Henry Hathaway


Director
Henry Hathaway

About

Also Known As
Henri Leopold De Fiennes
Birth Place
Sacramento, California, USA
Born
March 13, 1898
Died
February 11, 1985

Biography

As the archetypal studio professional, director Henry Hathaway spent five decades directing over 60 Hollywood films, leaving behind a large but rather underappreciated body of work that featured frequent collaborations with Randolph Scott, Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power and John Wayne. After getting his start as a child actor and assistant director, Hathaway began directing adaptations of a s...

Photos & Videos

Souls at Sea - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
How the West Was Won - Program Book
Sundown - Behind-the-Scenes Stills

Family & Companions

Blanche Hathaway
Wife
Second wife; married in 1932.

Bibliography

"Henry Hathaway: A Directors Guild of America Oral History"
Rudy Behlmer (editor), Scarecrow Press (2001)

Biography

As the archetypal studio professional, director Henry Hathaway spent five decades directing over 60 Hollywood films, leaving behind a large but rather underappreciated body of work that featured frequent collaborations with Randolph Scott, Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power and John Wayne. After getting his start as a child actor and assistant director, Hathaway began directing adaptations of a series of Zane Gray stories before gaining critical attention for the action film "The Lives of a Bengal Lancer" (1935) and the backwoods melodrama "The Trail of Lonesome Pine" (1936). By the time he directed Wayne in "The Shepherd of the Hills" (1941), Hathaway had developed a solid reputation for technically accomplished films while becoming a pioneer of location shooting with a number of quality Westerns. Following the war, he took a dark turn into film noir and innovated further with the used of a semi-documentary approach to such thrillers as "The House on 92nd Street" (1945), "The Dark Corner" (1946) and "Call Northside 777" (1948). Hathaway directed solid films with "The Black Rose" (1950) and "Niagra" (1952), but struggled for the remainder of the decade with interesting, but ultimately forgettable films. He returned to his favored genre with "How the West Was Won" (1962), "The Sons of Katie Elder" (1965) and "Nevada Smith" (1966), while guiding Wayne to his only Oscar with "True Grit" (1969). Though his career came to an end five years later, Hathaway had amassed a solid body of work while earning status as a consummate professional.

Born on March 13, 1898 in Sacramento, CA, Hathaway was raised by his father, Rhoady de Fiennes, an actor and stage manager, and his mother, Jean Hathaway, an actress. He started his career as a child actor for the American Film Co. during the early days of silent films, where he became a protégé of director Allan Dwan. He moved to Hollywood with his mother, where both worked for pioneering mogul Thomas Ince and later Universal Studios. After World War I, Hathaway moved behind the camera and became an assistant director for notable directors like Victor Fleming, Josef von Sternberg, William K. Howard and Frank Lloyd. Of the most notable pictures he worked on at the time were Fred Niblo's version of "Ben-Hur" (1925) and "The Virginian" (1929), starring Gary Cooper. He also had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of top stars like Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Clara Bow, Fay Wray and Walter Huston. Meanwhile, his first shot at directing came at Paramount Pictures in the early 1930s, where he remade eight stories by adventure writer Zane Grey that had been shot as silent films, often using footage from the originals.

The first film Hathaway made was the Western, "Heritage of the Desert" (1932), starring Randolph Scott. He quickly turned out other Grey adaptations like "Wild Horse Mesa" (1932), "To the Last Man" (1933), "Man of the Forest" (1933), "Buffalo Stampede" (1933) and "The Last Round-Up" (1934), all of which starred Scott in variations of the Western hero archetype. Stepping away from the genre, Hathaway had his first acclaimed success with the craftsman-like action film "The Lives of a Bengal Lancer" (1935), which earned him his only Academy Award nomination for Best Director. He followed up with the musical comedy "Go West, Young Man" (1936), starring Scott and Mae West, and directed the beautifully photographed but dated rural melodrama "The Trail of Lonesome Pine" (1936), with Henry Fonda and Fred MacMurray. After directing Gary Cooper in "Souls at Sea" (1937) and "The Real Glory" (1939), as well as Tyrone Power in "Johnny Apollo" (1940), he made a rather quiet and lyrical Western with John Wayne, "The Shepherd of the Hills" (1941), where the Duke played a young backwoods man contending with a group of outsiders threatening to push him and his family off his land.

