Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hawks on Hawks reissued

The University Press of Kentucky has just reissued Hawks on Hawks, by Joseph McBride, as part of its screen classics series.

Howard Hawks (1896-1977) is often credited as being the most versatile of all of the great American directors, having worked with equal ease in screwball comedies, westerns, gangster movies, musicals, and adventure films. He directed an impressive number of Hollywood's greatest stars -- including Louise Brooks, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Rosalind Russell, and Marilyn Monroe. Some of his most celebrated films include Scarface (1932), Bringing Up Baby (1938), The Big Sleep (1946), Red River (1948), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), and Rio Bravo (1959).

Hawks on Hawks draws on interviews that author and film historian Joseph McBride conducted with the director over the course of seven years, giving rare insight into Hawks' artistic philosophy, his relationships with the stars, and his position in an industry that was then rapidly changing. In its new edition, this classic book is both an account of the film legend's life and work and a guidebook on how to make movies.

"I read Hawks on Hawks with passion. I am very happy that this book exists." -- François Truffaut.

"[D]ifferent from most film books about personalities.... The author really knew Howard Hawks, interviewed the crusty old director; the crust and insight come through in these interviews. There are going to be many biographies of Howard Hawks, but they will all lean heavily on this book; the pioneer so honestly reveals himself and the people with whom he worked." -- Los Angeles Times

More about the author: Joseph McBride is an American film historian, biographer, screenwriter, and professor in the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University. McBride has published seventeen books since 1968, including the acclaimed biographies Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success (1992; 2000) and Searching for John Ford (2001). McBride's other books include: Orson Welles (1972; 1996), The Book of Movie Lists: An Offbeat, Provocative Collection of the Best and Worst of Everything in Movies (1999), and What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career (2006).

McBride's screenwriting credits include the movies Rock 'n' Roll High School and five American Film Institute Life Achievement Award specials dealing with Fred Astaire, Frank Capra, Lillian Gish, John Huston, and James Stewart. McBride plays a film critic, Mr. Pister, in the legendary unfinished Orson Welles feature The Other Side of the Wind (1970-76). McBride is also the coproducer of the documentaries Obsessed with "Vertigo": New Life for Hitchcock's Masterpiece (1997) and John Ford Goes to War (2002).

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