We all remember the classic Hollywood era: glamour, great filmmakers, stories with the essence of valor, with the epic of the dramatic tragedy, with illusions of and for the people. It was a great period, maybe the best period for the cinema and for the years that became cinema an art into arts, the art of the 20th century.
Howard Winchester Hawks (May 30, 1896–December 26, 1977) was one the most representatives filmmakers in this period together with Houston, Welles and a never-ending list of great talents and personalities. Curiously, it wasn’t Hawks the director of the Maltese Falcon, the film that discovered for us that movies are from “the stuff that dreams are made of”. Hawks directed that classic film with Bogart and Bacall with a screenplay of Hemingway To Have and Have Not (1944), a not so good novel but a really great film because they could join the emerging talents… and they three went back together two years later to film The Big Sleep (1946) with dialogues of… respect, admiration… the great Nobel Prize William Faulkner.
There was the time for great studios that made great films in the great paradox of the producers. Jack Warner uses to say: ‘I don’t want it good. I want it Tuesday.’ But well, that Tuesday the Warner Brothers opened a marvelous movie, again and again. There were times for great actors too, actors that became into their own characters that became their blood and their souls into stars to admire for years. You could watch them as strong as an ox and watching them minutes later falling in love and smoking, always smoking because smoke is a metaphor of cinema too: smoke disappears as fast as the movie finish and the bright stars will fall into horizon in ninety minutes.
Howard Hawks was nominated just once for the Oscars (in 1942 for Sergeant York) and he lost but he received the Honorary Academy Award in 1975. Well, it’s not a surprising fact, Hitchcock or Welles never won an Oscar. Who matters? You can take a look at the winners of those years and, sincerely, I cannot remember most films that won the Oscar for Best Film but I can still remember Marilyn Monroe singing with Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Diamonds Are The Best Girl’s Friend with a pink dress.
More than one century after its birth, today we wanted to remember to this great filmmaker that made us dream in company of the stars, together with the people “that dreams are made of”.
Thanks, Mr Hawks.