In 1940, Hathaway moved over to 20th Century Fox, where he worked almost exclusively for the next 20 years. Following the uplifting war drama "Wing and a Prayer" (1944), he turned to a more semi-documentary a la film noir for "The House on 92nd Street" (1945), which used newsreel footage and dramatic sequences to tell the compelling story of a double agent (William Eythe) who helps shatter a Nazi spy ring in the U.S. After the war, he continued to utilize the style with "The Dark Corner" (1946), a dark and gloomy film noir about an ex-convict (Mark Stevens) framed for a murder he did not commit. From there, he entered a fruitful period with films like the spy thriller "13 Rue Madeleine" (1946) starring James Cagney and "Kiss of Death" (1947), a gritty film noir with Victor Mature and Coleen Gray that stood the test of time as a premiere example of the genre. He returned to his semi-documentary style for "Call Northside 777" (1948), which featured James Stewart as a newspaper reporter who comes to the realization that a man (Richard Conte) may in fact have been falsely accused of murder.

Hathaway went on to direct a number of above-average films that were popular with audiences, but often at odds with critics. He cast Tyrone Power and Orson Welles in the historical epic "The Black Rose" (1950), a sequel to the previous year's "Prince of Foxes" (1949), and turned in a rare comedy with "You're in the Navy Now" (1951), starring frequent star Gary Cooper and Jane Greer. He next helmed the stylized thriller, "Niagra" (1952), which starred Marilyn Monroe as a troubled wife who plans on murdering her disturbed husband (Joseph Cotton). Throughout the rest of the 1960s, Hathaway helmed a number of competent, but rather mediocre films, but still managed to show some cinematic flair in "Prince Valiant" (1954), a beautiful looking mythological adventure that was weighed down by underwhelming performances from James Mason, Vivien Leigh and Robert Wagner. After teaming with Cooper again on "Garden of Evil" (1954), he directed Kirk Douglas in "The Racers" (1955), John Wayne and Sophia Loren in "Legend of the Lost" (1957), and Dennis Hopper in "From Hell to Texas" (1958). The following decade, signs of slowing down manifested in the caper drama "Seven Thieves" (1960) and the been-there, done-that Western "North to Alaska" (1960).

For the Western epic "How the West Was Won" (1962), Hathaway directed three of the anthologized film's five segments, "The Rivers," "The Plains" and "The Outlaws," with the other two helmed by genre masters John Ford and George Marshall. He next turned to literary drama with an adaptation of Somerset Maugham's well-traveled "Of Human Bondage" (1964), featuring miscast stars Kim Novak and Laurence Harvey, and guided Wayne to one of his more interesting turns in the entertaining Western "The Sons of Katie Elder" (1965). With rising star Steve McQueen, Hathaway found the perfect actor to play a man seeking revenge for the murder of his parents in the stark minimalist Western "Nevada Smith" (1966), before churning out underwhelming fare like "The Last Safari" (1967) and "Five Card Stud" (1968). With both their careers winding down, Hathaway and Wayne reunited one last time for "True Grit" (1969), a rather pleasing Western where Wayne played cantankerous U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, who helps a 14-year-old girl (Kim Darby) hunt down the men who murdered her father. Hathaway's expert direction helped guide Wayne to his only Oscar. Meanwhile, the director rode off into the sunset with his last films, "Shoot Out" (1971) with Gregory Peck, the unforgivable "Raid on Rommel" (1971), and "Hangup" (1974). Eleven years later, on Feb. 11, 1985, Hathaway died from a heart attack at age 85, leaving behind a large, but underappreciated body of work.

