BUTTERFLY MCQUEEN
Her roles were largely stereotypical, yet her charm and goofiness made her memorable. Here’s a look at her work beyond Gone With the Wind.

DESIGN IN FILM: THE MODERN HOUSEAn eight-minute video montage of modern homes—real and fake—as seen on the silver screen.

KEYE LUKE
An examination of the lengthy career of the Chinese-American character actor, from Charlie Chan to Woody Allen.

70MMThirty visually stunning films that illustrate the grandeur of large-format filmmaking.

CHILL WILLS
Our look at the Texas actor’s 43-year film career, including an ill-advised Oscar campaign. 

MARGARET HAMILTON
A look at the professional life of an actress who proved to be much more than just the Wicked Witch of the West.

NEBRASKANSA look at some of the memorable talentsfrom Astaire to Zanuck—to come from the Cornhusker State.

BEHIND THE SCENES
Twenty-five cool photos reveal what goes on outside of movie camera range.

SILENT SURVIVORS
Our list of at least a dozen silent film performers that are happily still with us.

12 GREAT MOVIE SONGSElvis, The Beatles and The Supremes join our list of favorite movie themes of the 1960s.

WILHELM SCREAMWe trace the history of one of the most famous and beloved sound effects in movies.

LOST HORIZONA dud receives its due as we explore the elements that made this 1973 musical so preposterously memorable.

GREAT CLOSING LINES
One hundred films whose final words of dialogue make indelible lasting impressions.

25 GREAT SILENT MOVIE POSTERSOur selection of artwork from the early days of motion pictures that expertly illustrate the tone and tale of the films they represent.

RAVES AND RASPBERRIES We select some choice bits from reviews by the late Roger Ebert.

ERROL FLYNN GETS WHACKEDThe actor recalls an unforgettable moment with Bette Davis on the set of The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex.

CINEMATIC RIDESTen films where carnival attractions add to the plot and give their protagonists a cheap thrill.

REEFER TRILOGY
Three overwrought cautionary tales from the 1930s examine the perils of smoking marijuana in polite society.

20 DIRECTORS / 20 FILMSSome of the world’s best moviemakers from Hollywood’s Golden Era provide a behind-the-scenes look at their creations.

LOS ANGELES IN THE 1920SVintage clips offer a look at famous boulevards, studios, theaters, eateries and more.

BILLY WILDEROur favorite lines of dialogue from the Oscar-winning writer/director.

WOODY ALLENChoice lines of dialogue, from Take the Money and Run to Midnight in Paris.

KATHARINE HEPBURNTen authoritative moments when Kate's movie character speaks her mind.

UFA MOVIE POSTERSA look at the early one sheets from the longest standing film studio in Germany.

THE LANGUAGE OF NOIRWe celebrate tough talk from the best of Hollywood’s gritty crime dramas.

HELICOPTER OVER HOLLYWOOD

Aerial shots of Hollywood in 1958 includes Griffith Observatory, Grauman’s Chinese Theater and major studios.

AMERICAWe celebrate one of the most exuberant dance numbers committed to film, a thrilling showcase for freakishly talented folks with music in their bones.

HOLLYWOOD POSTCARDSTen vintage postcards revealing the glories of Southern California's movie mecca.

MAJOR FILMS, MINOR GAFFESTwenty-five mistakes in some of the greatest movies ever made.

GEORGE GERSHWINTen classic songs as seen on the silver screen.

GREAT ENDINGSA memorable tussle in Death Valley caps Erich von Stroheim’s broken classic.

10 GREAT POSTERSOur look at striking works of art that just happen to sell movie tickets.

MUST READMGM: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot provides a fascinating look at a lost treasure.

IN THE COOL, COOL, COOL OF THE EVENINGJane Wyman and Bing Crosby charm with the Oscar-winning song from Here Comes the Groom (1951).

PLUNDER ROADFilm noir at its best—and most economical. No backstory, a lean look and just 72 minutes long.

W.C. FIELDSTen of his most memorable character names.

