Howard Hawks, one of Hollywood's most versatile but least celebrated directors, whose classics range from "Sergeant York" to "His Girl Friday", is having a two-part festival that continues through July 2 at the American Film Institute's AFI Silver Theatre near D.C.
"Howard Hawks, Part 2" includes:
- Two Bogart-Bacall classics "To Have and Have Not" and "The Big Sleep" in its restored pre-release version.
- "Red River", which many regard as Hawks' best film, established John Wayne as a star. Wayne is in "Rio Bravo" and "El Dorado" in Part 2.
- "The Big Sky", a western set in 1816, starring Kirk Douglas.
- "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell.
- "I Was A Male War Bride", with Cary Grant as a bride in one of his funniest roles.
Hawks is "the supreme storyteller and entertainer. He's just too damn enjoyable," said writer-director Quentin Tarantino, who won his second Best Screenwriter Golden Globe on Jan. 13.
However, Hawks never won an Oscar®, and was nominated only once, for "Sergeant York". Hawks directed five different actors in Oscar-winning performances.
But the Academy finally awarded him an honorary Oscar in 1975 as "A master American filmmaker whose creative efforts hold a distinguished place in world cinema."
Hawks began in the film business as a prop man during summer breaks from Cornell University, where he studied mechanical engineering and architecture. When an art director was away on location, Hawks built a set for Douglas Fairbanks.
"Fairbanks was pleased with it. We became friends, and that was really the start," Hawks said, according to a bio on imdb.com.
During World War I, Hawks served as a lieutenant in the Signal Corps and the Army Air Corps in France, and later worked as an aviator and professional race car driver. He also designed race cars, one of which won the Indianapolis 500, the bio said.
He decided to build a career in films, working many jobs including assistant director, casting director, and screenwriter.
Gentlemen and ladies will prefer Hawks' films.
For more info: ""Howard Hawks, Part 2", AFI Silver Theatre, www.afi.com/silver, 8633 Colesville Road at Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland, 301-495-6700. Part 2 continues through July 2. For more info about Howard Hawks, check the American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films.