We went to the movie theater yesterday to see The Hoax; the new Richard Gere movie based on Clifford Irving’s retelling of his amazing Howard Hughes hoax. Judging by the numbers at BoxOfficeMojo, not many others went. The Hoax was #16 for the second week.
The Hoax is playing locally at Cine4 in North Haven. An independently owned and operated theater, we enjoy going there, in spite of its somewhat worn interior.
The parking lot is painted with faded lines denoting the spaces. I mention this because cars were parked in a somewhat free spirited fashion. I actually saw a few cars which were blocked, front and rear, by other cars!
The Hoax tells the story of Clifford Irving, an author down on his luck. He’s already spent the money from a ‘sure thing’ novel which suddenly gets axed. Desperate, he hatches a plot to write Howard Hughes autobiography.
Of course, Hughes was a recluse – speaking to no one. And, he was in the midst of troubling civil litigation, giving him extra incentive to stay out-of-sight. Who could possibly deny Irving’s book was bonafide? Certainly not Hughes!
I remembered a good part of this story. Those were turbulent times and the whole Irving/Hughes affair became a big deal in the press.
Toward the end, Irving (who also wrote the book on which this movie is based) implies he was actually set up by Hughes… a victim of opportunity.
Irving also implies Watergate might have been brought on by Richard Nixon’s paranoia over what Howard Hughes might have had on him – details which were released to Clifford Irving.
It was a little tough to buy those two factors. I suppose they could be true. My thought is, they were added by Irving to make him seem a little more sympathetic.
Richard Gere and Alfred Molina were effortlessly wonderful as Irving and Dick Suskind, his friend/researcher/collaborator. It is nice to see fine actors, like Molina, who aren’t pretty, get meaty roles.
The movie featured a strong supporting cast, including Eli Wallach, Hope Davis and Marcia Gay Harding. If Helaine hadn’t told me which part was played by Stanley Tucci, I would have missed him.
My guess is, you’re probably too late to see this in the theater. It’s definitely a worthwhile rental… an opportunity that seems to come closer and closer to the theatrical release.