OUTER SPACE HORROR
Aliens and mutants take center stage in twenty-five spectacular movie posters from the 1950s.

INGMAR BERGMAN
Our list of ten must-see films—ten artful depictions of the human condition—by one of the world’s most influential directors.

10 DIRECTORS / 10 FILMS 
Accomplished directors from the past 50 years talk about their triumphs and challenges in bringing a story to the big screen.

JACK CARSON
We single out five films that display the talent and range of the Warner Bros. character actor.

AL HIRSCHFELDWe select our ten favorite movie posters by the famed caricaturist.

BILLIE BURKE
Five films that best represent the fluttery voiced character actress’s charms.

DIAMOND SETTINGSWe take a look at five of our favorite baseball movies of the ‘40s and ‘50s.

BESTSELLERS

A dozen books that became publishing phenomena and, at times, well-made and popular films.


SCREEN TESTSAudition footage from Monroe, Dean, Brando and others.

MOVIE MOMENTS THAT MAKE LIFE WORTH LIVINGOur collection of ten little moments of breathtaking beauty, expert craftsmanship and happy accidents that rank as our favorites.

EDNA MAY OLIVER
A tribute to a character actress who’s made aunts and spinsters her specialty.

STARS ON STARS: 30 CANDID OPINIONSA collection of favorite quotes from movie folk discussing their peers.

CEDRIC GIBBONS
We take a good look at the work of MGM’s legendary art director.

JOHN QUALENFive of our favorite performances from the character actor’s lengthy career.

NOT STARRING DORIS DAY
We select three movie musicals we deeply wish the sunny singer/actress would have made.

MICKEY ROONEY’S BEST
Twelve examples of what made the late actor such an enduring movie star.

PUBLICITY PHOTOS
Ten artful, playful and downright silly shots from some of the most famous movies in existence.

JEFFREY HUNTERWe tip our hat to the underrated (and very pretty) actor best known for going toe-to-toe with John Wayne in The Searchers and hanging on the cross in Nicholas Ray’s King of Kings.

ELVIS PRESLEYFive essential films for the Elvis movie fan.

SPRING SPRING SPRING”
We take a closer look and listen at Johnny Mercer’s witty ditty about the coming of the season.

BILL GOLD’S MOVIE POSTERSOur salute to the legendary graphic artist, including 25 of his posters for some of the most famous movies ever made.

BEAUTIFUL MENFilm giants Cary Grant and his ilk will have to wait. Here we look at ten not-so-obvious choices—actors blessed with incredible good looks, if not legendary status.

BEAUTIFUL WOMENTen of the most physically stunning females to grace the silver screen.

FOOTBALLFive classic films where gridiron shenanigans drive the plot. 

THE 43 FACES OF JOHNNY DEPPWe review the wide variety of characters the actor has played, from early teenager roles to larger-than-life eccentrics.

FRED ASTAIREFive lively numbers from the peerless hoofer.

THE ROAD TO HELEN LAWSONJudy Garland, Susan Hayward and the bumpy road Valley of the Dolls producers experienced in casting an important role in a truly lousy film.

 AMERICAN LANDMARKS ON FILM From the Empire State Building to the Golden Gate Bridge, we take a look at ten famous sights that added drama to the movies.

THE GIRL HUNT BALLETWe revisit the stylish Fred Astaire dream ballet from The Band Wagon (1953).

IOWA FILMS & STARSTen contributions the Hawkeye State has made to motion picture history.

FOX THEATEROur fond look back at one of San Francisco’s grandest movie palaces.

AUTOBIOGRAPHIESTen great titles penned by industry legends.

THE BAND WAGONNanette Fabray recalls a glaring mistake in the 1953 classic musical.

TRIGGERWe celebrate the life and somewhat creepy afterlife of Roy Rogers's favorite mount.

CHARACTERS: AGNES GOOCHPeggy Cass's memorable turn as a plain Jane coaxed into living a little in Auntie Mame (1958).

