Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood

The French aren’t always nuts when they discover an American genius. In 1953, the Cahiers du Cinema crowd proclaimed Howard Hawks a great auteur director. American critics quickly took up the cause, and by the time he died in 1977, Hawks was mantled in legend. It took some time, because he was a laconic man (”the Gary Cooper of directors”) who not only didn’t talk about artistic aims but wouldn’t admit to having any. Unlike Ford or Hitchcock, he didn’t have a genre specialty or a signature style. It’s not easy to say what makes a film by Hawks a Hawks film, but Todd McCarthy does a good job in Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood of distilling not so much a style as an unflinching philosophy of life — an ”assertion of intelligence over dumb brute force” in a universe stacked in favor of such — from movies as diverse as Scarface and Bringing Up Baby. He gives us the stoic, comic essence of Hawks and his films. A

Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood
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