Thursday, December 30, 2004



Howard Hughes was born in 1905. His father, Howard Hughes Sr., made his fortune by designing a special drill bit that enabled speculators to reach the large pockets of oil lying beneath hard rock. The Hughes Tool Company held the patent for the new drill bit and leased them to oil drillers.
When Hughes Jr. was just 16-years old, his doting mother passed away. Less than two years later, he lost his father as well and received 75% of his father's million-dollar estate; the other 25% went to relatives.
Hughes soon disagreed with his relatives over the running of the company. But being only 18-years old, he could not do anything about it because he was not considered legally an adult. Frustrated but determined, Hughes went to court and got a judge to grant him legal adulthood status even though he was not yet 21. He then bought out his relatives' shares of the company. Consequently, even though still a teenager, Hughes became full owner of The Hughes Tool Company.
In 1925, he decided to move to Hollywood and spend some time with his uncle, Rupert, who was a screenwriter. Hughes quickly became enchanted with movie making. With money available to him from his company, he jumped right in and filmed Swell Hogan. Upon viewing it after final editing, he concluded that it was so bad he didn't want his name associated with it. It has probably never been seen by anyone other than Hughes and his film editor. Learning from his mistakes, Hughes continued making movies. His second one, Two Arabian Knights, won an Oscar. With one success under his belt, Hughes wanted to make an epic movie about aviation in the First World War and set to work on Hell's Angels. It became his obsession and Hughes continued making films, producing over 26 of them in his lifetime. He died in 1976, aboard an airplane, while travelling from Acapulco, Mexico to Houston, Texas.

Leonardo DiCaprio: Howard Hughes, best known as an eccentric billionaire
John C. Reilly: Noah Dietrich, his business advisor
Alec Baldwin: Juan Trippe, Chairman of rival Pan-Am Airlines
Cate Blanchett: Katharine Hepburn, movie star and one of Hughes’ girlfriends
Stanley DeSantis: Loius B. Mayer, head of MGM studios
Jude Law: Errol Flynn, movie star
Kelli Garner: Faith Domergue, 15-year old teen discovery and Hughes’ mistress
Kate Beckinsale: Ava Gardner, another lover
Alan Alda: U.S. Senator Owen Brewster

This is a biography of a man who’s been described as a genius, filmmaker, playboy, entrepreneur, irresponsible aviator, and neurotic.

However, the movie suffers from several major faults:
1. it’s far too long: at 2 hours and 46 minutes there are ample opportunities to do some serious editing without adversely affecting the story line
2. the director, it seems to me, is too anxious to get to the “good stuff” (a movie about making a movie) and skips right over the crucially important early years of Howard Hughes’ life
3. the tedious Senate hearings, although revealing, put a halt to the rapid fire pace of the story

for thematic elements, sexual content, nudity, language and a crash sequence.

Hughes set an aircraft speed record of 352 mph in his specially built Hughes H-1 racer. In 1938 he was the recipient of The Harmon Trophy, awarded by The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, for the most outstanding international achievement in the preceding year.

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