DESIGNS ON FILMA handsome volume by author and designer Cathy Whitlock chronicles the history of Hollywood set design.

REBECCAFive screen tests for Hitchock’s 1940 classic, with comments by David O. Selznick.

CHARACTERS: BABY ROSALIEIn a daffy send-up of Shirley Temple, June Preisser plays an aging child star in MGM's let's-put-on-a-show musical, Babes in Arms (1939).

PRESTON STURGESSnippets of dialogue from six of the writer/director’s best films.

ANSELMO BALLESTEROur gallery of ten striking one sheets from the Italian poster artist.

GREAT MOVIESCelebrating the cool jazz short, Jammin’ the Blues (1944).

BETTY HUTTONTwelve films that exemplify the charms of this freakishly energetic performer.

JOSEPH L. MANKIEWICZSmart dialogue from the Oscar-winning screenwriter.

DESERT NOIROur report from this year’s Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival in Palm Springs.

RED DREAM FACTORYWe profile eight films from a unique Russian-German film studio of the twenties and thirties.

« November 2 | Main | November 1 »
Tuesday
Nov012011

Essential Hawks

“A good movie is three good scenes and no bad scenes,” declared Howard Hawks, arguably the most diverse of the great directors. In a career consisting of 47 films over the course of six decades, Hawks made successful pictures in several genres, including screwball comedy, western, gangster, musical and film noir. Here’s a baker’s dozen that any Hawks scholar should have under his belt.

Scarface: Shame of a Nation
Paul Muni stars as Tony Camonte, a gangster on the rise in Hawks’s take on Al Capone. A second ending dealing with Camonte’s sentencing and hanging was shot to quell censor concerns that Tony had gotten away with his crimes; Shame of a Nation was tacked on to the title counter any perceived glamorization of Tony’s deeds.
“It is a stirring picture, efficiently directed and capably acted, but as was once said of The Covered Wagon, that it was all very well if you liked wagons, so this is an excellent diversion for those who like to take an afternoon or an evening off to study the activities of cowardly thugs.”
— Film critic Mordaunt Hall, New York Times
Scarface was really the story of Al Capone. When I asked Ben Hecht to write it, he said, ‘Oh, we don’t want to do a gangster picture.’ And I said, ‘Well, this is a little different. I would like to do the Capone family as if they were the Borgias set down in Chicago.’ And he said, ‘We’ll start tomorrow.’ We took eleven days to write the story and dialogue. We were influenced a good deal by the incestuous elements in the story of the Borgias. We made the brother-sister relationship clearly incestuous. But the censors misunderstood our intention and objected to it because they thought the relationship between them was too beautiful to be attributed to a gangster. We had a scene in which Muni told his sister that he loved her, and we couldn’t play it in full light. We would up playing it in silhouette against a curtain with the light coming from outside. It was a little bit too intimate to show faces—you wouldn’t dare take a chance.”
— Howard Hawks, in an interview with Peter Bogdanovich

Twentieth Century (1934)
Broadway producer Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore) needs a hit and calls upon film movie star and ex-lover Lily Garland (Carole Lombard) to return to the stage in one of his shows. Barrymore called this his favorite movie of his and Oscar Jaffe “a role that comes once in a lifetime.”
“As a vainglorious stage producer, John Barrymore is in fine fettle in Twentieth Century, a pictorial adaptation of the Hecht-MacArthur play, which is now decorating the Radio City Music Hall screen. And if it be said that it is his best performance since the one he gave in the film Reunion in Vienna it is by no means casting any reflections on his work in the interim, but merely that here he has a role with which  to conjure, one that calls for a definite characterization notwithstanding the farcical interludes. Even during the repetitious mad moments of the tale, Mr. Barrymore acts with such imagination and zest that he never fails to keep the picture thoroughly alive.”
— Film critic Mordaunt Hall, New York Times
“Lombard had never done that kind of comedy before, but I cast her because I’d seen her at a party with a couple of drinks in her and she was hilarious and uninhibited and just what the part needed. But when she came on the set she was emoting all over the place. She was trying very hard, but it was just dreadful. Barrymore was very patient and we tried it a few times but she was so stilted and stiff. Then I said to her, ‘Come on, let’s take a walk,’ and we went outside, and I asked her how much money she was getting for the picture. She told me and I said, ‘What would you say if I told you that you’d earned your whole salary this morning and didn’t have to act anymore?’ Ands she was stunned. So I said, ‘Now forget about that scene; what would you do if I said such and such to you?’ And she said, ‘I’d kick him in the stomach.’ And I said, ‘Well, he said something like that to you, why don’t you kick him?’ And she said, ‘Are you kidding?’ And I said, ‘No.’ So we went back on the set and I gave her some time to think it over and then we tried that scene and we did one take and that was it. And afterwards, Barrymore said, ‘That was fabulous!’ And she burst into tears and ran off the set. She never began a picture that she didn’t send me a telegram saying, ‘I’m gonna start kicking him.’”
— Howard Hawks, in an interview with Peter Bogdanovich

Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Capricious heiress Katharine Hepburn and pet leopard Baby get in the way of paleontologist Cary Grant securing a $1 million donation to his museum. Grants character was modeled after silent film star Harold Lloyd, right down to the eyeglasses.
“A perfect example of why directors (and even us brilliant professional critics) can often be completely in the dark about what works.”
— Film critic Joshua Rothkopt, Time Out New York
“I think the picture had a great fault and I learned an awful lot from it. There were no normal people in it. Everyone you met was a screwball. Since that time I have learned my lesson and I don’t intend ever again to make everybody crazy. If the gardener had been normal, if the sheriff had been just a perplexed man from the country—but as it was they were all way off center. And it was a mistake that I realized after I mad it and I haven’t made it since.”
— Howard Hawks, in an interview with Peter Bogdanovich

Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
Air freight company pilots in a South American port take on risky assignments in order to secure a lucrative contract. Cary Grant and Jean Arthur star alongside Richard Barthelmess, who, in real life, had deep scars dues to an inflection from plastic surgery. Hawks wanted no attempt to hide the scars for the film, explaining to the actor that “those scars tell the story and are important to your character.”
“When you add it all up, Only Angels Have Wings comes to an overly familiar total. It's a fairly good melodrama, nothing more.”
— Film critic Frank S. Nugent, New York Times
“Life is very simple for most people. It becomes so routine that everybody wants to escape his environment. Adventure stories reveal how people behave in the face of death—what they do, say, feel ad even think. I have always like the scene in Only Angels Have Wings in which a man says, ‘I feel funny,’ and his best friend says ‘your neck is broken,’ and the injured man then says “I have always wondered how I would die if I knew I was going to die. I would rather you didn’t watch me.’ And the friend goes out and stands in the rain. I have personally encountered this experience, and the public found it very convincing.”
— Howard Hawks, in an interview with Jacques Becker, Jacques Rivette and François Truffaut

His Girl Friday (1940)
Newspaper editor Walter Burns (Cary Grant) tries to keep his ex-wife, reporter Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell), from retiring from the paper and marrying her fiancé, Ralph Bellamy look-alike Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy). This is one of the earliest examples of overlapping dialogue in a major motion picture.
“A frenetic movie about attraction, ambition, and work that hasn't lost a step—it's funny, and not in that appreciative-titter "Ah, that was the Golden Age" way. The play was punched up by Charles Lederer and Morrie Ryskind—with Grant and Russell ad-libbing like mad. Hawks set out to break the land-speed record for dialogue, and annihilated it in a run-on of overlapping lines (W. Winchell had been proposed to play Walter, and his staccato delivery found its way in). The movie bears reviewing because there's always something new in the confetti of one-liners, while its depiction of the Fourth Estate remains relevant: "Take Hitler and stick him on the funny page! . . . Keep the rooster story—that's human interest.’”
— Film critic Nick Pinkerton, The Village Voice
“I was telling half a dozen people that the finest dialogue of the times came from Hecht and MacArthur. The hardest, quickest, funniest dialogue. And to prove it after dinner we got up. I had two copies of The Front Page and I gave one to a girl and I said, ‘You read the reporter; I’ll read the other part.’ And in the middle of it I said, ‘My God, the lines are better coming from a girl.’ So after a few days I ran into Harry Cohn and I said, ‘You said anytime you want to make a picture…I want to make one.’ He said, ‘Good, you started today.’ And I said, ‘No, I started a long time ago. I’m going to do Front Page.’ ‘A remake?’ he said. I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘You don’t want to do that.’ ‘OK, Harry, I’ll go some other place. I’ve already bought the story.’ ‘Now wait a minute, wait a minute, if you want to do it, do it.” And he said, ‘Walter Winchell could play the editor and Cary Grant could play the reporter.’ And I said, ‘You’re batting pretty well. You’re .500.’ ‘Why?’ he said. And I said, ‘Cary Grant. I’ll get him to play the editor and a girl to play the reporter.’ ‘Are you nuts?’ he said. Well, we made it and it was a very successful picture.”
— Howard Hawks, in an interview with Tony Macklin

