In this fifth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker of Yale College presents four lectures on “The Films of Howard Hawks.” All four lectures will be held on consecutive Sunday afternoons at 2 PM, starting on Sunday, July 9. Admission to each lecture is $7.
Reservations are highly recommended.
In the third installment, Schenker deconstructs Hawks’ knotty 1946 film noir “The Big Sleep”—based on the Raymond Chandler novel—this Sunday, July 23, at 2 PM.
Hawks’ filmography spans the decades—from “The Road to Glory” (1926) through “Rio Lobo” (1970)—and spans genres, from screwball comedy through sci-fi, western, war films and more. Hawks was nominated for a Best Director Oscar in 1942 for “Sergeant York” and received an Honorary Academy Award in 1975 as a “a master American filmmaker whose creative efforts hold a distinguished place in world cinema.”
Roger Ebert hailed Hawks shortly after the director’s death in 1977:
Hawks never consciously aimed for art in his films, and was perhaps quietly amazed that people found it there. But they did. He was never as well known with the public as some of his contemporaries, like Hitchcock and DeMille and Ford. But if you loved movies, you lost a friend the other day. Hawks directed some of the greatest entertainments ever made, and fundamentally shaped the way we perceive many of the great stars.
This series affords Prof. Schenker the opportunity to not only delve into Hawks’ directorial style but also to tease out the various genre conventions the director played with. As with his previous lecture series, Schenker will explore highlights of Hawks’ filmography chronologically, starting with the 1932 gangster classic “Scarface.” The 1940 screwball comedy “His Girl Friday,” starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, is the topic on July 16. The film noir “The Big Sleep,” based on the Raymond Chandler novel and starring Humphrey Bogart, is the focus on July 23 and discussion of the western “Rio Bravo” concludes the series on July 30.
“The Big Sleep” has a reputation as one of the most inscrutable classic movies. Based on a Chandler novel that was itself both a tour-de-force and a puzzling head scratcher, the film was greeted by New York Times critic Bosley Crowther with the complaint, “For ‘The Big Sleep’ is one of those pictures in which so many cryptic things occur amid so much involved and devious plotting that the mind becomes utterly confused.”
But 50 years later, Roger Ebert hailed the movie despite—or perhaps because of—its perceived imperfections:
It is one of the great film noirs, a black-and-white symphony that exactly reproduces Chandler’s ability, on the page, to find a tone of voice that keeps its distance, and yet is wry and humorous and cares. Working from Chandler’s original words and adding spins of their own, the writers (William Faulkner, Jules Furthman and Leigh Brackett) wrote one of the most quotable of screenplays: It’s unusual to find yourself laughing in a movie not because something is funny but because it’s so wickedly clever. (Marlowe on the “nymphy” kid sister: “She tried to sit in my lap while I was standing up.”) Unlike modern crime movies which are loaded with action, “The Big Sleep” is heavy with dialogue–the characters talk and talk, just like in the Chandler novels; it’s as if there’s a competition to see who has the most verbal style.
Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by clips from the films to illustrate the points he is making. His previous lectures on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Billy Wilder and the historical context in which the TV series “Downton Abbey” took place were erudite and entertaining. Schenker’s insights should be particularly trenchant when it comes to the classic “The Big Sleep.”
UPCOMING EVENTS (Music events start at 8 PM unless otherwise noted; screenings start at 7 PM unless otherwise noted):
• Wednesday, July 19. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA
• Thursday, July 20, 5:30 PM. WINE TASTING WITH BOB FEINN OF MT. CARMEL WINE & SPIRITS
• Friday, July 21. SOLO GUITAR: GLENN ROTH; SINGER-SONGWRITER: DANA MERRITT
• Saturday, July 22, 7 PM. GARAGE ROCK: DELICATE FLOWERS, DISCO TEEN ’66; FUNK ROCK: NEW AMSTERDAM NOBLES (A CAPITALH BOOKING SHOW)
• Sunday, July 23, 2 PM. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—HOWARD HAWK’S “THE BIG SLEEP” (1946)
• Wednesday, July 26. MUSIC FROM “THE SIMPSONS”: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRES OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS with SPECIAL GUESTS
• Thursday, July 27. INDIE SINGER-SONGWRITER: DANIELLE CAPALBO (of QUIET GIANT), SEAN HAROLD (of THE MID SEASON)
• Friday, July 28. WORLD MUSIC: NEELA
• Sunday, July 30, 2 PM. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—HOWARD HAWK’S “RIO BRAVO” (1959)
• Wednesday, Aug. 2. JAZZ: BADSLAX
• Thursday, Aug. 3, 7:30 PM. WOMEN’S FILM SCREENING: “THE MILKY WAY”—HOSTED BY THE JCC OF GREATER NEW HAVEN FOR WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK (FREE)
• Friday, Aug. 4, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: HONEY DEWDROPS (GUITARTOWNCT PRODUCTIONS)
• Sunday, Aug. 6, 2-5 PM. GUITARTOWNCT FREE SUNDAY AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM
• Wednesday, Aug. 9. EXPERIMENTAL: HUMAN FLOURISHING, DAVE SCANLON, UNDERWEAR
• Thursday, Aug. 10. ALT-COUNTRY: PLYWOOD COWBOY
• Friday, Aug. 11. INDIE ROCK: LYS GUILLORN & HER BAND, ELISA FLYNN
• Wednesday, Aug. 16. INDIE ROCK: FURNSSS, TRASH CAN
• Thursday, Aug. 17. STEEL DRUM MUSIC: MIMOSA
• Fridy, Aug. 18. DEEP HAMDEN—A JAZZ MINI-FESTIVAL: ALLEN LOWE & FAKE MUSIC ENSEMBLE with SPECIAL GUESTS
• Saturday, Aug. 19. DEEP HAMDEN—A JAZZ MINI-FESTIVAL: AN HISTORIC; ROSEMARY MINKLER TRIO; BRIAN JARAWA GRAY
• Wednesday, Aug. 23. INDIE ROCK: ROZ & THE RICE CAKES, TEENAGE HALLOWEEN (A TINY BOX BOOKING SHOW)
• Thursday, Aug. 24. ROCK/JAZZ/SOUL: JOE STEIN; INDIE ROCK: ALEX MCGUIRE
• Friday, Aug. 25. POP ROCK: OBERON ROSE
• Tuesday, Aug. 29. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS & HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS
• Thursday, Aug. 31. INDIE ROCK: DISCO TEEN ’66
• Friday, Sept. 8. INDIE ROCK: THE SAWTELLES
Thursday, Sept. 14. ACOUSTIC SOUL: CHRISSY GARDNER & ROBERT MESSORE
• Friday, Sept. 15, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: ROB ICKES & TREY HENSLEY (GUITARTOWNCT PRODUCTIONS)
• Saturday, Sept. 16, 8 PM. EXPERIMENTAL/DRONE: GARDENER, LANDING
• Wednesday, Sept. 20. BLUEGRASS: BAIT AND SWITCH
• Friday, Sept. 22. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND
• Friday, Sept. 29. FOLK: FLINT LADDER
• Saturday, Sept. 30. SINGER-SONGWRITER: JOHN GORKA (ODDBALL PRODUCTIONS)
• Friday, Oct. 6. INDIE ROCK/SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE
• Friday, Oct. 13. FLASH FICTION: PAUL BECKMAN
• Friday, Oct. 20. BLUEGRASS: MISSY RAINES & THE NEW HIP (GUITARTOWNCT PRODUCTIONS)
• Thursday, Nov. 16, 7 PM. BLUEGRASS: TIM O’BRIEN (SOLD OUT!)