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Howard Hughes: The Man and the Madness (1999)

Documentary on the idiosyncratic, eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes utilizes rare archive footage and interviews with associates to shed light on the Hughes enigma.



(screenplay) (as Flora Myers),
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Credited cast:
Shannon Bollinger
Brett Brinkhoff
Jan Dicken
Frances Millard ...
(as Flora Myers)
Greta Garbo (voice) (archive footage)
Patti Vallier


A documentary on the eccentric billionaire who was a pioneer in both aviation and film production. Unfortunately his obsessive-compulsive behavior and drug abuse made him a mysterious, bizarre recluse in the eyes of the public and the media. Interviews with business associates and newly discovered archival footage shed light on the Hughes enigma. Written by duke1029@aol.com

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Another Hughes documentary
15 December 2010 | by See all my reviews

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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