Sergeant York (1941)
World War I hero Alvin C. York allowed for his life to be made into a movie on the condition that Gary Cooper play him. York, informed that Cooper was, at 40, more than 10 years too old to play the soldier, held fast. Hollywood eventually saw it York’s way, the movie went in front of the cameras and Cooper went on the win the Oscar for Best Actor.
“The performance of Gary Cooper in the title role holds the picture together magnificently, and even the most unfavorable touches are made palatable because of him. He is the gaunt, clumsy yokel, the American hayseed to the life—the proud, industrious, honest, simple citizen who marches in the forefront of this nation's ranks.”
— Film critic Bosley Crowther, New York Times
“One of the best things in the picture was the mother who didn’t do much talking. The writers had given her a lot of great lines and I kept taking them away from her and finally I said, ‘I know what we’re after—I want somebody who doesn’t talk.’ ‘That I can understand,’ she said. But they’re very childlike, those people, they’re extremely backward—the little scenes in the store indicated that—so you are not treating a sophisticated man—he was bewildered. And we tried to show a bewildered man. I don’t attempt to preach or prove anything—I just figure out what I think was in the man and tell it. [Alvin York’s] comment was interesting. He said, ‘I supplied the tree and Hawks put the leaves on it.’ I thought it was kind of a nice comment.”
— Howard Hawks, in an interview with Peter Bogdanovich

Ball of Fire (1941)
A group of professors writing a set of encyclopedias decides to explore the world of slang and end up entangled with band singer Sugarpuss O’Shea (Barbara Stanwyck) with ties to the mob. Screenwriters Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett went to a racetrack, a burlesque house and Hollywood High to pick up authentic-sounding lingo.
“As usual in a Samuel Goldwyn picture, the production is excellent, and Howard Hawks has kept the whole thing moving at accelerated pace for nigh two hours. That is an awfully long time to drag out a single-note plot, but, oddly enough, it works. Mr. Goldwyn has turned out a very nice comedy, indeed, and old Geoffrey Chaucer must be gulping rather limply at the bottom of his well.”
— Film critic Bosley Crowther, New York Times
“That picture was very funny. [Charles] Brackett and [Billy] Wilder are marvelous writers and they told me a story about seven professors. And I went fishing down in Florida and came back and they hadn’t done anything with the story. And I said, ‘What the devil is the matter with you?’ ‘We don’t know what we’re telling.’ I said, ‘It was your story from the beginning.’ ‘I know but we don’t know what we’re telling.’ I said ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.’ And they looked at me and said, ‘Oh, for Christ’s sake.’ And they didn’t ask me another question and they went out and wrote it. The gangster was the big, bad wolf and Snow White was the girl singing with a band. They wrote it for a striptease dancer and a burlesque show worker. I went backstage in a burlesque show and I said ‘I’ve never smelt smells or seen people as dirty as this bunch,’ you know. They wanted to do that so I got a good bunch of musicians like Gene Krupa to work with.”
— Howard Hawks, in an interview with Peter Lehman

