The Aviator (2004)

PG-13 | 166 or 169 mins | Biography, Drama | 25 December 2004

THIS TITLE IS OUTSIDE THE AFI CATALOG OF FEATURE FILMS (1893-1993)
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HISTORY

At the beginning of the picture, only the Miramax Films and Warner Bros. logos appear, then the title. At the end of the film, the credits for director Martin Scorsese, writer John Logan, the production companies, producers, executive producers and actor Leonardo DiCaprio appear before the title is shown again. The main actors are then listed, beginning with Cate Blanchett and ending with Jude Law. Credits for several more actors are intercut with credits for the leading crew members, such as director of photography Robert Richardson and production designer Dante Ferretti. When the roster of cast and character names begins, the lead actors are listed first, followed by a list of other actors in order of their appearance. Throughout the film, title cards appear indicating times, places and character names.
       According to various news items, at one point more than seven projects on the life of Howard Hughes were in development, including a long time plan by actor-producer Warren Beatty. As various projects dissolved, two separate projects about Hughes appeared to be in simultaneous development. A 9 Jan 2005 NYT article, however, details that there was only one Hughes project, which producer Charles Evans, Jr. had been interested in for twelve years. The article indicates that Evans and his business partner, Michael Mann, began development on the film, hiring writers Dean Ollins, then John Fincher to work on a screenplay. Writer John Logan was brought on board in 1999. A Feb 2000 HR news item indicated that although Mann originally agreed to direct the film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, for New Line Cinema, he later decided not to ... More Less

At the beginning of the picture, only the Miramax Films and Warner Bros. logos appear, then the title. At the end of the film, the credits for director Martin Scorsese, writer John Logan, the production companies, producers, executive producers and actor Leonardo DiCaprio appear before the title is shown again. The main actors are then listed, beginning with Cate Blanchett and ending with Jude Law. Credits for several more actors are intercut with credits for the leading crew members, such as director of photography Robert Richardson and production designer Dante Ferretti. When the roster of cast and character names begins, the lead actors are listed first, followed by a list of other actors in order of their appearance. Throughout the film, title cards appear indicating times, places and character names.
       According to various news items, at one point more than seven projects on the life of Howard Hughes were in development, including a long time plan by actor-producer Warren Beatty. As various projects dissolved, two separate projects about Hughes appeared to be in simultaneous development. A 9 Jan 2005 NYT article, however, details that there was only one Hughes project, which producer Charles Evans, Jr. had been interested in for twelve years. The article indicates that Evans and his business partner, Michael Mann, began development on the film, hiring writers Dean Ollins, then John Fincher to work on a screenplay. Writer John Logan was brought on board in 1999. A Feb 2000 HR news item indicated that although Mann originally agreed to direct the film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, for New Line Cinema, he later decided not to direct the project but remain as producer with his Forward Pass production company.
       A 1 Mar 2001 DV article noted that producer Evans and Acappella Pictures sued New Line and Mann, claiming they had ousted him from the production. According to the article, in 1997 Evans approached actor Kevin Spacey about directing the project, which was then in co-development with Mann. Evans and Spacey interested New Regency in developing the project with Fincher set as the writer. Evans claimed to have approached DiCaprio in 1998 to star, but stated that the actor requested director approval. Evans' suit stated that he dropped Spacey and agreed to Mann as director, but that his former partner then absconded with the project, taking it to New Line. According to the Jan 2005 NYT article, Evans settled the suit and received a producer credit. His role as producer remained controversial, however, when the picture was nominated for various Best Picture awards (see below).
       A Jan 2002 DV article noted that Martin Scorsese, who had directed DiCaprio in the 2002 release Gangs of New York (see below) was brought on to direct The Aviator at DiCaprio’s request. An Apr 2004 DV article revealed that Warner Bros., which had originally purchased the North American distribution rights of The Aviator , then went into partnership with Miramax on financing the film. The companies agreed that Miramax would handle U.S. and European distribution, with Warner Bros. retaining foreign and ancillary rights.
       A Feb 2003 US Weekly news item mentioned that actresses Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman were being considered for the same role. The item mentioned the role as tobacco heiress Doris Duke, but Duke had no relationship with Hughes and her character is not in the released film. A Jun 2003 LAT item and a Dec 2004 NYT article mentioned that Kidman was under consideration for the role of Katharine Hepburn, but withdrew due to scheduling conflicts. A Jun 2003 DV item noted that Matt Ross took over the role of “Glenn Odekirk” when Barry Pepper withdrew due to an earlier commitment.
       Although most of the characters in the film are based on actual persons, “Professor Fitz,” played by Ian Holm, was entirely fictitious. Production notes and reviews on the film stated that the first half of the film, composed of events approximately up to 1936, recreated a two-strip red and blue-green Technicolor effect that was in use from the mid-1920s to the early 1930s. Portions of the film that take place later in Hughes’s life recreated the bright cyan-magenta-yellow three-strip Technicolor look of the 1940s and 1950s. Production information details the meticulous recreation of the famous Cocoanut Grove nightclub. The exterior of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre was also recreated for the elaborate premiere of Hell’s Angels , but the actual Chinese Theatre was used for interiors. The Hollywood Blvd. premiere sequence combined news footage that had been colorized with digital enhancements.
