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Huston, John (1906–1987) By Neighbors, Ryan

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM317-1
Published: 09/05/2016
Retrieved: 24 March 2018, from


John Huston was an American actor, director, and screenwriter, who became one of the world’s most influential filmmakers. Born in Missouri to Rhea Huston, a sports editor, and Walter Huston, a vaudeville actor and eventual film star, Huston spent his early years as an artist, author, reporter, soldier, and amateur boxer. He started out in Hollywood as a screenwriter for Samuel Goldwyn at Universal Studios, and later for Warner Bros. At Warner Bros., he helped to launch Humphrey Bogart’s career with High Sierra (1941). A string of successful scripts gained him his first directing job with Maltese Falcon (1941), a film that would thrust Huston into the limelight. In total, his career spanned over five decades, earned him fifteen Oscar nominations and two Academy awards, a Golden Globe, and several lifetime achievement awards. Huston worked in multiple genres, including comedies, war films, musicals, Westerns, adventures, and literary adaptations. His most pronounced role, however, likely involved his development of the modernist film noir, writing and directing several classics of the genre, including Key Largo (1948) and The Asphalt Jungle (1950). Many of these films call into question traditional forms of authority, religious faith, and epistemology, and focus on protagonists who wander the world on a journey to define their own values.

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Citing this article:

Neighbors, Ryan. "Huston, John (1906–1987)." The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. : Taylor and Francis, 2016. Date Accessed 24 Mar. 2018 doi:10.4324/9781135000356-REM317-1

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