The Big Sleep

One of the key noirs of the 1940s, The Big Sleep features several legends of the American page and screen—Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Howard Hawks, Raymond Chandler, William Faulkner, and Leigh Brackett—collaborating on a messy masterpiece that, fittingly, lacks traditional narrative logic but more than makes up for it with dripping atmosphere and fine performances. Bogart stars as private detective Philip Marlowe, hired by an elderly tycoon to ostensibly track down a man blackmailing his daughter, who has gotten into some gambling trouble. The enigmatic, sharp-talking Vivian Rutledge (Bacall)—the tycoon’s elder daughter—warns Marlowe to more nefarious things at play, and as he chances upon increasingly shady dealings, the two get closer while the treachery multiplies at a gallop.

Genres: Noir

Other Films by Howard Hawks

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His Girl Friday

One of the most famous products to come out of Columbia Pictures during its late-’30s/early-’40s heyday, His Girl Friday is a model of wisecracking, fast-paced dialogue directly springing from its screwball forebears of the ’30s (in particular Frank Capra’s Columbia films). Walter Burns (an effervescent Cary Grant) is a newspaper editor whose ex-wife Hildy Johnson

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Rio Bravo

John Wayne, Dean Martin, and Ricky Nelson team up in this idiosyncratic take on the “singing cowboy” Western from the ever-versatile Howard Hawks. When aging Sheriff John T. Chance (Wayne), who oversees a very small, unnamed Western town, arrests and jails accused murderer Joe Burdette (Claude Akins), Burdette’s brother Nathan vows revenge and hires guns

ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS

Only Angels Have Wings

Hawks’ fourth film about air-bound transit stars Cary Grant as Geoff Carter, a pilot for a small airline whose main task is delivering the mail to and from a remote camp in the foothills of the Andes. Carter manages several other pilots who repeatedly take massive risks due to the treacherous terrain and the limitations