How much did you know about the legendary director?
That’s our man, Howard Hawks, above counseling Angie Dickinson on the set of the director’s (he was also the producer) western Rio Bravo. (Dickinson played a character designated as “Feathers.”)
RIO BRAVO (March 18, 1959)
Because of the cast presence of Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson, the picture included three songs on the soundtrack. This flummoxed some critics when it came out, but not British critic David Thomson, who writes that ‘Rio Bravo’ shows us a Wayne and Dean Martin hardly recognized by other directors.
As with much of highly diversified body of work, the picture has grown in esteem in the years since its release. Ok, on to the answers to our Howard Hawks Quiz.
1) Question: One of Hawks’ most notable outings, 1932’s Scarface starring Paul Muni as a Chicago gangster (the characterization inspired by Al Capone), was coproduced by Hawks and a fairly new man-about-Hollywood. Can you identify this fellow (hint: he later became the head of RKO).
Answer: Howard Hughes. It was the young producer Hughes (above) who hired Hawks to direct Scarface, starring Paul Muni. Hughes later took over RKO in 1948, and erratically mis-managed the studio until 1955, about five years before RKO ceased to exist.
2) Question: Hawks never married because he believed, as did many of the characters he directed did, that skirmishing with a romantic partner was a prelude to disillusion. a) True; or b) False.
Answer: b) False. Hawks, quite the ladies man, was married three times. His first wife was the sister of Norma Shearer. His second spouse, Slim Keith, was a stylish woman, considered a fashion icon.
3) Question: The pairing (and budding offscreen romance) of Humphrey Bogart and a very young Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not was virtually repeated by two costars in Hawks’ most famous western, Red River. Who were the actors involved in the second film?
Answer: John Ireland (seen above left) and Joanne Dru. The two married the year after Red River was released, beginning a union that lasted eight years. (By the way, that’s Montgomery Clift in the middle.)
4) Question: Hawks was a keen judge of onscreen talent. Which of the following performers were discovered or brought to professional life by the director. a) Louise Brooks; b) Jane Russell; c) Boris Karloff; or d) James Caan.
Answer: This is another of our patented trick questions. ALL of the above professionally profited from working with Hawks.
5) Question: Hawks was a drinking buddy of a prominent American novelist, who co-wrote scripts for at least two of the directors’ movies. Who is this famous novelist? a) Ernest Hemingway; b) John Steinbeck; c) William Faulkner; or d) J.D. Salinger.
Answer: c) William Faulkner.