       News items stated that the bulk of the film was shot in Montreal, Quebec, Canada at the Technoparc in Mel’s Cité du Cinema. An item in DV from Nov 2003 indicated that wildfires in Southern California burned down a set for the film at Big Sky Ranch. The film then moved to Long Beach to complete shooting. Other California locations for the film mentioned by DV and press notes were Palos Verdes, Santa Clarita, Oxnard and the San Bernardino airport.
       The film correctly presents the basic facts of the life of Hughes: In 1909, Howard Robard Hughes, Sr. made his fortune by developing a diamond drill bit that could bore through any substance, and wisely chose to rent rather than sell the bits to oil companies and riggers, then guaranteed a world market by patenting the bit in numerous foreign countries. Hughes’s wife Allene died unexpectedly in 1922 at the age of thirty-nine after undergoing a routine surgical procedure. Upon the death of his father in Jan 1924, Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. (1905--1976) became a millionaire by inheriting the controlling interest in the Houston-based Hughes Tool Company.
       Upon receiving his inheritance, Hughes, Jr. promptly bought out his relatives’ interest in the company, causing a lifelong rift with his father’s side of the family. Within six months young Hughes was Hughes Tool Company’s sole owner, and at the age of nineteen, won a legal petition to be declared an adult. Never interested in running the company, Hughes wrote down in 1925 the three things he wanted to do with his life, echoed in The Aviator ’s closing shot of him recalling his childhood: to be the world’s best golfer, the world’s best pilot and the most famous movie producer. In the film, the wish to be the world’s best golfer is replaced by the child Howard declaring that he intends to be “the richest man in the world.”
       As shown in the opening sequence in The Aviator , Allene Hughes’s excessive fears of contagious diseases may have influenced Hughes’s later preoccupations and phobias. Biographies on Hughes indicate that from an early age he learned to feign illness in order to stop parental disagreements or simply to gain attention. The biographies comment on Allene’s excessive overprotective attitude toward her only child, yet also note that the few times Hughes was allowed away from home, he behaved normally. Some biographies conclude that in his late twenties Hughes contracted syphilis and the extremely contagious disease heightened his already established health phobias and fear of germs.
       Hughes’s interest in motion pictures was likely influenced by spending time with his father’s brother Rupert, a movie director and writer in burgeoning Hollywood. Rupert was also known for throwing lavish star-studded parties, to which Hughes, Sr. often brought young Howard. After Hughes, Sr.’s death, Rupert attempted to become his nephew’s guardian, but Hughes, Jr. refused, permanently breaking with his uncle. The Aviator does not mention Hughes’s marriage at nineteen to a twenty-one-year-old Houston socialite, Ella Rice. The marriage lasted four years and biographers speculate was likely undertaken by Hughes to keep his fortune from his relatives in the event of his early death. Unlike the film, in real life, Hughes did not hire his longtime executive assistant Noah Dietrich on the set of Hell’s Angels , but rather two years earlier and, according to modern sources, initially to manage his budding film production company, Caddo Co. (a subsidiary of Caddo Rock Drill Bit Company of Louisiana). Later, as related in the film, Dietrich would manage the Houston operation of Hughes Tool Company.
       Prior to Hell’s Angels , Hughes produced several films including the 1927 Two Arabian Knights (for which director Lewis Milestone won an Academy Award) and 1928's The Racket . As shown in The Aviator , Hughes took over direction of Hell’s Angels with no prior directing experience and, having purchased seventy-eight planes to be used in the film, was the owner of the largest private air fleet in the country. In Jan 1928, Hughes received his pilot’s license and insisted on joining stunt pilots during the filming only to suffer the first of four major crashes in his career. Two of those crashes are shown in the The Aviator . The Hell’s Angels production, as noted in the film, was the most expensive to that time, ultimately costing $4,000,000, and brought Jean Harlow to the attention of M-G-M, where she would go on to a successful career (for more information on the above titles, see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ).
       Hughes went on to produce several more films including the 1931 The Front Page and the censorship-plagued Scarface in 1932, both released by United Artists (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ). In The Aviator when Hughes runs into difficulties with the film industry censor board, the MPAA, over The Outlaw , he refers to Scarface , and posters of the film are on prominent display in Hughes’s Hollywood offices. Hughes directed only two films, Hell’s Angels and The Outlaw , which he took over after the initial director, Howard Hawks, quit. As shown in the movie, Hughes’s obsession with displaying the ample breasts of star Jane Russell resulted in numerous run-ins with the MPAA. Despite these difficulties, the film opened in 1943 for a brief, successful run in San Francisco, but upon encountering more censorship problems, Hughes pulled the picture until 1946. (For more information on the complicated censorship issues facing the film, consult the entry in AFI Catalog of Feature Film, 1941-50 .)
