14 October 2005 | ruby_fff
Not just another Hawks and Grant film - it's a lot more than meets the eye
This may be an overlooked Howard Hawks film. It's really a thoughtful film with substance under the guise of Hollywood famous stars and lively screenplay banters. Subject touches on death just 20 minutes into the film. Certainly no dull pacing. It has golden segments, like the exchanges between Grant and Barthelmess, Grant and Mitchell, Mitchell and Arthur, Arthur and Grant, and 10 minutes later, we see people gathered round by the piano singing songs and cajoling - not without sorrow beneath. Be not fooled, sentiments are there for friends passed away. It's not, but it is, a way of handling grief.
It's life, matter of fact and not hung up or lingering, simply moving on, devil may care, with boldness, dare, and risk-woe-begotten (or forgotten, for that matter). Men - one track-minded, to fly to deliver no-matter-what. Women - worry, or why worry. To love the man, much of letting go and let him be comes with the territory, even if it's Jean Arthur or Rita Hayworth. The story revolves around not just Cary Grant's Geoff leading the pack in the Andes, but also Thomas Mitchell's brother gone, Richard Barthelmess' past recur, Rita Hayworth's nostalgic fear, and the spunky, sentimental Jean Arthur's Bonnie wraps it all up. The supporting cast aptly contributes from the restaurant-hotel-mailing service owner, the lively South American accents and melody, to the pilots who are green and know not what peril is, and the lone fog-watcher and his donkey. Secrets revealed, conflicts challenged, and there's a growing promotion of trust through it all. Between business partners, colleagues, friendship or marriage - that unquestionable trust, without asking out loud but understood within - is what life and dare all about.
This film grew on me. I first saw it on cable TCM the latter half and couldn't wait to catch it again for the full story. Screenplay by Jules Furthman, music score by Dimitri Tiomkin, directed and produced by Howard Hawks, "Only Angels Have Wings" 1939 (available on DVD) is full of life, humor, drama, adventurous spirits, and non-stop exchange of word deliveries - entertaining, enjoyable, and heart-warming.