Monday, 14 September 2009

Howard Hawks, scene 2

Perhaps the most important thing about Hawks, and one of the things which make him not only so good, but also so unusual, is how he does not really care about story, plot, genre conventions or other superfluous things. Watching people's behaviour under stress is what he is interested in, and making scenes that are playful, personal and improvised, scenes which do not drive the film forward but are only there because they are fun, and explains and deepens the characters. Here is a brilliant example from The Big Sleep (1946). Bogart is Philip Marlowe, private detective, and Bacall is Vivian Rutledge, suspect and love interest.

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