Robert Horton tells Steve Scher that the Howard Hawk’s film, “Only Angels Have Wings” is a marvel of persuasive detail that draws the viewer in.
Many movies work very hard to create a complete world. Some don’t. But the newly released and digitally restored Cary Grant Jean Arthur vehicle reveals details that may have been lost to viewers over the many years of the films’ duplications.
Howard Hawks was a pilot himself and perhaps he was energized by the subject matter to create the detailed picture. Credit goes to the studio system as well, which employed the artists, set designers, model makers, costumers and lighting technicians who worked very hard at their crafts.
Unlike the shorthand Hawks used in later films, or the kitchen sink technique George Miller employs for the newest “Mad Max,” this film was rich in simple detail that draws the eye around the entire screen.
That doesn’t necessarily happen with the newest green screen fantasies. Some directors and actors can come to life in front of the green screen, but sometimes, these films seem moribund and flat.