Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Posts tagged “Sergeant York (1941)

Howard Hawks

Howard Winchester Hawks (May 30, 1896–December 26, 1977) was an American film director, producer and screenwriter of the classic Hollywood era. He is popular for his films from a wide range of genres such as Scarface (1932), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), His Girl Friday (1940), Sergeant York (1941), To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), Red River (1948), The Thing from Another World (1951), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), and Rio Bravo (1959).

In 1975, Hawks was awarded the Honorary Academy Award as “a master American filmmaker whose creative efforts hold a distinguished place in world cinema,” after the Academy did what it has a reputation of doing, not recognising exceptional talent at the time, although he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director for Sergeant York in 1942.

The Thing from Another World (often referred to as The Thing before its 1982 remake), is a 1951 science fiction film based on the 1938 novella “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell. It tells the story of an Air Force crew and scientists at a remote Arctic research outpost who are forced to defend themselves from a malevolent plant-based alien being. It stars Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan and James Arness, who played The Thing, but he is difficult to recognize in costume and makeup, due to both the lighting and other effects used to obscure his features. No actors are named during the film’s dramatic opening credits; the cast credits appear at the end of the film. In 2001 the film was deemed to be a “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant motion picture by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

There is debate as to whether the film was directed by Hawks with Christian Nyby receiving the credit so that Nyby could obtain his Director’s Guild membership, or whether Nyby directed it with considerable input in both screenplay and advice in directing from producer Hawks, although Hawks denied that he directed the film.

Cast members disagree on Hawks’ and Nyby’s contributions. Tobey said that “Hawks directed it, all except one scene” while, on the other hand, Fenneman said that “Hawks would once in a while direct, if he had an idea, but it was Chris’ show”, and Cornthwaite said that “Chris always deferred to Hawks, … Maybe because he did defer to him, people misinterpreted it.” Although Self has said that “Hawks was directing the picture from the sidelines”, he also has said that “Chris would stage each scene, how to play it. But then he would go over to Howard and ask him for advice, which the actors did not hear … Even though I was there every day, I don’t think any of us can answer the question. Only Chris and Howard can answer the question.”

Rio Bravo is a 1959 American Western film, directed by Howard Hawks, starring John Wayne, Dean Martin, and Ricky Nelson. Rio Bravo is generally regarded as one of Hawks’ best, and is notable for its scarcity of close-up shots. The film was made as a response to High Noon, which is sometimes thought to be an allegory for blacklisting in Hollywood, as well as a critique of McCarthyismWayne called High Noon “un-American”, and as a riposte, teamed up with director Howard Hawks to tell the story his way. In Rio Bravo, Wayne’s character Chance is surrounded by allies—a deputy recovering from alcoholism (Dude), a young gunfighter (Colorado), an old man (Stumpy), a Mexican innkeeper (Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez), his wife, and an attractive young woman, and repeatedly turns down aid from anyone he doesn’t think is capable of helping him, though in the final shootout they come to help him anyway.

Hawks’ directorial style and the use of natural, conversational dialogue in his films were cited a major influence on many noted filmmakers, including Robert Altman, John Carpenter, Quentin Tarantino, and Brian De Palma, who dedicated his version of Scarface to Hawks.