Hawks, Howard (Howard Winchester Hawks), 1896–1977, American film director, b. Goshen, Ind. Although not as well known as such contemporaries as John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock, he has been critically acclaimed as one of the 20th cent.'s best motion picture directors. His directorial career began in the silent film era with The Road to Glory (1926). Hawks's uncomplicated and unpretentious style, visual clarity, and sense for crisp dialogue are evident in his more than 40 films, which cover an unusually wide variety of cinematic genres. Many of his works have become classics, including the war film The Dawn Patrol (1930), the gangster movie Scarface (1932), the screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby (1938), the romantic adventure To Have and Have Not (1944), the detective story The Big Sleep (1946), the Western Red River (1948), and the musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). The lucid, direct style that made Hawks the ultimate Hollywood professional has been an important influence on many of today's filmmakers.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.