       As depicted in The Aviator , Hughes’s extreme interest in aviation and airplanes led him to co-design with Richard Palmer the H-1 Racer, built by Glenn Odekirk and now on display at the Smithsonian Institute National Air and Space Museum. The Aviator showed actual footage of newsreel reports tracing Hughes’s Jul 1938 record-setting flight around the world in three days in a Lockheed 4N Super Electra. The film’s footage of Hughes deplaning after his triumphant flight featured Hughes’s face digitally replaced with that of DiCaprio, but the ticker-tape parade sequence down Broadway in New York City featured footage of the real Hughes.
       As shown in the film, after Hughes’s purchase of commercial airline TWA, he attempted to secure a contract with the Army Air Force in order to continue developing aircraft. In 1942 Hughes agreed to join with aluminum magnate Henry J. Kaiser to design and construct an enormous cargo plane to carry crucial supplies overseas. Hughes and Kaiser received a military contract for the plane which, as shown in the film, Hughes called the Hercules or the HK-1. Not depicted in The Aviator was the initial decision by the army to cancel the contract for the Hercules , concluding that Hughes Aircraft could not complete both it and the reconnaissance plane, the XF-11. The XF-11 production contract would eventually be canceled by the air force in late May 1945, a fact placed elsewhere in the film. Hughes completed the XF-11 in 1946 and convinced the air force to allow him to test the plane.
       As shown in great detail in the film, during the end of Hughes’s XF-11 test flight over Culver City, CA, one of the dual propellers reversed pitch due to an oil leak, sending the plane spiraling out of control. Hughes attempted to land at the Los Angeles Country Club, but fell just short, crashing into two houses on North Linden Drive in Beverly Hills, one of which belonged to well-known film character actress Rosemary DeCamp. A third house on North Whittier was engulfed in flames when the XF-11 exploded. As shown in the film, the severely injured Hughes was pulled from the burning plane by a Marine visiting the neighborhood. Hughes successfully piloted the XF-11 in 1947 without incident.
       In 1939, as related in The Aviator , Hughes went on to purchase what was then called Transcontinental and Western Air, or TWA. TWA’s president, William John “Jack” Frye, did indeed encourage Hughes to acquire the company because the board was reluctant to purchase or build new planes. Hughes, who had established ties with airline manufacturer Lockheed from his round-the-world record-setting flight, was the actual instigator of the design of the successful Constellation . By 1946, the plane turned TWA into a flourishing commercial international air carrier that was eventually renamed Trans World Airlines, but retained the TWA moniker. Although events in The Aviator end in 1947, Hughes retained control of TWA for many more years. In 1957, however, Hughes’s attempt to upgrade TWA's fleet failed when he could not afford to meet the required costs. Due to his continued financial mismanagement, in 1960 Hughes was eventually forced out of his position as chairman by TWA executives. As Hughes remained the company’s major stockholder and could still intercede in financial decisions, the company’s executive committee filed a lawsuit in Aug 1961 accusing him of illegally using TWA to fund other private investments. During the suit, which ran for several years, when TWA teetered on bankruptcy, Pan Am’s president, Juan Trippe, offered to merge Pan Am with TWA as long as Hughes was cut out, but the deal eventually collapsed. In 1965, Hughes sold his TWA stock for 546 million dollars.
       In spite of his increasing mental breakdowns and withdrawal into seclusion, Hughes retained his avid interest in aviation, later acquiring the regional carrier Air West, which he renamed Hughes Air West. The carrier primarily serviced Las Vegas, where he resided for a lengthy period. In 1991, after a series of unsuccessful organizational restructures, Hughes’s and TWA’s great rival Pan Am ceased operations. Ten years later, the financially plagued TWA was absorbed by American Airlines.
       A critical portion of The Aviator was based on records from the actual Senate Committee Investigating National Defense and hearings led by Republican senator Ralph Owen Brewster. As shown in the film, Pan Am’s Trippe and Brewster came together to sponsor a bill, which would require all American airlines flying abroad to give up their routes to a consolidated international airline corporation in which the largest carrier, Pan Am, would have a controlling interest. Brewster’s committee began a vigorous investigation of Hughes as a wartime contractor, claiming that Hughes Aircraft received 40 million dollars of government funding but failed to complete the Hercules or the XF-11. When the Hercules was criticized during the hearings, called by its derogatory name of the “Spruce Goose,” Hughes defended the craft, insisting its development was a major advance for aviation. The ineffectual hearings were recessed for three months and resumed in Nov 1947 but closed three weeks later.
