Thursday, 13 August 2009

Howard Hawks, scene 1

Howard Hawks is my favourite filmmaker, above and beyond anyone else. It is partly something I can discuss and explain, but there is an extra level of personal connection which I can neither discuss nor explain. Today I want to show a scene from Only Angels Have Wings (1939). It is probably my favourite scene from any of Hawks's films. And it is also the quintessential Hawks scene, visually as well as thematically. The focus on music for teambuilding. The woman showing the man that she is his equal. The easy interaction among all involved. Grant saying "You better be good." to Jean Arthur, and later asking for a match. And it is so warm and tender, with the underlining tragedy not visible if you do not know the story, but so very palpable if you do know it. These are things (as is the low hanging lamp in the foreground) which are repeated again and again in the films of Hawks. And it is all there, these two minutes being perhaps the most complete auteur statement in cinema history.