John Huston is one of the most revered directors of modern cinema. The man practically put the film noir genre in the cinematic map, which has made cinema more interesting and film fans eternally grateful. Huston may not be as prolific a director compared to others in the pantheon of great auteurs but Huston has proven that even with fewer films, he has managed to make a number that are truly memorable. Below are just six of the best Huston films ever made. You should check them out.
1. African Queen
This film classic starred Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in probably one of the strongest acting collaborations in cinema. The film smolders from the great chemistry of Hepburn and Bogart. Both actors were already considered way past their prime when they made this movie but with Huston’s deft direction, he proved the critics wrong by bringing out one of the best performances of their career. Decades after it was released, African Queen is still widely considered as one of the best films of all time.
2. Beat The Devil
Beat The Devil is one of those Huston films that has gained cult status. The film’s a caper but instead of getting all serious, this is actually a comedy. The strong ensemble (which featured Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida and Peter Lorre) fed of each other to create really mesmerizing scenes. Surprisingly, most of the scenes were ad libbed as the script was being rewritten (by no less than Truman Capote) at the very moment it was being filmed.
3. The Treasure of The Sierra Madre
Everyone knows about the myth of gold in the Sierra Madre, and this is what this film is about. Part adventure, part western, this film is a wonderfully intense look at greed and what men do because of it. The film was not well received at the box office when it was first released, but despite being a bomb at the box office, it is considered one of Huston’s best films and eventually won for Huston the Best Director Oscar and even a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his father, Walther, who played a memorable role in the film. Huston will consequently also direct his daughter Angelica Huston in Prizzi’s Honor, where she will also win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
4. The Misfits
Directed by Huston from a script written by Arthur Miller, The Misfits is a memorable drama that starred Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe (who was married to Miller at the time). The Misfits enters the annals of film as the last, completed film for these two screen legends. The film can loosely be termed a western, but it bucks many conventions of the genre. What it does have though are powerful performances from almost all of the actors, and the memorable lines that Miller wrote for the actors, despite a crumbling marriage with Monroe that was happening while this movie was being shot.
5. The Man Who Would Be King
Starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine, The Man Who Would Be King, is another film that deals with the lust for power and greed. Huston is already quite familiar with these themes, having directed The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of The Sierra Madre and Beat the Devil. Connery and Caine gave excellent performances as English soldiers in India and although it may be considered as politically incorrect in this PC times, it remains one of Huston’s most entertaining movies.
6. The Maltese Falcon
Arguably Huston’s best film. The Maltese Falcon is what people think about when talking about film noir. This is Huston’s directorial debut (he also wrote the script). Such a strong first movie is a testament to Huston’s immense talents both as a director and as a writer.
Now I have six more movies to put on my list. Thanks!
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Quintin Tekell says
I didn’t agree with all you mentioned but it was unquestionably intriguing! I look forward to the next one.
I am so in love with African Queen. The chemistry between Hepburne and Bogart is unparalleled.
The Asphalt Jungle is his best film, in my opinion… by far.
Thanks for this list. I now have more reason to check out more of Huston’s films.