Audio Interview with Howard Hawks
Listen to the audio interview with Howard Hawks (MP3 format, approximately 107 minutes).
The longest drive I ever took for an interview in California was from Los Angeles to Palm Springs to meet Howard Hawks at his home.
Actually I made the trip twice.
I had been scheduled to meet Hawks when I got a message that John Wayne would see me. I had been after the Duke for years, but to no avail. Now he had agreed.
But there was one problem. The time conflicted with that alloted for Hawks. I was in a quandary. Ethics mattered in those days. Actually they still do, even though we're now in an age of morality without ethics. I felt I owed Hawks for agreeing to see me. Maybe I had to turn down the opportunity to meet the Duke.
Hawks solved my dilemma. He said, "You can get me any time. Go see Duke."
I saw John Wayne.
I also drove to Palm Springs, although the rescheduled appointment to see Hawks wasn't until days later. That morning the Daily Variety announced in a banner headline on its front page that Howard Hawks was going to receive an honorary Oscar for his work. Hawks wasn't home, so I left the issue of Daily Variety in his mailbox. I'm sure it was the first time he saw the announcement in print. I kind of liked that.
Sunday when I went back for the interview, a telegram was stuck in his door, and I handed it to him. It was congratulations from John Wayne, and Hawks obviously was moved.
"Duke, Janie [Russell], and George Raft are the only ones who are still grateful," he said. It was a distressing remark.
Hawks had two dogs -- one big and one little. They were named Tommy and Girl, and the big one was a barking mastodon that kept me on my toes.
Hawks showed me his pool, in which he took daily 6 AM swims. He also proudly showed me some pieces of turquoise and silver jewelry he had made.
He was a remarkable old artisan, who still was creative.
The following is the introduction to the interview as it appeared in Voices from the Set: The Film Heritage Interviews (2000).
Born in Goshen, Indiana. Howard Hawks directed forty-six films during his career including Scarface, The Big Sleep, Red River, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Rio Bravo; he also worked as a producer and writer. He also received an honorary Oscar in 1975.
The Hawks interview was in his home in Palm Springs, California, in February of 1975.