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No. 1 director for 1934 is Columbia's Frank Capra (Lady for a Day, It Happened One Night). A chunky Italian with short fingers and round, glossy eyes, he has a fine sense of human comedy, an aptitude for "gags" that dates back to the days when he was "gagman" for Hal Roach's Our Gang. He has collaborated on all his hits with Writer Robert Riskin, considers that no good actor can become a has-been, asks his cast for advice before making a scene but seldom follows it. His opinion of Clark Gable: "As soon as he walked into the studio I knew he was a comedian. It was written all over his face."
Howard Hawks is a specialist in action stories with a technical background (The Dawn Patrol, Scarface, The Crowd Roars). Lean, tall, with grey hair and a young face, he inherited a fortune which he lost in silent pictures, gained enough experience to make another. He always works with his writers preparing stories. Patient, diligent, tactful, he calls his actors by their first names. They call him Mr. Hawks. His wife is Norma Shearer's sister Athole. He plays good golf, drives a green Duesenberg, loses weight every time he makes a picture.
Lowell Sherman's best picture was Morning Glory but his specialty is sophisticated comedy-drama. Recently he signed a contract with Universal for whom he is now making The Night Life of the Gods. It calls for $5,000 per week if he directs, $7,500 if he also acts. Instead of rehearsing each scene under lights, Sherman rehearses the whole picture for two weeks before shooting. He has a spiky mustache, a bald dome of a head which give him the appearance of a considerate Mephistopheles. He wears linen knickerbockers and short socks. Artistic pretensions he especially despises. When Director John Stahl put up a sign "No Visitors" on his set. Director Sherman had a sign painted for his set: "See the Great Sherman At Work At Last. All Visitors Welcome. One Dollar a Head."
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's W. S. ("Woody") Van Dyke (White Shadows in the South Seas, Trader Horn, Eskimo) dislikes being pigeonholed as a "location-director." Yet such he was until he made The Prizefighter and the Lady last autumn. Since then he has made Manhattan Melodrama and The Thin Man, both smash hits. He rarely makes more than two "takes" of a scene; many directors make a dozen. He is a reserve captain in the Marine Corps. Most of his friends are military officers. Military maneuvres are his hobby and he maps out his pictures like a general planning a campaign. Parties in his house, which is filled with trophies from Africa, the South Seas and Alaska, are among Hollywood's most successful. He looks like a rough top-sergeant but speaks politely with clipped military accents. He tries to get Myrna Loy for his pictures and is principally responsible for her stardom.