Saturday, 14 January 2012

Henry Hathaway (part 3)

I wrote a post about Henry Hathaway last summer (link here) and I began by saying that very little had been written about him, and that he was not in the least appreciated as much as he should be. Since then I have seen ever more of his films and become more impressed by his talents and his consistency. Let me just mention two films today, The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) and Souls at Sea (1937), as being among his very best. Souls at Sea is especially impressive visually. The immense depth of field, the low ceilings and the alternations between small cramped spaces with, almost unnaturally, vast spaces are as impressive as in Citizen Kane (1941, i.e. made four years later) and I think it is about time to say that the working relationship between Henry Hathaway and cinematographer Charles Lang is one of the most important and artistically satisfying partnerships in cinema history.

I will eventually elaborate on that later on but for now I will just post links to a collection of online material about him. These are essays, reviews and comments that in some way are related to him or his films. I might not agree with everything they say, but they all bring something valid to the discussion.

The first one is by Dan Sallitt, who primarily discusses Home in Indiana (1944) and From Hell to Texas (1958).

This is a short piece by Richard T. Jameson about Hathaway in general.

Hathaway has not got his own entry at Senses of Cinema, but there is an essay there, by Pedro Blas Gonzalez, about Seven Thieves (1960).

Mike Grost has a summary of common features in Hathaway's films on his website.

And finally, a favourite. In 1965 Joan Didion wrote an essay about John Wayne (John Wayne: a Love Song), but since it is mostly about the making of Hathaway's The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) it deserves to be included here as well.

For those who want to read on paper, there are overviews of Hathaway's career in Jean-Pierre Coursodon and Pierre Sauvage's American Directors Volume 1 and in the first volume of World Film Directors, edited by John Wakeman.

And here are my two earlier posts on Hathaway:
2013-08-04, yet another of my writing on Hathaway:
A new piece, about Souls at Sea.

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