Clifford Irving (played by Richard Gere) is a writer, he’s had reasonable success but he dreams of writing the great blockbuster. He’s frustrated and disappointed because his publishers, McGraw-Hill, have recently rejected his new manuscript. Extremely short on cash, he’s already spent much of the pre-payment he received from them – now he must find a way to pay that back and still afford to live. It’s 1971 and Cliff gets an idea – the perfect novel. A biography about the reclusive Howard Hughes … Cliff would need to fabricate it from archives, but of such a secretive subject that nobody has seen for years – who would know whether Cliff really has worked with Hughes or not? In the era of a Nixon re-election, Cliff enlists the help of his best friend Dick Suskind (by Alfred Molina) to research and write the book of the century together. The publishers can’t believe their luck … but is it actually too good to be true?
This is a fictional version of Clifford Irving’s memoir “The Hoax“. It’s billed as a comedy, but again the funny part of this story is lost on me. Irving’s experience is fascinating, particularly the sequences where a viewer is not sure what’s real and what’s imagined – directed well by Lasse Hallstrom and portrayed with authenticity by both Richard Gere and Alfred Molina. They work very well together. The movie is a little too long for me, but interesting – Hughes is certainly an enigma. Mostly, I felt sorry for Irving – but the greed, deception and treachery of the parties involved (all concerned about their own reputations) brings an edge of intrigue and drama to this story. It’s a pretty good scam, actually.
Made in 2006. Directed by Lasse Hallström