Only Angels Have Wings

foreign poster for Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings

foreignn poster for Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings

original insert poster for Only Angels Have Wings (1939).  Hawks made screen tests with a few other actresses for the part of Judy in the film, and Hawks chose the relatively obscure Rita Hayworth because she has “a face that the camera likes.”  The film made her a star.  She capitalized on that stardom when she became a superstar with Gilda, and The Lady from Shanghai, when she was the wife of Orson Welles.

Only Angels Have Wings

original artwork for Only Angels Have Wings (1939).  It was the studio’s second most expensive production to date, after Frank Capra’s Lost Horizon (1937).

Only Angels Have Wings

foreign theater poster for Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings

Only Angels Have Wings premiered May 12, 1939.  It was Howard Hawks’ third film at Columbia Pictures, and 23rd film as director.  It was his final film of the 30s.  He made 15 films in the decade, and they’re all good, and four are widely regarded masterpieces:  Scarface, Twentieth Century, Bringing Up Baby, and Only Angels Have Wings.

Howard Hawks

screencap from the original trailer for Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Howard Hawks’ career in film did not begin with his seven silent films at Twentieth Century Fox, 1926-28.  Hawks worked on 34 or more features from 1917, at the age of 20, to 1926.  His first involvement with Hollywood came when he designed a modern set for a Douglas Fairbanks production.  Then he was a prop man on a couple of Mary Pickford pictures.  In 1920 he became part of an independent production company, Associated Producers, Inc. that produced 14 features from 1920 to 1923.  As a rich kid, he provided financial assistance for the company, with no apparent artistic contribution.   From 1923 to 1926 Hawks free lanced as producer/editor on a few films at the big Hollywood studios, as well as earning original story credits for a couple of features.  While he never directed a film in his first 10 years in Hollywood, and none of his early credits are remembered today, he learned enough to keep him on top of his game for the next 40 years.

Only Angels Have Wings

original title card for Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings

publicity still for Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings

Jean Arthur and Cary Grant in an another group sing-along in Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings

Victor Killian and Cary Grant in an original publicity still for Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings

Lucio Villegas is the doctor in a publicity still for Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings

Cary Grant, Rita Hayworth and Richard Barthelmess in an original publicity still for Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings

Cary Grant is a mail pilot over the Andes in Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings

(1939)