Howard Hughes was one of the most fascinating people who ever lived - brilliant but unstable, a man who loved aviation, movies, Hollywood, and a man who craved adventure. It's hard to ruin a documentary about him because he's just so darned interesting.
This 1999 documentary starts with a look at Hughes' background, his running of Hughes Electronics, his forays into aviation and the movies. It has interviews with people who worked alongside Hughes as he developed his interests in Las Vegas; they went through his time in seclusion, which resulted in power struggles throughout his organization.
I've read about Hughes and seen other documentaries, yet there were some things I didn't know which I found very interesting. He obviously was a man whose brain was always going full bore. When he was hospitalized after crashing a plane in Beverly Hills (so brilliantly shown in Aviator), at that time, there was no such thing as a hospital bed. Hughes invented it. It was probably at that time that he became addicted to codeine. His interest in buying hotels in Las Vegas grew out of staying in a hotel for months, in seclusion -- when the management tried to throw him out, he just bought the hotel. Later, he added others.
The last part of Hughes' life is extremely tragic, as apparently he was terribly neglected in a deranged state - seven broken needles were found in his arm; he also had festering sores. The people who were supposed to care for him were out for themselves. For a man who was so creative and had such a brilliant mind, his final state is horrible to contemplate. Still, he made some valuable contributions to our world, and it's best to dwell on those.
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