View Full Version : Howard Hawks or Billy Wilder?
08-02-10, 12:42 PM
Since we seem to have a series of these director threads, I thought I'd do two who aren't as immediate go-to names, but are no less important to film.
Have at it! :)
08-02-10, 12:59 PM
You couldn't have made it harder to choose, Suprmallet? :gah:
08-02-10, 01:05 PM
I think that possibly, perhaps, just maybe...that was the point? :D
08-02-10, 01:32 PM
Lemmy, I hope you're being sarcastic. These are two of the greatest filmmakers in Hollywood history. Any one of their films is worth ten from any "top" director of the past 30 years.
This is a real tough one for me. I love Hawks' westerns and go back to them regularly, but Wilder's sharp wit is so unique in the annals of Hollywood that Hollywood simply wouldn't be the same without it. Where would movies be without DOUBLE INDEMNITY, LOST WEEKEND, SUNSET BOULEVARD, SABRINA, THE SEVEN-YEAR ITCH, LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON, SOME LIKE IT HOT, THE APARTMENT, KISS ME STUPID and THE FORTUNE COOKIE? I think the absence of Hawks would have been somewhat less noticeable than the absence of Wilder, so I'll go with Wilder.
08-02-10, 01:43 PM
Ash, I like your reasoning and I tend to agree. I think both are stellar directors, but Wilder gets the edge. The thing I like about Hawks, though, is that he always put the material first. This may be why he's not as well known as many auteur directors (and by the end of his career I'd say Billy Wilder fell into that category). His directorial "stamp" wasn't the same from film to film, he would change things up based on the story he was telling. Not to say that Wilder didn't, but it's easier to tell a Billy Wilder film than it is a Howard Hawks film.
Either way, both were incredible directors.
08-02-10, 03:33 PM
Well, pardon my skepticism, but the hyperbole is getting deep in here....
Ash and Supr, I'd like each of you to do me a favor, if you wouldn't mind. I'd like you both to pick two films, one from each director, that you think are A)good examples of their best work, and B)films that you feel should be seen/known more than they are. I'll seek them out and watch them. I'm a film buff, and I've heard of both directors often, but their catalogs of work each read (to me, not yet a fan of either) like dusty old movies that must be dated and irrelevant.
But, I will keep an open mind, as I enjoy films ranging from silent films to what's playing at the multiplex tonight. Some of my absolute favorite movies are "dusty old movies that must be dated and irrelevant"!
Help a DVDTalker out with some viewing ideas...
Thank you for asking. Here goes:
Wilder: SOME LIKE IT HOT
Tough to choose one, but I figure if you like this one, you'll want to seek out the others. Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe. 'Nuff said.
Hawks: RIO BRAVO
Arguably his best film and one of the great Hollywood westerns; if you don't like this, then maybe the rest of Hawks may not be for you. But I would urge you to watch this in a relaxed state. It's got a nice, deliberate pace that revolves less around the action--of which there is a lot--than around the characters and the way they relate to each other. I appreciated this more when I saw it again as a grown-up.
08-02-10, 03:36 PM
'Only Angels Have Wings' is one of my favorite American films.
What a classic.
08-02-10, 04:13 PM
For Wilder, Some Like It Hot, Sunset Boulevard, and The Apartment are the ones I would recommend viewing first.
For Hawks, I'd go with Bringing Up Baby, The Big Sleep, and Rio Bravo.
And even as I type that I can think of at least another half dozen movies worth recommending.
Well lesse the other made a bunch of wishy washy talkative movies although good, but i see Hawks made all those kickass westerns, and holy shit Thing from Another World so yeah him.
The Apartment is fantastic, as is SLiH, of course.
08-02-10, 07:00 PM
Billy Wilder. Sunset Blvd /thread. Love that movie.
08-02-10, 07:16 PM
Cripes....after reading through the credits of both, I can only say that they've both made a shitload of films I wouldn't give a rat's ass about ever seeing.
That is just sad. I never thought I would have the need to use the ignore feature on somebody.
This is one of those pairings that one films ends the discussion. Billy Wilder did Ace in the Hole, that automatically gives him the win. I can't believe nobody has even mentioned that film to Wilder's credit.
08-02-10, 08:07 PM
Billy Wilder by an eyelash. Great match-up Suprmallet. :thumbsup:
I'll have to check out Ace in the Hole....thanks for bringing that to my attention Sessa17.
08-02-10, 08:14 PM
Wilder's masterpieces: The Big Carnival/Ace in the Hole, Sunset Boulevard and Double Indemnity. These three hold up the best. Some Like It Hot, The Apartment and Sabrina are also well made, iconic and worth watching but I would definitely watch The Big Carnival first and if suitably impressed seek out Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard (in that order).
Hawks' best: Scarface, Red River, Rio Bravo. I'd include The Big Sleep if you're a fan of noir.
Billy Wilder is a top ten director all time. Hawks is probably in the top 15-20 range.
08-02-10, 08:23 PM
It's funny that as I put my list of recommendations together, Double Indemnity somehow slipped my mind. That is an essential film to see no matter what your tastes are.
08-02-10, 08:25 PM
But I am willing to try them out (which you'd have seen if you had read the exchange between myself and a couple other contributors)
Maybe I misread the post, it just came off as "I don't like old movies, they are boring, only new stuff is good". Maybe you were joking & I missed it, no biggie.
Ace in the Hole as I've mentioned. My all-time favorite Kirk Douglas performance and one of the truly great characters in the history of film.
Double Indemnity one of the all-time great noirs.
08-02-10, 08:35 PM
Lemmy comes into threads and makes bold sweeping statements that often make me want to punch a wall. But I can't stay mad at him because of his signature. :D