Archive | 6:00 pm

Show Him the Blueprints

7 Apr

True story: In 1971, author Clifford Irving pulled the wool over publisher McGraw-Hill’s eyes when he told them he was collaborating with the reclusive Howard Hughes on his autobiography. The new film The Hoax tells the story of Irving’s lie, and does so in convincing fashion. Hughes’ life, of course, was the subject of Martin Scorsese’s long and overrated The Aviator, and it’s fun to see a different perspective on that subject.

The Hoax boasts a top-notch cast, including Richard Gere and Alfred Molina as the author and his researcher partner. Both are very good. It’s especially enjoyable to watch as Gere keeps cooking up new stories on the fly. The story moves at a good pace, and director Lasse Hallstrom (Chocolat, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape) keeps it all grounded in reality, with archival footage peppered in for period effect. Of course, given that the movie is based on Irving’s own memoir about the experience, it doesn’t really dwell much on how the publishers themselves fell for Irving’s hoax. It’s hard to believe it could be as easy as it’s portrayed, even if it was 1971, in the days before the Internets and the mass media. Nevertheless, this is a true story about an untrue one, and as I’m trying to get across here, it’s a good one. I give The Hoax a B+.

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