Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"The Hoax" with Richard Gere (2006)

This is a great movie about Clifford Irving’s alleged attempt to forge an autobiography of Howard Hughes. I say alleged because I have never been convinced that Mr. Irving wasn't the foil of larger forces. Think about it; a mediocre author, rejected by his publisher; suddenly comes up with the idea, and opportunity, to do an autobiography of the world’s richest and most reclusive man, and manages to secure a whopping $100,000 advance from the publisher. Now he has to produce the book.

In his mind he is in actual contact with the legendary millionaire via handwritten letters detailing his life’s story. But is he? The handwriting experts all say the letters are genuine, but are they? In this cinematic version, based on actual documents and interviews, the author has hatched this plan with a friend, who doubts that the scheme will work. Banking on the greed of the publisher to land the most coveted book of the last 50 years, they study Hughes’ handwriting, honing their skills to perfection, and then creating the letters.

When he is accused of forging the letters, he manages to raise the advance to $1 million dollars, which only serves to ratchet up the pressure to produce the book. 

The money is exchanged based on the publisher’s eagerness to get the book out, only to be outwitted by either the author, or the forces he claims are arrayed against him. The goal, of course, was to add fuel to the fire when the real powers that be decided to bring Nixon down via Watergate. What better ammunition to have than a documented payment from Hughes via a disgraced publisher to a suspect author? If this seems confusing you really need to brush up on the connections between the Bay of Pigs, Dealey Plaza, and finally the Watergate affair, which was concocted to bring down the President by exposing his links to some of the most atrocious events of the 1960’s.

Excellent acting by Richard Gere; along with a tightly woven account of the events; are the things which drive this film, making it well worth watching.

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