John Huston

"Huston's skill as a director was always that the emotions in his films, whether love, fear, hatred, determination, holiness, greed or desperation, seemed genuinely felt, and he extracted some extraordinarily deep performances from actors not previously noted for extreme mobility." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)

John Huston

Director / Screenwriter / Actor / Producer
(1906-1987) Born August 5, Nevada, Missouri, USA
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Country: USA
Key Genres: Drama, Adventure, Psychological Drama, Gangster Film, Period Film, Adventure Drama, Crime, Revisionist Western, Romance, Historical Film, Film Noir, Romantic Adventure
Key Collaborators: Russell Lloyd (Editor), Humphrey Bogart (Leading Character Actor), Stephen Grimes (Production Designer), Oswald Morris (Cinematographer), Ralph Kemplen (Editor), Alex North (Composer), John Foreman (Producer), Roberto Silvi (Editor), Anjelica Huston (Leading Actress), Gladys Hill (Screenwriter), Ray Stark (Producer), Ava Gardner (Leading Character Actress)

"John Huston was one of the most bewilderingly uneven of U.S. directors. Throughout his career, his finest movies appeared cheek-by-jowl with his worst: no decade of his work was without its masterpieces or its turkeys. Huston himself affected an insouciant attitude to his variable oeuvre, interspersing committed films with shrugged-off assignments... During the 1960s, Huston's critical standing slumped. But his reputation later revived thanks to the seemingly effortless mastery shown in Fat City (1972)." - Philip Kemp (501 Movie Directors, 2007)
"Huston was always ready to be presented as the movie director who told manly, energetic stories, and liked to end them on a wry chuckle. He was himself a writer, a painter, a boxer, a horseman, a wanderer, a gambler, an adventurer, and a womanizer. More than most, he relished the game of getting a movie set up and the gamble of out-daring and intimidating the studios. His best pictures reflect those tastes and that attitude and had an expansive, airy readiness for ironic endings, fatal bad luck, and the laughter that knows men are born to fail." - David Thomson, (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"Huston's protagonists often represent extremes. They are either ignorant, pathetic, and doomed by their lack of self-understanding or intelligent, arrogant, but equally doomed by their lack of self-understanding. Between these extremes is the cool, intelligent protagonist who will sacrifice everything for self-understanding and independence. Huston always finds the first group pathetic, the second tragic, and the third heroic. He reserves his greatest respect for the man who retains his dignity in spite of pain and disaster." - Stuart M. Kaminsky (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 1991)
"Huston, who favoured working from literary sources, seldom made films that seemed at all personal. Ambitious but erratic, he preferred to ignore the restraints of genre but rarely produced anything original or emotionally involving; often he seemed content to shoot character actors in exotic locations, unsure as to the thematic substance, weight or tone of his material. That said, his finest work casts a beady eye over human aspiration, with the allure of power and an easy life inevitably wrecking the best-laid plans." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
"A respected screenwriter, he made his directorial debut with The Maltese Falcon (1941). A master storyteller enthralled by grand adventures and larger than life characters, he won a Best Director Academy Award for The Treasure of the Sierre Madre (1948)." - Chambers Film Factfinder, 2006
"In the beginning the American male in the films of John Huston was a hard-talking idealist, but he slowly turned into a cynical, alienated loser. The director studies men from top to bottom and everywhere in between." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"The directing of a picture involves coming out of your individual loneliness and taking a controlling part in putting together a small world. A picture is made. You put a frame around it and move on. And one day you die. That is all there is to it." - John Huston
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
The Maltese Falcon (1941) ✖︎, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) , The Asphalt Jungle (1950) ✖︎
Recommended
In This Our Life (1942), Key Largo (1948) ✖︎, The African Queen (1951) , The Misfits (1961) , Fat City (1972) , The Man Who Would Be King (1975) , Wise Blood (1979)
Worth a Look
Across the Pacific (1942), The Battle of San Pietro (1945), Let There Be Light (1946), The Red Badge of Courage (1951), Moulin Rouge (1952), Beat the Devil (1954), Moby Dick (1956), Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957), The Unforgiven (1959), Freud (1962), Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), Under the Volcano (1984), Prizzi's Honor (1985), The Dead (1987)
Approach with Caution
We Were Strangers (1949), The Night of the Iguana (1964), The Bible (1966), A Walk with Love and Death (1969), The Kremlin Letter (1970), The Mackintosh Man (1973), Escape to Victory (1981)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films ✖︎ 1,000 Noir Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Maltese Falcon
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