       Motivated by the attack on the Hercules in the senate hearings, Hughes turned to proving that the huge boat plane could fly. As shown in the film, in the fall of 1947 the Hercules had to be disassembled for its relocation from Culver City to Long Beach, CA. The plane is still the largest ever built, 218 feet long with a wingspan of 320 feet and a weight of 400,000 pounds. In Long Beach Harbor on 2 Nov 1947, Hughes ran numerous tests on the giant plane and as shown in the film, on the last test, made a successful takeoff and flew approximately one mile at about seventy feet in the air. It was the only flight the Hercules ever made. Hughes put the plane into a specially built hangar where it remained for thirty-three years. After Hughes’s death his holding company, the Summa Corporation, donated the plane to the Aero Club of California, which put it on display in Long Beach next to the Queen Mary . In 1990 the Hercules was transported to its new home at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, OR, where it is on permanent display.
       As shown in the film, throughout most of his life, Hughes was linked in the press to numerous Hollywood film stars. Hughes’s love affair with Katharine Hepburn (1907--2003) was true, although details and the chronology of their relationship were altered for the dramatization. As mentioned in The Aviator , Hepburn did move into Hughes’s Muirfield Road home in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. After the end of their romantic involvement, Hepburn and Hughes remained on friendly terms and Hughes maintained a particular interest in her film career. Unmentioned in the film was the fact that Hughes bought Hepburn the film rights to the Philip Barry play that would re-launch her Hollywood career, The Philadelphia Story (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ).
       As depicted in the film, Hughes had a long on-and-off-again relationship with Ava Gardner (1922--1990), who indicated in her autobiography that she found the millionaire pleasant but eccentric, and consistently refused his numerous gifts of expensive jewelry. Gardner made no mention of assisting Hughes through any severe emotional breakdowns, as portrayed in the film. Hughes was also closely involved with starlet Faith Domergue (1924--1999), whose contract he purchased from Warner Bros. in 1940 and whom he promised to marry and make a great film star. Domergue appeared in Hughes’s troubled production of Vendetta and the film noir Where Danger Lives , both released in 1950 (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ) by RKO, which Hughes then owned, then went on to make several films throughout the 1950s, predominantly Westerns and science fiction features. A biography on Hughes details a jealous outburst similar to one shown in The Aviator in which Domergue rams her car into one carrying Hughes and Gardner.
       Not shown in the film was Hughes’s relationship with Twentieth-Cenury Fox star Jean Peters, whom he married in Jan 1957. The couple rarely lived together and Peters divorced Hughes in 1971 and never commented on their relationship. After Hughes’s death in 1976, actress Terry Moore testified in court that they had been married briefly on board a yacht in 1949, but the courts declared the marriage illegal. Hughes’s wealth, eccentric behavior and personal relationships continued to make him a figure of great interest after his death, and numerous biographies, some sensationalistic, many citing the numerous claims made on his estate, were published over several years.
       Another true element depicted in The Aviator was the severe obsessive compulsive disorder and eccentric phobias from which Hughes suffered throughout his adult life. Unlike the movie, however, Hughes did not suffer a complete breakdown after the XF-11 crash and before the senate investigation hearings. In Aug 1944, however, Hughes did suffer what several biographies describe as a nervous breakdown, preceded by a compulsive repetition of phrases. Overwhelmed by work pressures, Hughes disappeared for eleven months. In 1975, a Hughes Aircraft mechanic published an article claiming that during the eleven months of Hughes’s 1944 disappearance, he and the millionaire flew back and forth from Las Vegas to Palm Springs to Reno, staying in hotels under assumed names.
       The seclusion and mental collapse depicted in the film did occur to Hughes, but not until early 1958, after a falling-out with Dietrich that prompted his resignation and increased financial difficulties at TWA. Although married to Peters by this time, Hughes secluded himself in the private West Hollywood screening room of producer Martin Nosseck for several months, eating candy bars, watching movies and going about naked. In the summer of 1958, Hughes moved to the Beverly Hills Hotel, where his mental collapse worsened and he became obsessed with repeating cleaning procedures for his staff while neglecting his personal hygiene and diet for several more months. Hughes was gradually able to resume making business decisions, yet his eccentric behavior and mental breakdowns continued, resulting eventually in his complete seclusion and isolation.
       There have been many films and television movies based on, or inspired by Hughes's life, and several unrealized projects, among them an unproduced Warren Beatty film in development for many years. Completed projects include a 1977 CBS television broadcast entitled The Amazing Howard Hughes , based, in part, on a book written by Dietrich, starring Tommy Lee Jones as Hughes, Ed Flanders as Dietrich and Tovah Feldshuh as Hepburn, directed by William A. Graham. In 1980 MCA/Universal Pictures released Melvin and Howard , based on one of the many claimants to Hughes’s fortune, gas station owner Melvin Dummar, purportedly left a portion of Hughes’s estate after he helped the aged millionaire in 1968 in the Nevada desert. Jason Robards played Hughes and Paul LeMat co-starred as Dummar. The film was directed by Jonathan Demme. Many critics and film historians note that Harold Robbins’ novel and the subsequent 1964 Paramount film The Carpetbaggers is loosely based on the life of Hughes.