By Shawn Dwyer

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Hangup (1973)
Director
Raid on Rommel (1971)
Director
Airport (1970)
Director addl seq (see note)
True Grit (1969)
Director
5 Card Stud (1968)
Director
The Last Safari (1967)
Director
Nevada Smith (1966)
Director
The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)
Director
Of Human Bondage (1964)
Director addl scenes (see note)
Circus World (1964)
Director
How the West Was Won (1963)
Director--"the rivers," "the plains," "the outlaws"
North to Alaska (1960)
Director
Seven Thieves (1960)
Director
Woman Obsessed (1959)
Director
From Hell to Texas (1958)
Director
Legend of the Lost (1957)
Director
23 Paces to Baker Street (1956)
Director
The Bottom of the Bottle (1956)
Director
The Racers (1955)
Director
Prince Valiant (1954)
Director
Garden of Evil (1954)
Director
Niagara (1953)
Director
White Witch Doctor (1953)
Director
O. Henry's Full House (1952)
Director of "The Clarion Call" [and prologue and narration seq]
Diplomatic Courier (1952)
Director
Rawhide (1951)
Director
You're in the Navy Now (1951)
Director
The Desert Fox (1951)
Director
Fourteen Hours (1951)
Director
The Black Rose (1950)
Director
Down to the Sea in Ships (1949)
Director
Call Northside 777 (1948)
Director
13 Rue Madeleine (1947)
Director
Kiss of Death (1947)
Director
The Dark Corner (1946)
Director
Nob Hill (1945)
Director
The House on 92nd Street (1945)
Director
Wing and a Prayer (1944)
Director
Home in Indiana (1944)
Director
China Girl (1943)
Director
Ten Gentlemen from West Point (1942)
Director
Sundown (1941)
Director
The Shepherd of the Hills (1941)
Director
Brigham Young--Frontiersman (1940)
Director
Johnny Apollo (1940)
Director
The Real Glory (1939)
Director
Spawn of the North (1938)
Director
Souls at Sea (1937)
Director
Go West Young Man (1936)
Director
The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936)
Director
I Loved a Soldier (1936)
Director
Peter Ibbetson (1935)
Director
The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935)
Director
Come On Marines! (1934)
Director
The Witching Hour (1934)
Director
The Last Round-Up (1934)
Director
Now and Forever (1934)
Director
Thundering Herd (1933)
Director
To the Last Man (1933)
Director
Sunset Pass (1933)
Director
Under the Tonto Rim (1933)
Director
Man of the Forest (1933)
Director
Wild Horse Mesa (1932)
Director
Heritage of the Desert (1932)
Director
Hula (1927)
Assistant Director
Bachelor Brides (1926)
Assistant Director

Cast (Feature Film)

75 Years of Cinema Museum (1972)
Himself

Producer (Feature Film)

The Last Safari (1967)
Producer
Nevada Smith (1966)
Producer
North to Alaska (1960)
Producer
Legend of the Lost (1957)
Producer

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Fathers of Pop (1979)
Other

Director (Short)

Lest We Forget (1937)
Director

Life Events

1908

Film actor with the American Film Company

1918

Served in the military

1932

Film directing debut

Photo Collections

Souls at Sea - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Souls at Sea - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
How the West Was Won - Program Book
Here is the souvenir Program Book sold at Roadshow engagements for the 1962 epic in Cinerama, How the West Was Won.
Sundown - Behind-the-Scenes Stills
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Walter Wanger's Sundown (1941), directed by Henry Hathaway and starring Gene Tierney and Bruce Cabot.
Sundown - Movie Posters
Here are a few movie posters from Walter Wanger's Sundown (1941), starring Gene Tierney and Bruce Cabot. Posters on view include a few from the original release as well as from later reissues.
Sundown - Pressbook
Here is the campaign book (pressbook) for the 1948 reissue of Walter Wanger's Sundown (1941). Pressbooks were sent to exhibitors and theater owners to aid them in publicizing the film's run in their theater.

