The Big Sky

Howard Hawks
USA 1952
122 min

Though this sublime black-and-white masterpiece by Howard Hawks is usually accorded a low place in the Hawks canon, it’s a particular favorite of mine – mysterious, beautiful, and even utopian in some of its sexual and cultural aspects. Adapted (apparently rather loosely) by dudley Nichols from part of A.B. Guthrie’s novel, this adventure stars Kirk Douglas and Dewey Martin as Kentucky drifters who join an epic trek up the Missouri River, along with the latter’s uncle (Arthur Hunnicutt), an indian princess (Elizabeth Threatt), and a good many Frenchmen. The poetic feeling for the wilderness is matched by the camaraderie, yet there’s also a tragic undertone to this odyssey that seems quintessentially Hawksian – a sense of a small human oasis in the center of a vast metaphysical void. (Jonathan Rosenbaum)

  • Kirk Douglas - Jim Deakins
  • Dewey Martin - Boone Caudell
  • Elizabeth Threatt - Teal Eye
  • Arthur Hunnicutt - Zeb Calloway
  • Steven Geray - Jourdonnais
  • Dudley Nichols based on the novel by A. B. Guthrie Jr.
  • Russell Harlan
  • Clem Portman
  • Phil Brigandi
  • Christian Nyby
  • Dimitri Tiomkin
  • Albert S. D’Agostino
  • Perry Ferguson
  • Dorothy Jeakins
RKO Radio Pictures, Winchester Pictures Corporation
Park Circus
35 mm
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