A film that positively fizzes from the start - something around the theatrical intensity of the extended scenes and the real spark between all the characters - it's a real ensemble piece with wonderfully subtle pieces of characterisation and fleeting non-verbal moments between characters. Genuine sophisticated drama punctuated by laugh-out-loud moments so you can easily forgive some of the iffy gender politics.
Straight from the off Hawks creates a totally believable universe that's sustained throughout the movie. It might have all been shot in a Californian studio - for all I know - but the lush black and white photography creates a landscape / environment that's superbly realised and gorgeous to look at. So many beautiful moments in this film. And so many plot expectations overturned.
I still can't make up my mind about this. On the one hand, the specter of death makes some moments of Hawks' wit and levity seem too superficially Hollywood to land right. On the other hand, this disconnect can be read as a kind of brilliant, grim nihilism. It's also worth mentioning that the 'hysterical women who must sublate their emotions in a world of macho bromance' narrative is frustrating
I know there are a lot of rave reviews about the perfection of this film, and it is visually magnificent in places, and dramatically taut just about everywhere. But I can't get along with the sexual politics. It's of it's time, I know, but I can't gloss over the whole 'shaking a crying woman by the shoulders because any display of emotion is mere feminine hysteria'. Unhealthy relationships romanticised.
Bonnie's breath-taken wonder as the first plane takes off is mirrored by our own in the later scenes. Mucho macho bravo - Hemingway Hollywood, and God love it. What's a bullet in the shoulder when there's a delivery due? Arthur grates, though. Thank heavens for lovely Rita.
Just a masterpiece. The opening 25 minutes are perfect and set the tone for the entire film - interesting characters, humour, romance, unbelievable suspense and fantastic flying sequences. There's a feeling of death looming over everyone in Barranca, but also one of life. Extremely touching and human, if it wasn't for Rio Bravo I would say this is Hawks at his best.
I've watched this twice ovr the the course of 12 hours or so, my third and fourth revisitings of this very complex movie. The first of the two viewings was, in short, a disaster; much felt flat, Hawks' mastery of Hollywood conventions felt too much in the way. Thankfully, the second viewing killed me. This is Hawks' film about Death, and the formal precision reflects that thematic. A great, demanding(for me) movie.
Living dangerously in South America! Of course, this being a Howard Hawks movie, it's also a battle of the sexes. Admittedly, the film's gender ideals seem damn near irrelevant in an era where women have career opportunities and Weezer has gone platinum. But as a movie, it still crackles. A great Hawksian line, from a plaintive Arthur to an emotionally withdrawn Grant: "I'm hard to get. All you have to do is ask."
After Rio Bravo, my favorite Hawks. I was expecting a humorous and rousing melodrama and instead got a remarkably melancholy meditation on work, romances platonic and sexual, and death. Arthur and Grant still have their timing, but it's mostly gallows humor here. An unexpectedly resonant film.