Howard Hawks (Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series)

Howard Hawks (Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series)

Robin Wood

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 0814332765

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Prolific director Howard Hawks made films in nearly every genre, from gangster movies like Scarface to comedies like Bringing Up Baby and Monkey Business and westerns like Rio Bravo. In this new edition of a classic text, author Robin Wood explores the ways in which Hawks pushed the boundaries of each genre and transformed the traditional forms in new, interesting, and creative ways. This reprint also contains an exciting new introduction by Wood, which shows how his thinking about Hawks has deepened over time without fundamentally changing.

Since its original publication in 1972, Wood's Howard Hawks has set the terms for virtually all subsequent discussions of the director. The provocative chapters demonstrate the ways in which Hawks's films were affected by the director's personality and way of looking at and feeling things, and by his celebration of instinct, self-respect, group responsibility, and male camaraderie. Wood's connections between the professionalism of Hawks's action films and comedies, with their "lure of irresponsibility," has become a standard way of conceptualizing Hawks's films and the model to which all later critical work has had to respond. This book remains as contemporary as when it was first released, although it is grounded in the auteur period of its publication.

Robin Wood has stubbornly resisted the trends of academic film studies and in so doing has remained one of its most influential voices. Certain to be of interest to film scholars and students, this book will also be particularly useful as a text for university courses on Hawks, popular cinema, and authorship in film.

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erupts after long suppression, which are perfectly valid emotionally, but which Zinnemann relentlessly turns into cliche-melodrama with his academically conceived jumps into close-up at the most obvious moments, his insistence on acting that is conventional in the worst sense (it isn't the actors' fault), the obviousness of gesture and expression exactly corresponding to the obviousness of the editing. Judgements of this kind are notoriously difficult to enforce when dealing with the cinema (how

unquestioningly, without fuss, and alone, even in the teeth of hopeless odds. Dude's intervention sets the pattern for the whole film, where at every crisis Chance is saved by assistance he hasn't asked for or has rejected; but its motivation is equally fundamental to the spirit of the film. When Chance prevented Dude from taking the coin from the spittoon, Dude was made conscious of his degradation; his beating-up by Joe intensifies this consciousness. Above all, he is confronted by two

every other man to do the right thing at the right time.' Against Winocki is set the Mary Ann's navigator, son of a famous flier, who wanted to be a pilot but who accepts his role as a unit of the group, and whose personal triumph comes when he finds the airfield on Wake Island through almost impenetrable storm-clouds. Winocki's individualism is at first aggressive and destructive; we trace the process, not of its suppression, but of its conversion into a positive force. It is Winocki who accepts

particularly strong in the scene where, after he is wounded, she warms him by holding him to her-a gesture that has great force when one recalls her extreme physical reticence earlier. In both cases, communication is exclusively and intensely physical. This is indeed likely to be the case with a woman who can't speak the men's language, but in any event touch counts for a great deal in Hawks's films. One feels in I Was a Male War Bride how important a moment it is when Cary Grant rubs Ann

particularly strong in the scene where, after he is wounded, she warms him by holding him to her-a gesture that has great force when one recalls her extreme physical reticence earlier. In both cases, communication is exclusively and intensely physical. This is indeed likely to be the case with a woman who can't speak the men's language, but in any event touch counts for a great deal in Hawks's films. One feels in I Was a Male War Bride how important a moment it is when Cary Grant rubs Ann

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