Friday, March 13, 2015

Henry Hathaway, 1898-1985

Henry Hathaway and John Wayne, apparently taken on the set of The Sons of Katie Elder

Today marks the birth anniversary of prolific director Henry Hathaway. Hathaway was nominated for a Best Director Oscar fairly early in his career for 1935's Lives of a Bengal Lancer, which turned out to be his only nomination. It was also well before his most fertile period, which came at 20th Century-Fox, especially wortking with a star like Tyrone Power. I think a list of the movies Hathaway made with Power shows a fairly broad range of what Hathaway did: Johnny Apollo is a gangster drama; Brigham Young is a biopic of sorts; The Black Rose is historical adventure, set in medieval Asia; and Rawhide is a straight-up western. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a good photo of Hathaway on the set with Tyrone Power, so I had to substitute one of Hathaway with John Wayne instead. Then again, directing John Wayne to an Oscar isn't so shabby.

It also wouldn't be fair to judge Hathaway just on the basis of the films with Power, or looking at a bunch of westerns. At Fox, he also made the wartime espionage docudrama The House on 92nd Street, the crime docudrama Call Northside 777, and several noirish movies like Kiss of Death. There's even a service comedy in You're In the Navy Now. And there's very few duds among the lot.

I'm not certain which Henry Hathaway movie I'd consider my favorite, and there are still quite a few I haven't seen.

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