Monday, December 9, 2013

Highlights from Hawks on Hawks

-       “All I’m doing is telling a story. I don’t analyze or do a lot of thinking about it. I work on the fact that if I like somebody and think they’re attractive, I can make them attractive. If I think a thing’s dramatic, the audience does. I’m very lucky that way. I don’t stop to analyze it. We just made scenes that were fun to do. I think our job is to make entertainment.”

-       “I learned right in the beginning from Jack Ford, and I learned what not to do by watching Cecil DeMille.”

-       “I told John Wayne when we started to work together, “Duke, if you can make three good scenes in this picture and don’t annoy the audience the rest of the time, you’ll be good.” He said, “Do you believe that?” I said, “Yeah. If I make five good scenes in this picture, and don’t annoy the audience, I think I’ll be good.” So he started to work on that.”

-       Scarface is my favorite picture, even today, because we were completely alone, Hughes and I. Everybody was under contract to the studios. We couldn’t get a studio, and they wouldn’t loan us anybody, so we had to find a cast. They just didn’t want independent pictures made in Hollywood. So we rented a little cobwebbed studio and opened it up and made the picture. It turned out to be the big picture of the year. We didn’t get any help from anybody. And that’s why I think I liked it best.”

-       “Well, would you rather see something dead serious or laugh at something? In the first place, true drama is awfully close to being comedy. The greatest drama in the world is really funny. A man who loses his pants out in front of a thousand people – he’s suffering the tortures of the damned, but he’s awfully funny doing it. I had a damn good teach, Chaplin. Probably our greatest comic.”

-       “I’m getting goddam sick of these pictures, you know, nothing but violence. Peckinpah and I believe in exactly the opposite thing. I like it when it’s so quick that you say, “My god, did it really happen?””

-       “Interesting thing – the last Oscar [1974], everybody said The Exorcist was going to win. I made quite a little money. They offered me five to one and ten to one and twenty to one: I said The Sting. And they came to me afterwards and said, “Why did you say that?” And I said, “There’s only been two good comedies made in four years. One was What’s Up, Doc?, the other was The Sting. None of the rest have been worth calling comedies.””

-       “I try to tell my story as simply as possible, with the camera at eye level. I just imagine the way the story should be told, and I do it.”

-       “I’ve been accused of promoting Women’s Lib, and I’ve denied it, emphatically. It just happens that kind of a woman is attractive to me. I merely am doing somebody that I like. And I’ve seen so many pictures where the hero gets in the moonlight and says silly things to a girl, I’d reverse it and let the girl do the chasing around, you know, and it works out pretty well.”

-       “It taught me a great lesson, that if you make a good scene, if we could do something that was fun, the audience goes right along with you.”

-       “Actually, we didn’t care. It was the first time I made a picture and just decided I wasn’t going to explain things. I was just going to try and make good scenes.”

-       “I don’t think he’s got the greatest vision for a tableau, a long-shot, of any man. One of my favorite pictures of all time is The Quiet Man, which I think was just a beautiful picture. Ford, oh, he’s done some things that are just fabulous. And he was the first man to do them.”

-       “Oh, I think I couldn’t do his brand of humor. His brand of humor was kind of a bucolic travesty of an Irishman, kind of overdrawn characters. I certainly know that I made better comedies than he did. But I don’t think I made better westerns.”

-       “Peter Bogdanovich is good. I think he’s the best of all the young directors. Of the older directors, I admire Carol Reed’s work very much. I like Hitchcock’s work, and Billy Wilder’s. When I think I can learn something, I go to see any of their pictures, but if I think I can’t learn, I don’t go.”

-       “[William] Friedkin was going around with my daughter in New York. He asked me how I liked his last picture, The Boys in the Bad. I said, “if you’re going to be making pictures you’ll have to learn not to ask that. I thought it was lousy.” He said, “I’m interested in why.” I said, “It’s too bad that somebody who has the talent you have should waste his time on junk like that.” He took it all very, very well. I said, “You made another lousy picture before that called The Night They Raided Minsky’s. You’re gonna run out of pictures. They’re not going to let you make them unless you make something that people want to see. And then they’re gonna tell you how to make them.” And he said, “Well, what kind of thing do you mean?” And I said, “Do something that’s entertaining. People seem to like chase scenes. Make a good chase. Make one better than anyone’s done.” And he did it in The French Connection. Did a good job of it.”

1 comment:

David D. said...

Apparently according to William Friedkin,
"I'm sorry but Hawks' version of our one Conversation is totally false and delusional. He had no idea who I was.."