       The Aviator was selected by AFI as one of its Top Ten films of 2004, and the National Board of Review also cited the picture as one of the ten best films of the year. The picture received three Golden Globe awards: for Best Picture—Drama, Best Performance by an Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Best Original Score (Howard Shore), and three other nominations: Best Director (Martin Scorsese), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Cate Blanchett) and Best Screenplay (John Logan). Controversy about Charles Evans, Jr. continued at the Golden Globe ceremony when Evans appeared with Michael Mann and Graham King at the press conference following the awards, even though he had been requested not to participate.
       The Aviator received five Academy Awards, Supporting Actress (Blanchett), Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design and Film Editing. The film received additional nominations in the following catagories: Picture, Direction, Original Screenplay, Actor (DiCaprio), Supporting Actor (Alan Alda), and Sound Mixing. When the Academy Award nominations were announced on 25 Jan 2005, the names of those producers eligible to receive the nominations for The Aviator, Ray and Million Dollar Baby were withheld pending determination. On 5 Feb 2005, the Producers Branch Executive Committee of the Academy announced that Mann and King were the sole producers nominated for The Aviator.
       Blanchett also won the Screen Actors Guild award for Best Supporting Female Actor and the film received nominations for DiCaprio for Best Male Actor in a lead role and the ensemble cast. The British Academy of Film and Television selected Blanchett as Best Supporting Actress and named The Aviator as Best Film, with Evans included as one of the producer recipients of the award.
       Additionally, Mann and King, but not Evans, received the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Best Picture from the Producers Guild of America; Scorsese received a Best Director nomination from the Directors Guild; John Logan received a Best Original Screenplay nomination from the Writers Guild; and Robert Richardson received a Best Cinematography nomination from the American Society of Cinematographers. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
1 Mar 2001.
---
Daily Variety
25 Jan 2002
p. 1, 49.
Daily Variety
19 Jun 2003.
---
Daily Variety
18 Nov 2003
p. 4.
Daily Variety
22 Apr 2004
p. 1, 15.
Daily Variety
29 Nov 2004
p. 6, 19.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 2000.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 2003
p. 1, 104.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 2003.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Dec 2004.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Jun 2003.
---
Los Angeles Times
16 Nov 2003.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 Dec 2004
Calendar, p. 1, 14.
Los Angeles Times
17 Dec 2004
Calendar, p. 1, 12.
New York Times
12 Dec 2004
Arts, p. 1, 32.
New York Times
16 Dec 2004.
---
New York Times
17 Dec 2004.
---
New York Times
9 Jan 2005
Arts, p. 1, 11.
US Weekly
10 Feb 2003.
---
Variety
3 Nov 2003.
---
WSJ
3 Dec 2004.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
In order of appearance:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Martin Scorsese Picture
A Martin Scorsese Picture; A Forward Pass/Appian Way/IMF Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
Key 2d asst dir, Montreal crew
Key 2d asst dir, Montreal crew
2d 2d asst dir
3rd asst dir, Montreal crew
3rd asst dir, Montreal crew
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Co-prod
IMF prod
IMF exec prod
IMF exec prod
IMF line prod
IMF line prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit dir of photog
Steadicam/"B" cam op, Montreal crew
1st asst "A" cam
2d asst cam
2d asst "A" cam, Montreal crew
1st asst "B" cam, Montreal crew
2d asst "B" cam, Montreal crew
Loader, Montreal crew
Cam prod asst
Boom op
Boom op, Montreal crew
Crane op, Montreal crew
Video playback
Video playback
Video asst op, Montreal crew
Chief lighting tech
Gaffer, Montreal crew
Best boy
Best boy, Montreal crew
Best boy, Montreal crew
Key grip, Montreal crew
Best boy grip, Montreal crew
Rigging key grip
Key rigging grip, Montreal crew
Key rigging grip, Montreal crew
Best boy rigging grip
Rigging gaffer
Rigging gaffer, Montreal crew
Rigging best boy
Best boy elec rigging, Montreal crew
Best boy rigging grip, Montreal crew
Insert photog
Still photog
Gyro-stabilized cam system provided by
Wescam cam provided by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Supv art dir
Supv art dir, Montreal crew
Art dir
Art dir, Montreal crew
Art dir, Montreal crew
Art dir, Montreal crew
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Supv art dept coord, Montreal crew
Art dept coord
Art dept coord, Montreal crew
Art dept coord, Montreal crew
Graphic des, Montreal crew
Graphic artist
Graphic artist, Montreal crew
Art dept prod asst
Art dept prod asst
Art dept asst, Montreal crew
Art dept asst, Montreal crew
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Asst set dec
Head set dresser, Montreal crew
On set dresser
On set dresser, Montreal crew
On set dresser, Montreal crew
Set des
Painter/Dec
Painter/Dec
Head scenic painter, Montreal crew
Asst head scenic painter, Montreal crew
On set painter, Montreal crew
Prop master
Prop master, Montreal crew
Prop consultant
Asst prop master
Propmaker foreman
Asst props, Montreal crew
Asst props, Montreal crew
Const coord
Gen foreman
Labor foreman
Head paint foreman
Standby painter
Lead person
Lead person, Montreal crew
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang, Montreal crew
Swing gang, Montreal crew
Swing gang, Montreal crew
Swing gang, Montreal crew
Swing gang, Montreal crew
Swing gang, Montreal crew
Swing gang, Montreal crew
Swing gang, Montreal crew
Swing gang, Montreal crew
Swing gang, Montreal crew
Const, Montreal crew
Carpentry supv, Montreal crew
Asst carpentry supv, Montreal crew
Carpentry mgr, Montreal crew
Carpentry mgr, Montreal crew
Key sculptor, Montreal crew
Head greensman, Montreal crew
Asst greensman, Montreal crew
Asst greensman, Montreal crew
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Asst cost des
Eyewear provided by
Cost supv
Ward supv, Montreal crew
Asst ward supv, Montreal crew
Asst ward, Montreal crew
Key ward dresser, Montreal crew
Key cost
Key cost, Montreal crew
Set cost
Set cost
Ward mistress, Montreal crew