To Have and Have Not (1944)
The plot is about an American expatriate transporting a Free French Resistance leader and his wife to Martinique. But the movie is about the auspicious film debut of Lauren Bacall and the palpable chemistry between her and Humphrey Bogart. For that alone, this is historic viewing.
“The scenes between Bogart and Bacall are so dazzlingly about attraction and sex that they encapsulate the whole magic of movies.”
— Film critic Douglas Pratt, Hollywood Reporter
“Now Hemingway, I wanted him to write for me because I said, ‘Ernest, I can make a picture out of any damn thing you write, even out of To Have and Have Not.’ ‘Oh, you can’t make a picture out of that junk. You couldn’t do it.’ And I said, ‘OK, what about the relationship between Harry and the girl? It’s a great relationship, isn’t it?’ He said ‘Yes.’ I said ‘How did they meet?’ So we sat around for a week or ten days to figure out how they met. And I made the movie and saw Ernest and I said, ‘Now the fellow paid you ten thousand dollars for doing it. I paid him eighty thousand to buy it from you and I sold it to Warner Bros. for half the profits of the picture, and I made about a million and a half.’ He wouldn’t talk to me for a year and a half.”
— Howard Hawks, in an interview with Tony Macklin

The Big Sleep (1946)
Detective Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) is hired to solve a mystery so convoluted that even the people who wrote it—Raymond Chandler and William Faulkner included—couldn’t figure it out. With Lauren Bacall on hand, perhaps it doesn’t really matter.
“Don’t try too hard to follow the story, just get swept away by the mood of the film. Revel in watching Bogie and Bacall (married by the time the additional scenes were shot) interact. Enjoy the stunning costumes, the crisp cinematography, the snappy script, the brilliant Max Steiner score.”
— Film critic Eric Brace, Washington Post
“I never could figure the story out. I read it and was delighted by it. The scenario took eight days to write, and all we were trying to do was make every scene entertain. We didn’t know about the story. They asked me who killed such and such a man—I didn’t know. They sent a wire to the author—he didn’t know. They sent a wire to the scenario writer and he didn’t know. But it didn’t stop the picture from being very fast and very entertaining. Then, when the picture was getting ready to go to New York, the publicity man said, ‘Howard, what will I tell them about this picture?’ And I said, ‘Well, tell them it’s kind of interesting because it’s told from the point of view of the detective and there are no red herrings. And if anybody can follow the plot they have to follow what he’s thinking.’ And I can’t, and he can’t, so an audience might be amused. The picture turned out to be very good from an audience standpoint. And it disarmed the critics because they were trying to be as smart as the fellow in the picture and they ended up being no smarter.”
— Howard Hawks, in an interview with Peter Bogdanovich

Red River (1948)
A cattle drive along the Chisholm Trail is the backdrop for conflict between a rancher (John Wayne) and his adopted son (Montgomery Clift). The film’s release was delayed for two years due to a legal challenge from Howard Hughes, who claimed Red River was too similar to his 1943 film, The Outlaw.
Red  River is one of the greatest of all westerns when it stays with its central story about an older man and a younger one, and the first cattle drive down the Chisholm Trail. It is only in its few scenes involving women that it goes wrong.”
— Film critic Roget Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
“Wayne was trying a little too hard in Red River, and I said. ‘Look, don’t, this is just a story. Wait until I tell you, and then you try. Because if you do two good scenes in the picture and don’t annoy the audience the rest of the time, you’ll be good. If I can do five good scenes in the picture and not annoy the audience, I’ll have done my job as a director.’ After that he always used to say, ‘Is this the one where I try?’ He took that to heart, and he tells people that. He told it to [John] Ford, and Ford quit trying on the little scenes, just went over them easy.”
— Howard Hawks, in an interview with Tony Macklin

