Just as actors are frequently typecast in a specific kind of role, some movie directors throughout history have found themselves relegated to a narrowly defined genre. While many directors have rebelled against such constrictive labels, few have crossed genres with as much innovative artistry and commercial success as Howard Hawks. A legendary figure in Hollywood's storied Golden Age, Hawks helmed an estimable array of classics, switching styles so effectively that viewers often fail to recognize his guiding hand. On closer inspection, however, one can discern a connective artistry that continues to resonate decades later. Questioning whether Hawks was, in fact, America's greatest director, a new retrospective at the Heights Theater (with one film at Trylon Microcinema) provides compelling evidence. On display will be one of the best examples of the nascent gangster film (1932's Scarface), two pairings of Hollywood royalty Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall (1940's To Have and Have Not and 1946's The Big Sleep), two screwball comedies starring Cary Grant (1938's Bringing Up Baby and 1940's His Girl Friday), and a film frequently counted among the greatest Westerns of all time (1959's Rio Bravo). Wherever one ranks Hawks as a director, this enormously entertaining series proves his resilient versatility beyond any doubt. Bringing Up Baby runs Friday, July 26-28 at Trylon Microcinema. All other films screen 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, from August 1-29 at the Heights Theater (3951 Central Ave. NE, Columbia Heights; 612.424.5468).
July 26-27, 7 & 9 p.m.; Sun., July 28, 5 & 7 p.m., 2013