David Thomson on Howard Hawks

He disparaged plot and content and barely referred to camera effects. There was no attempt to conceal the stress on masculine values in his films. And no interest in going beyond the understatement shared by most of his characters or in elaborating on the implications and undertones of the recurring, ritualistic situations that that obsess him. Like Monet forever painting lilies or Bonnard always re-creating his wife in her bath, Hawks made only one artwork. It is the principle of that movie that men are more expressive rolling a cigarette than saving the world. There was an absurdist in Hawks, and a Nabokovian delight in the game for its own sake. Thus, in a very important way, this seeming American may have been against the grain of his time and place. That may help explain why the films grow in wonder.

— A Biographical Dictionary of Film