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Critical Approaches to Film. The Big Sleep (dir. Hawks, 1946) & Film Noir. Roots of Film Noir. 1940s. Howard Hawks (1896-1977).

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critical approaches to film

Critical Approaches to Film

The Big Sleep (dir. Hawks, 1946)

& Film Noir

"He worked in every major genre, and produced classics in each of them. The French auteurist critics put him in the highest pantheon, alongside Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles. Yet Hawks was the least pretentious of great filmmakers. His style is transparent and unobtrusive; he didn't want the aesthetics to distract from the characters." -Tom Charity (The R
hawks trademarks
Hawks’ Trademarks
  • The narrative always elegantly and symmetrically structured and patterned.
  • Sharp sense of storytelling
  • Hawks' visual style was one of dead-pan understatement, never proclaiming its trickiness or brilliance but effortlessly communicating the values of the stories and the characters
  • point of view could confine us to the perceptions of a single character
  • masterful in their atmospheric
  • films were very improvisatory
hawks characters
Hawks’ Characters
  • Devoted to characters who were professionals with fervent vocational commitments
  • men in Hawks' films were good at what they did
  • union of two apparently opposite physical types
  • Hawks' characters reveal their feelings through their actions, not by what they say
  • Hawksian male: loner, cynical, world weary, good at his profession
  • Hawksian female: strong independent, equal to man, masculine characteristics, can overpower the man.
"I'm a storyteller - that's the chief function of a director. And they're moving pictures, let's make 'em move!" - Howard Hawks