Tuesday, October 23, 2007

DVD Movie Review: "The Hoax"

I've got a question for all you writer's out there. How far would you go to make that big book deal? Would you lie, cheat and steal?

Well as told in "The Hoax," Clifford Irving did just that in order to sell a book. He had just been turned down by McGraw-Hill and was on his last leg, they even repossessed his couch. So during a weekend vacation which was originally scheduled to celebrate the book deal that didn't happen, Clifford and his friend, Dick Suskind get booted out of their hotel along with hundreds of other residents, just so Howard Hughes can stay in his hotel. This gives Clifford the idea to write Hughes' autobiography, the problem is that Howard Hughes doesn't know this is going to happen.

This is the story behind the story. The movie "The Hoax" follows the life of Clifford Irving from the moment he decides to write that fictional autobiography to getting caught and going to prison. I'm sorry to ruin the ending for you, but i think, like most historical movies, the ending is known. Just like in the movie Titanic, we all knew the boat would sink, it was the getting there that took us away from our real lives for awhile.

The movie creates the feel of the times with some great scenes with Richard Gere (Irving) and Alfred Molina (Suskind). Molina portrays Suskind as an unwilling participant, his nervousness makes for some very humorous scenes. But at the same time the tension of almost getting caught pulling the wool over the eyes of the publisher and Life Magazine feel very real to the viewer. Even though you know they got caught in real life, you're still on the edge of your seat actually hoping they don't.

One of the aspects throughout the movie are the loss of grasp of reality that Clifford Irving seems to have. Througout the movie we are seeing through his eyes. At times there are some mysterious communications that seem to happen betwee Howard Hughes (or his people) and Clifford Irving. But you never really know if they are real or not. This makes for the real fun in this movie. Not knowing at times if it really happened or not, and that is what makes this a must see movie. Oh that, and a little history lesson on Richard Nixon/ Watergate and Howard Hughes. This conspiracy aspect makes the movie something that you will talk long after the dvd is over.

The movie stars:

  • Richard Gere - Clifford Irving

  • Alfred Molina - Dick Suskind

  • Hope Davis - Andrea Tate

  • Marcia Gay Harden - Edith Irving

  • Stanley Tucci - Shelton Fisher

  • Julie Delpy - Nina Van Pallandt (Richard Gere appeared with the real Nina Van Pallandt in the movie American Gigolo (1980).

  • Eli Wallach - Noah Dietrich

  • John Carter - Harold McGraw

  • Christopher Evan Welch - Albert Vanderkamp

  • Zeljko Ivanek - Ralph Graves

Another aspect of this movie was the makeup used to make Richard Gere look like Clifford Irving the make up effects are subtle yet effective.

Okay with most dvds there are Easter Eggs, hidden little links that show some extra scene or whatever. This dvd is no different. If you go to the Bonus Features menu and highlight the top item in that menu, push your left arrow on your dvd remote. You will then see a Republican Elephant icon. If you then click on that you will get a picture of a tape recorder when you push play you can hear the opening titles theme song.

Also a little side, since you really can't get the book that Clifford Irving wrote and was almost published, you can download some excerpts of it from Clifford Irvings website.

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