I Was a Male War Bride (1949)
Cary Grant dons drag and slogs through military red tape in order to join wife Ann Sheridan in the United States. Hawk’s first film shot in Europe was no picnic, with a bitterly cold German winter, Sheridan coming down with Pneumonia, Grant contracting hepatitis and Hawks breaking out in hives.
“The illusion of spontaneity that accumulates in the last half is entirely appropriate to the nonsense that glibly and haphazardly occurs. And even a moderate lot of misses with the slapstick flow naturally with the hits.”
— Film critic Bosley Crowther, New York Times
“We had a scene where Cary as a French captain had to answer questions from an American sergeant that would usually be asked of a little French girl who is marrying a GI; such questions as ‘You ever had female trouble?’ and ‘Have you ever been pregnant?’ and all kinds of ridiculous questions. We looked forward t making the scene. We got up to making it and it wasn’t funny at all. We didn’t know what was the matter. And Cary said, ‘It’s falling flat, isn’t it?’ And I said, ‘It certainly is.’ I don’t know where the suggestion came from that a man like Cary Grant would be amused at the sergeant having to ask him these silly questions: ‘Oh, sergeant, female troubles? I’ve had them all.’ All of a sudden, ‘We can do that, we can do that,’ and he got over in the corner with the sergeant who was asking and in two or three minutes the scene became very, very funny because the sergeant was embarrassed and Cary was having fun with him. We had started an entirely different scene. I remember making a scene with him one time where he said, ‘How is that?’ And I said, ‘Pretty dull.’ ‘Why does it go wrong?’ And I said, ‘The way you’re getting mad, you’re getting mad like an ordinary person. Let’s find some different way of getting mad.’ And we started trying different ways. And then somebody said, ‘I know a fellow who when he got mad used to whinny like a horse.’ Cary said, ‘That’s fine, I’ll do that.’ And we did that. That’s attitude. That’s what I call attitude, you know, toward a scene.”
— Howard Hawks, in an interview with James Silke

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
A private detective follows two singers, Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) and Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell), to Paris in order to keep an eye on Lorelei for her fiancé’s father. Told she was not the only star of the movie, Monroe is reported to have remarked, “Well, whatever I am, I’m still the blonde.”
“There is that about Miss Russell and also about Miss Monroe that keeps you looking at them even when they have little or nothing to do. Call it inherent magnetism. Call it luxurious coquetry. Call it whatever you fancy. It's what makes this a—well, a buoyant show.”
— Film critic Bosley Crowther, New York Times
“To me [Monroe and Russell] were very amusing and it was a complete caricature, a travesty on sex. It didn’t have normal sex. Jane Russell was supposed to represent sanity and Marilyn played a girl who was solely concerned with marrying for money. She had her own little odd code and she lived by it. The child was the most mature one on board the ship, and I think he was a lot of fun. We purposely made the picture as laud and bright as we could, and completely vulgar in costumes and everything. No attempt at reality. We were doing a musical comedy, pure and simple.”
— Howard Hawks, in an interview with Peter Bogdanovich

Rio Bravo (1959)
Hawks wanted Elvis for the role eventually played by Ricky Nelson who appears alongside Dean Martin, Walter Brennan and Angie Dickinson. John Wayne plays the small-town sheriff trying to keep the bad guys from breaking a prisoner out of jail.
“To watch Rio Bravo is to see a master craftsman at work. The film is seamless. There is not a shot that is wrong. It is uncommonly absorbing, and the 141-minute running time flows past like running water. It contains one of John Wayne’s best performances.”
— Film critic Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
“It started with some scenes in a picture called High Noon (1951), in which Gary Cooper ran around trying to get help and no one would give him any. And that’s a rather silly thing for a man to do, especially since at the end of the picture he is able to do the job by himself. So I said, we’ll just do the opposite, and take a real professional viewpoint: as Wayne says when he’s offered help, ‘If they’re really good, I’ll take them. If not, I’ll just have to take care of them.’ We did everything that way, the exact opposite. It annoyed me in High Noon so I tried the opposite and it worked, and people liked it.”
— Howard Hawks, in an interview with Peter Bogdanovich

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