Howard Hawks – The Big Sleep (1946)


Summoned by the dying General Sternwood, Philip Marlowe is asked to deal with several problems that are troubling his family. Marlowe finds that each problem centers about the disappearance of Sternwood’s favoured employee who has left with a mobster’s wife. Each of the problems becomes a cover for something else as Marlowe probes. Continue reading

Howard Hawks & Richard Rosson – Scarface (1932)


Plot Synopsis [AMG]
Completed in mid-1930, Scarface, based on Armitage Trail’s novel of the same name, might have been the first of the great talkie gangster flicks, but it was held up for release until after that honor was jointly usurped by Little Caesar and Public Enemy. Paul Muni stars as prohibition-era mobster Tony Camonte, a character obviously patterned on Al Capone (whose nickname was “Scarface”). The homicidal Camonte ruthlessly wrests control of the bootlegging racket from his boss, Johnny Lovo (Osgood Perkins), and claims Lovo’s mistress, Poppy (Karen Morley), in the bargain. But while Poppy satisfies him sexually, Tony has a soft spot in his heart only for his sister Cesca (Ann Dvorak). The film’s finale is one of the longest and bloodiest of the 1930s, maintaining suspense and concern for the characters involved even though Muni has deliberately done nothing to make Tony likeable to audience. Continue reading

Howard Hawks & W.S. Van Dyke – The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933)


Plot: Steve is just a heavy duty bartender when Edwin J. Bennett, known as the Professor, starts training him for the ring. While doing road work, he is almost killed by a speeding car which crashes into a ditch. In the car is Belle Mercer and her driver. Steve takes Belle to a farmhouse and is smitten by her, but she is Willie Ryan’s Girl. The fight is a breeze and later, Steve again meets Belle with Willie. That night, Steve and Belle disappear and return married, much to the disappointment of Ryan. Then Steve starts training in ernest and is 19 for 19 in the ring. However, he has an eye for the women and an expanding ego to match. Written by Tony Fontana Continue reading

Howard Hawks – Monkey Business (1952)


Description: Barnaby Fulton is a research chemist working on a fountain of youth pill for a chemical company. While trying a sample dose on himself, he accidentally gets a dose of a mixture added to the water cooler and believes his potion is what is working. The mixture temporarily causes him to feel and act like a teenager, including correcting his vision. When his wife gets a dose that is even larger, she regresses even further into her childhood. When an old boyfriend meets her in this state, he believes that her never wanting to see him again means a divorce and a chance for him. Continue reading

Christian Nyby & Howard Hawks – The Thing from Another World (1951)


A spaceship lands in Arctic wastes, its only passenger a six-and-a-half-foot-tall frozen vegetable with a brain. (“An intellectual carrot — the mind boggles.”) That spells trouble for the small troupe of soldiers and scientists, plus a reporter and the token fabulous babe. Directed by Christian Nyby, The Thing has the hallmarks of movies by producer Howard Hawks: taut, snappy camaraderie and a preference for men of action over men of thought. Whereas 1951’s other big spaceman movie, The Day the Earth Stood Still, took the liberal view that a visitor from another world would be benign, superior and peace-loving, this one suggests an interplanetary Cold War, with a creature (played by James Arness, later Sheriff Matt Dillon of Gunsmoke fame) who’s angry, hungry and hard to reason with. Humankind’s only logical response to this vegetable invader: cook ‘im! (But don’t eat ‘im.) –Richard Corliss, TIme Magazine Continue reading

Howard Hawks – The Big Sleep [Prerelease] (1945)


This is the “prerelease” (1945) version of The Big Sleep. The theatrical version (1946) is already on the tracker here: The Big Sleep
This is the 116 min. version that IMDB calls the director’s cut.

The following describes the main differences between the two versions and why two versions were created:
After the film was completed, it was shelved while Warner Bros. worked to release a backlog of war-related films. It was decided that since the war was drawing to a close, public interest in these films would substantially lessened after its conclusion, whereas The Big Sleep had no such obvious issues of time sensitivity which would require a more immediate release. (A careful eye will spot many indications of The Big Sleep being shot during the war, such as ration stamps and dialogue, and pictures of president Franklin Delano Roosevelt.) Continue reading

Howard Hawks – His Girl Friday (1940)


A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying.

Hildy Johnson has divorced Walter Burns and visits his office to tell him that she is engaged to another man and that they are going to get married the day after. Walter Burns can’t let that happen and frames the other man, Bruce Baldwin, for a lot of stuff getting him into trouble all the time, while he tries to steer Hildy back into her old job as his employee (editor of his newspaper).

Frenzied’s the Word for ‘His Girl Friday,’ a Distaff Edition of ‘The Front Page,’ at the Music Hall
They’ve replated “The Front Page” again, have slapped “His Girl Friday” on the masthead and are running it off at the Music Hall as a special woman’s edition of the frenzied newspaper comedy Hecht and MacArthur first published back in 1931. Hildy Johnson is a girl reporter. She has just been divorced from Managing Editor Walter Burns and is threatening to take the night train to Albany, to matrimony and to Bellamy (Ralph). The celebrated curtain line about the so-and-so’s stealing the watch has gone by the board—the State Censor Board—but they have another just as cute if you can hear it. Continue reading