Picks and Pans Review: John Huston: the Man, the Movies, the Maverick

updated 06/12/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/12/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

TNT (Mon., June 12, 8 P.M.)

B+

Even at 128 minutes, this documentary just scratches the surface of Huston's life as a film director, raconteur, hunter, boxer, painter, actor, writer and womanizer.

The 41 films he directed are as eclectic as his personality—among them are The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Mad re, The African Queen, The Misfits, Annie, Prizzi's Honor and The Dead, completed just before he died in 1987. Interviews with Huston are shown, and in one he lists his five wives as "schoolgirl, gentlewoman, actress, ballerina and crocodile." Insightful, if not always loving, remembrances come from Arthur Miller, Paul Newman, Michael Caine, Lauren Bacall, ex-wife Evelyn Keyes and Zoë Sallis and Huston's children, Anjelica and Danny. Despite many clips from Huston films (was there ever a better combination than Huston directing Bogart?), the show doesn't clarify the reasons for his hits and failures. One thing is clear though. Even if his films' heroes often failed to achieve their impossible goals, Huston did. "He made every day a feast," says narrator and pal Robert Mitchum.

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