Early in 1971, the publishing company McGraw-Hill passes on Clifford Irving's new novel. He's desperate for money, so, against the backdrop of Nixon's reelection calculations, Irving claims he has Howard Hughes's cooperation to write Hughes's autobiography. With the help of friend Richard Suskind, Irving does research, lucks into a manuscript written by a long-time Hughes associate, and plays on corporate greed. He's quick-thinking and outrageously bold. Plus, he banks on Hughes's reluctance to enter the public eye. At the same time, he's trying to rebuild his marriage and deflect the allure of his one-time mistress, Nina van Pallandt. Can he write a good book, take the money, and pull off the hoax?Written by
Clifford Irving died December 19, 2017. He was 87. See more »
A document in one of the files sent to Irving states that Howard Hughes loaned Donald Nixon, brother of Richard Nixon, $205,000 in 1956 to secure Pentagon contracts; Irving concludes that this information will bring Richard Nixon down if made public. In fact, the loan was to help Donald Nixon save his restaurant chain, and became public knowledge during the 1960 presidential race. See more »
Bumped by this adolescent coffee boy. My lit professor at Cornell compared me to Hemingway! The middle of my life is at hand, and I don't have a couch.
Think about this: Henry Miller was 38-years-old, unpublished. His wife left him for a lesbian.
You're kind to tell me that, Dick. You're a very good man. You're a good friend. Need a loan?
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Enjoyable Screen Adaptation of a Fascinating True Story
The Hoax is a screen adaptation of the true story of one of the most daring, bold, and intricate confidence schemes ever plotted. As a long-time fan of heists, cons, and trickery, I already knew the story before seeing the film, and so seeing the movie, I judged the portrayal rather than the story itself. Lasse Hallstrom does not make a great film, but he definitely makes an enjoyable film. Certain scenes aren't quite filmed the most powerful way they could be. Clean, nice, standard cinematography is used in scenes that have less atmosphere because of it. Other scenes, in particular the scenes of theft, lying, drama, and other intense things provoked by the dangerously dishonest mind of Clifford Irving, are given a thrilling, extremely exciting pins-and-needles feeling. In terms of the story, I learned a lot about it that I didn't know that amazed and impressed me, mostly involving the influence the scheme inadvertently had politically.
Richard Gere plays Clifford Irving well enough, but the entire time, I kept thinking of different actors who would've been much more becoming and much more intense. Clifford Irving was a man of dark, magnetic, manipulative vigor and depth. Gere plays him more dryly, as though Irving was virtually cool and carefree rather than coolly masking that intensity.
Alfred Molina, a scene-stealer as always, upstages Gere greatly as his nervous friend and partner in crime who is made to do all the high-risk dirty work, which translates into hilarity on screen.
The Hoax is a wonderful story and a good movie. If it had a different lead and broader scope in the directing, it could've been a wonderful movie, too.
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