Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Henry Hathaway, afterthoughts

It just occurred to me that in my essay on Henry Hathaway I had almost completely forgotten to mention the actors and actresses Hathaway worked with, or the writers. Even though I regard him as primarily a visual artist, and that the importance of his films lies in the images, I shouldn't neglect the rest. He was for example particularly fond of the writer Grover Jones who, among others, wrote The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, Trail of the Lonesome Pine and The Shepherd of the Hills. And some of Hathaway's later westerns were written by Marguerite Roberts. But Hathaway didn't like dialogue, he wanted to keep it down. Although in some of his films there are some lengthy pieces of expository dialogue which damages the flow of both the individual scene and sometimes the film. Maybe that was when the writer was too strong so Hathaway couldn't ignore him or her.

As for actors he did many films with Gary Cooper, and many with Tyrone Power, and he was equally good with actresses, such as Susan Hayward and Gene Tierney. And, as Blake Lucas just pointed out, Harry Carey is fantastic in The Shepherd of the Hills.

There's a lot more to say, and I would like to engage with the theme of revenge that is so common in Hathaway's films. To see how he works with that and if and how it changes over time. In short, there's a lot of work still to do.

2013-08-04 Here are links to my other posts on Hathaway:
2013-11-26, a new piece, about Souls at Sea.

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