Martin Scorsese's THE AVIATOR is a lavish spectacle of a motion picture that harkens back to Hollywood's Golden Era in telling the story of Howard Hughes, one of 20th-century America's most pioneering and influential figures. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the eccentric billionaire, Scorsese's biopic concentrates on Hughes's life between the 1920s and '40s, when he made some of his most striking contributions to both the film and aviation industries. At only 25 years of age, Hughes directed the most expensive film ever made up to that point, HELL'S ANGELS (1930), which Scorsese gleefully recreates here in all its sprawling, audacious glory. At the same time, he became known as an unabashed playboy, bedding the likes of Jean Harlow (singer Gwen Stefani), Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale), and Katherine Hepburn (a brilliant Cate Blanchett). In the mid-'30s, he turned his attention to the aviation industry, where he quickly became a world-renowned celebrity for shattering speed and distance records. He also continued to test the limits of flight technology, building bigger, faster, and stronger aircrafts. All the while, he struggled with an obsessive-compulsive mental disorder that sent him into a full-fledged tailspin after a near-fatal plane crash. The film concludes with Hughes being called to the Senate in '47 to defend himself against nefarious Senator Owen Brewster (Alan Alda), who accused Hughes of taking money from the United States government during wartime.
Commentary by Scorsese
Modern Marvels: Howard Hughes - a 45 minute Documentary By The History Channel
The Role Of Howard Hughes In Aviation History
An evening with Leonardo DiCaprio and Alan Alda
The Affliction of Howard Hughes: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
OCD Panel Discussion With Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese, And Howard Hughes' Widow Terry Moore
The Age Of Glamour: The Hair And Makeup
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Brilliant potted history of aviator & businessman Howard Hug
Posted by Play.com Reviewer, 30/12/2008 17:16:53
This is a superb little summary of Howard Hughes life and times and should appeal to all and sundry, though it may be not as exciting as some action/adventure lovers would wish.
Good performances from virtually all concerned (especially main stars DiCaprio, Cate Blanchette, Kate Beckinsale, Alan Alda) combine with a great all-round family-friendly story to make a 4-5* film.
The documentary (as opposed to "making of" etc) extras are superb and give more insight into the man who, thanks to his own ability and the money from his father's development of a modern oil-drilling bit, broke the world air-speed record, built the largest plane in the world out of wood (the Hercules transport sea-plane), made the first multi-million dollar movie (Hell's Angels 1930 at $4 million), bought TWA and became the richest man in the world.
Into everything technical, the film and extras show that you have Howard Hughes to thank for a myriad of modern technologies like fast, above the clouds, pressurised-cabin long-haul flight, hydraulic aircraft control systems, satellite communications, computer guidance systems and even to some extent jet-engine development. At most points he just seemed to correctly recognise exactly where the future lay before most others. Even GB Prime Minister Winston Churchill was indirectly involved with him.
A congress committee brought about by a rival airline tried but failed to screw him for taking the tax-payers' money during WW2 and not coming up with the goods when all and sundry were doing exactly the same for much more vast sums of money.
The great man died in 1976 as a result of the effects of his obsessive, compulsive disorder, never of course then diagnosed as such, which had become an ever-increasing problem since the 1930s, having become a recluse last photographed in public in 1952. His estate took years to sort out.
This is all superb stuff indeed and most highly recommended to all.
Note: This Review was made by Play.com customer: OldEnglandsEyes69 on Rakuten’s Play.com on the date shown.
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