Only Angels Have Wings

Howard Hawks had difficulty with Jean Arthur filming Only Angels Have Wings (1939).  Hawks wanted her to be a typical Hawksian woman, but Jean always refused, telling him “I can’t do that kind of stuff.”  Later on, after seeing Lauren Bacall’s film debut in To Have and Have Not,  she regretted her rigid outlook and told Hawks if they ever worked together again, she would try anything he asked, but Hawks had long since moved on.

Only Angels Have Wings

Rita Hayworth is reunited with Cary Grant as her current boyfriend Richard Barthelmess is concerned in Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings

Cary Grant as Geoff Carter in Only Angels Have Wings (1939).  It was the second of three movies in a row Howard Hawks made starring Cary, but it was the first and only drama, greatly expanding Cary’s on screen persona best exploited by Alfred Hitchcock in Suspicion, Notorious and North by Northwest.  For Hawks, Cary would make two more comedies, I Was a Male War Bride and Monkey Business.

Only Angels Have Wings

Jean Arthur at the piano in a typical Howard Hawks musical interlude from the drama in Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings


Cary Grant helps Thomas Mitchell with a smoke in Only Angels Have Wings (1939), symbolizing their closeness as friends and work partners.

Only Angels Have Wings

Only Angels Have Wings is Howard Hawks’ 23rd film.

Only Angels Have Wings premiered May 11, 1939.

Millie Sierra, credited as Milissa Sierra in the imdb, and pictured with Noah Beery Jr, is barely seen in the final version of the film.

Only Angels Have Wings

Rita Hayworth and Richard Barthelmess in a publicity still for Only Angels Have Wings (1939).  The film was Rita’s first big production, after spending her first few years in Hollywood in forgettable low budget turkeys.  Richard was a big star in silent films, most notably in Broken Blossoms (1919) and Way Down East (1920) both with Lillian Gish and directed by DW Griffith.

Only Angels Have Wings

Cary Grant and Jean Arthur in Only Angels Have Wings (1939).  They were reteamed in another classic, The Talk of the Town (1942).

Only Angels Have Wings

Cary Grant and Rita Hayworth in a publicity still for Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings


Cary Grant owns a South American fleet of cargo airplanes, and acts as air traffic controller in dangerous terrain in Only Angels Have Wings (1939)….”Calling Baranca.”