Principal cutter
MUSIC
Mus/Score prod, orch and cond
Mus supv
Asst mus ed
Score performed by
Score ed
Score ed
Mus prod mgr
Score rec and mixed by
Orig song recordings prod
Orig song recordings prod/Orig song recordings coo
Orig song recordings rec
Score pre-prod
Score pre-prod
Score pre-prod
Score pre-prod
Score pre-prod
Rights and clearances by
Rights and clearances by
Rights and clearances by
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Supv ADR ed
Supv Foley ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley mixer
Foley artist
Re-rec facility
ADR rec
Aviation sd rec supv
Aviation sd rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff supv
Spec eff supv
Digital eff supv
Digital FX supv, CAFEFX, Inc.
Visual eff supv, Digital Backlot
Compositing supv, Digital Backlot
VFX supv/Compositor, Pixel Playground
VFX supv, Digital Neutral Axis Corporation
Assoc VFX supv, Digital Neutral Axis Corporation
Miniature eff supv, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Mechanical supv, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Visual eff prod
Visual eff prod
Visual eff exec prod, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff digital prod, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Digital FX prod, CAFEFX, Inc.
Visual eff prod, Digital Backlot
VFX prod, Pixel Playground
Line prod, Buzz Image Group
VFX prod, Buzz Image Group
Addl visual eff prod
Addl visual eff
Addl visual eff
Addl visual eff
1st unit SFX supv
SFX
SFX buyer
SFX buyer
SFX buyer
SFX buyer
SFX buyer
SFX buyer
SFX buyer
SFX buyer
SFX tech, Montreal crew
SFX tech, Montreal crew
SFX tech, Montreal crew
SFX tech, Montreal crew
SFX tech, Montreal crew
Pyro tech
VFX coord
VFX coord
VFX previz artist
VFX ed
VFX staff asst
VFX video artist
VFX flame artist
VFX CG artist
Lead CG artist, CAFEFX, Inc.
Senior inferno artist, Buzz Image Group
Inferno/Flame artist, Buzz Image Group
VFX eff compositor
VFX cam op
VFX key grip
VFX gaffer
Miniature SPFX tech
Key SPFX tech
Cam control
Cam control
Cam control
Cam control
Title des
Computer graphics supv, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Anim supv, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff coord, Sony Pictures Imageworks
^IHell's Angels^R seq lead, Sony Pictures Imagewor
XF11 seq lead, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Hercules seq lead, Sony Pictures Imageworks
3D lead, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Eff anim lead, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Eff TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Eff TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Eff TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Eff TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Lead tech anim, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Anim, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Modeler, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Modeler/Texture painter, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Modeler/Texture painter, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Texture painter, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Texture painter, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Texture painter, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Lead matchmover, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Matchmover, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Rotoscope artist, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Visual eff ed, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Asst visual eff ed, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Negative handling, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Senior mgr, digital prod, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Supv, digital character group, Sony Pictures Image
Lead prod services tech, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Prod service tech, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Film rec tech, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Lead scanning tech, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Senior software eng, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Hardware eng, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Senior staff, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Senior staff, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Senior staff, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Senior staff, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Senior staff, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Senior staff, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Prod exec, CAFEFX, Inc.
Prod exec, CAFEFX, Inc.
Digital artist, CAFEFX, Inc.
Digital artist, CAFEFX, Inc.
Digital artist, CAFEFX, Inc.
Digital artist, CAFEFX, Inc.
Digital compositor, CAFEFX, Inc.
Digital compositor, CAFEFX, Inc.
Miniature eff created by
Staff shop lead, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Staff shop crew, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Staff shop crew, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Staff shop crew, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Carpenter, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Carpenter, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Carpenter, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Lead painter, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Painter, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Painter, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Painter, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Crew chief, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Eff tech, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Eff tech, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Eff tech, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Eff tech, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Model maker, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Model maker, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Model maker, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Model maker, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Model maker, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Model maker, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Model maker, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Model maker, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Model maker, New Deal Studios, Inc.
