Just as I would have any actor that ever worked with us watch the movie His Girl Friday, I’d want anyone on our crew to see Only Angels Have Wings.
Both movies were directed by Howard Hawks and pretty much every movie Hawks made had something to do with professionalism. By professionalism, I mean this question: “Are you good enough?” And if you say you’re good enough, you’ll prove it. You’ll do the job. You won’t complain. You’ll deliver your best even if it costs some sweat, some blood, some goddamn portion of your life or all of it.
In Only Angels Have Wings, this crew of guys fly male over foggy South American mountains. If the weather’s bad, if there’s little chance of return but someone has to go up, one of them goes. No whining. They chew the fear in their guts and do the best. They look at one another and ask, “Are you good enough?” And they’re not full of all that mumbo-jumbo seriousness. Screw seriousness. They laugh, sometimes they fight, they do their work and sometimes they die. It’s natural.
If I taught a film class on production, the first day I would show Only Angels Have Wings. After the movie ended, I’d tell them that class was dismissed, that they knew all they needed to make movies.
What makes a good crew (and the kind of crew I want on any Running Wild movie) is one filled with the kinds of men and women that populate the movies of Howard Hawks. Professionals: meaning people with a force of mind and spirit, a fun creative drive, and an attitude of getting the job done.
Technical knowledge and expertise means utter shit to me. Give me an amateur who will say, “I am good enough. I will get the job done,” and this person will outrank any master of technology and equipment.
Another director named Werner Herzog said he wanted to surround himself with people of faith and commitment. Yes. This is what makes a good crew.