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Howard Hawks: The Measure of Man

Friday, January 13, 2012
8:35 p.m. Tiger Shark
Howard Hawks (U.S., 1932)

New Print!


The wake of Moby-Dick ripples through Hawks’s melodrama of deep-sea fishing, shot on location in Monterey. “There are elements of Ahab . . . in the character played by Edward G. Robinson, a Portuguese-born tuna boat captain who loses his left hand to a shark and his young wife to his handsome first mate. Zita Johann, as the wife, is an early embodiment of the typically free-spirited, tough-minded Hawks woman. When she realizes that she and Richard Arlen, as Robinson’s best friend, are in love with each other, she is the one who initiates their affair. Hawks sustained a slower tempo and a more romantic mood than he did in later films . . . helped considerably by Tony Gaudio’s beautifully modulated photography” (Charles Hopkins, UCLA Film and Television Archive).

• Written by Wells Root, from the story “Tuna” by Houston Branch. Photographed by Tony Gaudio. With Edward G. Robinson, Richard Arlen, Zita Johann, J. Carrol Naish. (80 mins, B&W, 35mm, Preserved by the Library of Congress, permission Warner Bros.)