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Howard Hawks: The Measure of Man

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
7:00 p.m. Only Angels Have Wings
Howard Hawks (U.S., 1939)

Restored Print!

This improbable, irresistible adventure places Cary Grant, Richard Barthelmess, Jean Arthur, and Rita Hayworth among a small crew of Americans isolated in a south-of-the-border backwater, facing the perils of flying mail over the Andes and the even greater risks of caring about one another. As Robin Wood wrote, “Only Angels Have Wings is a completely achieved masterpiece . . . drawing together the main thematic threads of Hawks’s work”—personal and professional allegiances, the meaning of responsibility, the very real presence of mortality. The film manages to be goofy, touching, and exhilarating at once: nobody was better than Hawks at making a story shadowed by death glint with vitality and verve.

—Juliet Clark

• Written by Jules Furthman, from a story by Hawks. Photographed by Joseph Walker, Elmer Dyer. With Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Thomas Mitchell, Richard Barthelmess. (121 mins, B&W, 35mm, From Sony Pictures)