Digital conform and opticals,Technicolor Digital I
DANCE
Choreographer
MAKEUP
Key hair
Key hairstylist, Montreal crew
Kate Beckinsale hair
Asst hair
Addl hair
Addl hair
Hairdresser, Montreal crew
Hairdresser, Montreal crew
Extras hairstylist, Montreal crew
Makeup dept head
Leonardo DiCaprio makeup
Key makeup
Key makeup artist, Montreal crew
Kate Beckinsale makeup
2d key makeup
Addl makeup
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Extras makeup, Montreal crew
Asst makeup, Montreal crew
Prosthetic artist, Montreal crew
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting, Montreal crew
Casting assoc
Casting asst
Casting asst, Montreal crew
Extras casting
Extras casting, Montreal crew
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr, Montreal crew
Unit mgr, Montreal crew
Asst unit mgr, Montreal crew
Asst unit mgr, Montreal crew
Post prod supv
Aerial coord
Asst aerial coord
Dialect coach
Scr supv
Researcher
Prod coord, Montreal crew
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Asst prod coord
Asst prod coord, Montreal crew
Prod secy
Loc mgr
Loc mgr, Montreal crew
Key asst loc mgr
Key asst loc mgr
Key asst loc mgr
Key asst loc mgr
Key asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr, Montreal crew
Prod controller
Prod accountant
1st asst accountant
1st asst accountant
2d asst accountant
2d asst accountant
VFX accountant, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Paymaster, Montreal crew
Payroll asst, Montreal crew
Post prod accountant
Post prod coord
Post prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst, Montreal crew
Prod asst, Montreal crew
Prod asst, Montreal crew
Prod asst, Montreal crew
Prod asst, Montreal crew
Prod asst, Montreal crew
Prod asst, Montreal crew
Prod asst, Montreal crew
Prod asst, Montreal crew
Consultant
Asst to Martin Scorsese
Asst to Martin Scorsese
Asst to Martin Scorsese
Asst to Graham King
Asst to Rick Schwartz
Asst to Leonardo DiCaprio
Asst to Leonardo DiCaprio
Asst to Cate Blanchett
Transportation coord
Transportation coord, Montreal crew
Transporation capt
Transportation capt, Montreal crew
Picture car coord
Picture vehicle coord, Montreal crew
Marine coord
Coordinating medic
Set medic
Head medic, Montreal crew
Safety coord, Montreal crew
Security coord, Montreal crew
SFX craft service
Craft service
Craft person, Montreal crew
Asst craft person, Montreal crew
Asst craft person, Montreal crew
Asst craft person, Montreal crew
Animal coord
Unit pub
International pub
Dial cont
Film finance legal services
Radio control planes by
XF-11 project mgr, Aero Telemetry Corporation
Telemetry eng, Aero Telemetry Corporation
Chief des/Flight eng, Aero Telemetry Corporation
Hydraulics eng, Aero Telemetry Corporation
Shop lead, Aero Telemetry Corporation
XF-11 and HK-4 pilot, Aero Telemetry Corporation
Crew chief, Aero Telemetry Corporation
Chief machinist, Aero Telemetry Corporation
Composites supv, Aero Telemetry Corporation
Crew supv, ATC
Welder/Fueler, Aero Telemetry Corporation
XF-11 tech, Aero Telemetry Corporation
Beech 18 provided and piloted by
B-25 provided by
[B-25] Piloted by
Completion guarantee provided by
Prod financing provided to IMF arr
Prod financing provided to IMF arr
Prod financing provided to IMF arr
Post prod services
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Montreal stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Digital col timer, Sony Pictures Imageworks
Col eff, Pixel Playground
Digital intermediate and opticals by
Digital film colorist, Technicolor Digital Interme
Col imaging R & D, Technicolor Digital Intermediat
Digital intermediate prod,Technicolor Digital Inte
Digital VFX prod,Technicolor Digital Intermediates
Digital col assist,Technicolor Digital Intermediat
Digital conform asst,Technicolor Digital Intermedi
Data tech,Technicolor Digital Intermediates
Data tech,Technicolor Digital Intermediates
Imaging tech,Technicolor Digital Intermediates
Imaging tech,Technicolor Digital Intermediates
Imaging tech,Technicolor Digital Intermediates
Digital intermediate line-up,Technicolor Digital I
Negative prep,Technicolor Digital Intermediates
Flexfile dailies verification,Technicolor Digital
SOURCES
MUSIC
Music from Hell's Angels by Adolph Tandler courtesy of Universal Studios
Toccata and Fugue in D-Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by The Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Ormandy, courtesy of BMG Classics, by arrangement with BMG Film & TV Music
"Yellow Dog Blues," written by W. C. Handy, performed by Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks Orchestra
+
MUSIC
Music from Hell's Angels by Adolph Tandler courtesy of Universal Studios
Toccata and Fugue in D-Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by The Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Ormandy, courtesy of BMG Classics, by arrangement with BMG Film & TV Music
"Yellow Dog Blues," written by W. C. Handy, performed by Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks Orchestra
"Avalon," written by Buddy DeSylva, Al Jolson and Vincent Rose, performed by Benny Goodman Quartet, courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG, under license from BMG Film & Television Music
"Moon Glow," written by Edgar DeLange, Will Hudson and Irving Mills, performed by Benny Goodman Quartet, courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG, under license from BMG Film & Television
"Ain't Cha Glad," written by Andy Razaf and Thomas Waller, performed by David Johansen
"Paramount on Parade," written by Jack King and Elsie Janis
