaohs


1959
Rio Bravo 95
[ review ]

1962
Hatari!
1963
Man’s Favorite Sport?
1965
Red Line 7000
1967
El Dorado
1970
Rio Lobo