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New Left Review I/24, March-April 1964

Lee Russell

Howard Hawks

‘I do not think one can love any film deeply if one does not deeply love the films of Howard Hawks.’ This dogma—to be found in a review of The Big Sky in Cahiers du Cinema 29 (1953)—has rightly infuriated many film-viewers. Their fury, in turn, has provoked the Cahiers critics into reiterating their adulation of Hawks time and time again. Despite the reasoned and corrective interventions of Andre Bazin (Cahiers 44 and 70), an attitude to Hawks—and to Hitchcock—has become a touchstone of critical commitment. In England, the new magazine Movie polemically flew Hawks and Hitchcock at its masthead; in America, Hitchcocko-Hawksianism has been endorsed by the authority of Andrew Sarris in Film Culture. These beach-heads of ‘Parisian’ criticism have undoubtedly invigorated local discussion of cinema. Always, Hawks has been at the centre of controversy.

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