With books on film, it doesn’t get any better than the subject talking about his or her self. These works don’t get lost in extended attempts to squeeze meaning and reason from every move that is made on screen.
Hawks on Hawks by Joseph McBride from 1982 is that kind of book, a work that steps aside for the man himself to talk and tell us about the pictures, how he made them, why he made them, to shut up the intellectuals and remind us that motion pictures are about smart storytelling and entertainment.
We will be posting excerpts from this and books about other film-related topics as they strike us.
Here, a few words from Hawks:
“I raced cars for about three years [when I was seventeen or eighteen], did my own work on them, and built a car that won Indianapolis… We raced on dirt tracks. It wasn’t polite racing. If you could shove somebody into a fence you did it. I met Victor Fleming [director of Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz] driving in a race. I put him through a fence and wrecked his car. I won the race and saw him coming; I thought I was gonna have a fight with him. Instead of that, he came up with a grin and he said, ‘That was pretty good, but don’t ever try it again, because I’ll just run into you.’ We became very good friends.”
The poster for one of Hawks’ last films, a racing picture.