Videos

Movie Clip

Kiss Of Death (1947) - Open, Christmas Eve Chilling opening with narration by Coleen Gray (who'll appear as "Nettie"), introducing Nick Bianco (Victor Mature), from Henry Hathaway's Kiss Of Death, 1947, from a script by Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer and story by Eleazer Lipsky.
Kiss Of Death (1947) - I'll Need That Look Swiftly paroled for agreeing to help the cops, thief Nick (Victor Mature) surprises Nettie (Colleen Gray), his former baby-sitter and friend of his wife, who committed suicide while he was inside, sharing a moment before prosecutor D’Angelo (Brian Donlevy) calls with instructions, in director Henry Hathaway’s Kiss Of Death, 1947.
Kiss Of Death (1947) - Skin Off A Grape Chance first encounter before court between hard-luck family-man robber Nick (Victor Mature) and nasty mob guy Tommy Udo (Richard Widmark), prosecutor D'Angelo (Brian Donlevy) stopping by, in Henry Hathaway's Kiss Of Death, 1947.
Kiss Of Death (1947) - Lyin' Old Hag! Horrible famous scene in which Tommy (Richard Widmark, in his first movie) executes Ma Rizzo (Mildred Dunnock, neither old nor a hag) for not giving up her son, Henry Hathaway directing, in Kiss Of Death, 1947.
Desert Fox, The (1951) - Already A Legend Michael Rennie is narrating but it's the author of the original book Desmond Young playing himself, in this scene introducing Erwin Rommel (James Mason), the title character, in Henry Hathaway's The Desert Fox, 1951.
Niagara (1953) - Won't You Kiss Me Honeymooners Polly (Jean Peters) and Ray (Casey Adams) and the whole gang at the cookout are wowed when Rose (Marilyn Monroe) appears in the famous pink dress, also singing, her husband skipping, early in Niagara, 1953.
Niagara (1953) - As Long As He's A Man Troubled George (Joseph Cotten) from manic to depressive phase, vampy wife Rose (Marilyn Monroe) seeming to like it that way, in Niagara, 1953, original screenplay by Charles Brackett, Walter Reisch and Richard Breen.
Niagara (1953) - How Big They Are Following the credits, brooding George (Joseph Cotten) narrates in the mist from the falls, joining sleeping spouse Rose (Marilyn Monroe), in director Henry Hathaway's color-noir, Niagara, 1953.
Niagara (1953) - Well Run Him Down To The Morgue A body fished from the falls, diabolical Rose (Marilyn Monroe) with detective Starkey (Denis O'Dea), expecting to I-D her husband, then hospitalized, friend Polly (Jean Peters) visiting, in Henry Hathaway's Niagara, 1953.
O. Henry's Full House (1952) - Many Kinds Of A Writer Henry Hathaway, among the five credited directors, directs this introduction, John Steinbeck hired to stand in for the deceased author, leading into the first story, featuring Charles Laughton as “Soapy,” in the popular 20th Century-Fox anthology O. Henry’s Full House, 1952.
How The West Was Won (1962) - In The Spirit Of Your Forefathers Trapper Rawlings (James Stewart) is planning revenge on merchant bandit Hawkins (Walter Brennan) and crew, even as he’s fleecing bible beating Prescott (Karl Malden) and his clan (Agnes Moorehead, Debbie Reynolds, Carroll Baker et al), mayhem ensuing, in director Henry Hathaway’s segment of How The West Was Won, 1962.
Call Northside 777 (1948) - He's A Cop Killer On location at the Wrigley building in Chicago, reporter McNeal (James Stewart) with washer-woman Tillie (Kasia Orzazewski) who's raised $5,000 to help exonerate her convict son, then with his editor Kelly (Lee J. Cobb), early in Henry Hathaway's Call Northside 777, 1948.

Trailer

Prince Valiant - (Original Trailer) A young Viking prince strives to become a knight in King Arthur''s Court and restore his exiled father to his rightful throne in Prince Valiant (1954).
Fourteen Hours - (Original Trailer) Richard Basehart threatens to jump off the ledge of his fourteenth floor hotel room in Fourteen Hours (1951).
Racers, The - (Textless Trailer) A man (Kirk Douglas) alienates everyone around him on his goal to become a world-famous race car driver in The Racers (1955).
Dark Corner, The - (Original Trailer) Secretary Lucille Ball helps her private eye boss when he's framed for murder in The Dark Corner (1946).
O. Henry's Full House - (Original Trailer) Five stories reveal O. Henry's gift for the surprise ending with the help of five directors and a host of stars in O. Henry's Full House (1952).
Sons of Katie Elder, The - (Original Trailer) John Wayne stars in The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) about four sons of a ranch owner out to avenge his death.
True Grit - (Original Trailer) John Wayne was awarded Best Actor playing a drunken U.S. Marshal who gets in touch with his True Grit (1969).
13 Rue Madeleine - (Original Trailer) Tragedy occurs when a spy chief finds out one of his agents-in-training is actually a Nazi double agent in 13 Rue Madeleine (1947).
Legend of the Lost - (Original Trailer) Three adventurers (John Wayne, Sophia Loren, Rosanno Brazzi) search for a treasure in a forbidden desert temple.
Lives of a Bengal Lancer, The - (Re-issue trailer) Three British soldiers in India fight invaders when not fighting each other in The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935) starring Gary Cooper and Franchot Tone.
Seven Thieves - (Original Trailer) A professor (Edward G. Robinson) and thief decide to join together and pull off a heist in Seven Thieves (1960).
Call Northside 777 - (Re-issue Trailer) A Chicago reporter (James Stewart) re-opens a ten year old murder case in Call Northside 777 (1948).

Family

Marquis Henri Leopold de Fiennes
Grandfather
Title was commissioned by the King of the Belgians.
Rhoady de Fiennes
Father
Theatrical manager.
Jean Hathaway
Mother
Actor.
John Henry Hathaway
Son

Companions

Blanche Hathaway
Wife
Second wife; married in 1932.

Bibliography

"Henry Hathaway: A Directors Guild of America Oral History"
Rudy Behlmer (editor), Scarecrow Press (2001)