6th Symphony by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, orchestrated and arranged by Howard Shore
"St. Louis Blues," written by W. C. Handy, performed by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG, under license from BMG Film & Television Music
"Bugle Call Rag," written by Billy Meyers, Jack Pettis and Elmer Schoebel, performed by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG, under license from BMG Film & Television Music
"Boo Woo," written by Harry James, performed by Harry James & The Boogie Woogie Trio, courtesy of Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Nightmare," written by Artie Shaw, performed by Artie Shaw and His Orchestra, courtesy of RCA, under license from BMG Film & Television Music
"Brazil," written by Ary Barroso, performed by Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks Orchestra
"Stardust," written by Hoagy Carmichael and Mitchell Parish, performed by Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks Orchestra
"Rhythm Futur," written and performed by Django Reinhardt and The Quintet of the Hot Club of France, courtesy of EMI Records under license from EMI Film & Television Music
"Bombasto," performed by The Eastman Wind Ensemble, courtesy of Philips Classics, under license of Universal Music Enterprises
"Back Beat Boogie," written by Harry James, performed by Harry James and His Orchestra, courtesy of Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Moonlight Serenade," written by Glenn Miller and Mitchell Parish, performed by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG, under license from BMG Film & Television Music
“Ou Est Tu, Mon Amor?” written by Henri LeMarchand and Emile Stern, performed by Django Reinhardt and The Quintet of the Hot Club of France, courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG, under license from BMG Film & Television Music.
+
SONGS
"I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise," written by George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin and Buddy DeSylva, performed by Rufus Wainwright, courtesy of DreamWorks Records
"Milenberg Joys," written by Paul Mares, Ferdinand Morton, Leon Roppolo and Walter Melrose, performed by Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks Orchestra
"Happy Feet," written by Milton Ager and Jack Yellen, performed by The Manhattan Rhythm Kings
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SONGS
"I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise," written by George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin and Buddy DeSylva, performed by Rufus Wainwright, courtesy of DreamWorks Records
"Milenberg Joys," written by Paul Mares, Ferdinand Morton, Leon Roppolo and Walter Melrose, performed by Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks Orchestra
"Happy Feet," written by Milton Ager and Jack Yellen, performed by The Manhattan Rhythm Kings
"Shake That Thing," written by "Papa" Charlie Jackson, performed by Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks Orchestra
"Fireworks," written by Spencer Williams, performed by the Original Memphis Five, courtesy of MCA Records, under license from Universal Music Enterprises
"Somebody Stole My Gal," written by Leo Wood, performed by The Original Memphis Five, courtesy of MCA Records, under license from Universal Music Enterprises
"Blue Skies," written by Irving Berlin, performed by Al Jolson, courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment
"Thanks," written by Sam Coslow and Arthur Johnston, performed by Bing Crosby with Jimmy Greer & His Orchestra, courtesy of Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"After You've Gone," written by Henry Creamer and Turner Layton, performed by Loudon Wainwright III
"I Can't Give You Anything but Love," written by Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh, performed by Django Reinhardt and The Quintet of the Hot Club of France, vocal by Freddy Taylor, courtesy of the RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG, under license from BMG Film & Television
“Down South Camp Meetin’,” written by Fletcher Henderson and Irving Mills, performed by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG, under license from BMG Film & Television Music
"Some of These Days," written by Shelton Brooks, performed by Bing Crosby with Lennie Hayton and His Orchestra, courtesy of Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Marie," written by Irving Berlin, performed by Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, vocal by Jack Leonard, courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG, under license from BMG Film & Television Music
"I'll Be Seeing You," written by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal, performed by Martha Wainwright
"Cow Cow Boogie," written by Don Raye, Benny Carter and Gene DePaul, performed by Ella Fitzgerald, featuring The Ink Spots, courtesy of MCA Records, under license from Universal Music Enterprises
"Do I Worry," written by Bobby Worth and Stanley Cowan, performed by The Ink Spots, courtesy of MCA Records, under license from Universal Music Enterprises
"Howard Hughes," written by Huddie Ledbetter, John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax, performed by Leadbelly, recorded by Alan Lomax, August 23, 1940, Washington, DC, courtesy of Estates of Huddie Ledbetter and Alan Lomax
"Down South Camp Meeting."
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 December 2004
Premiere Information:
New York and Los Angeles opening: 17 December 2004
Production Date:
7 July--early October 2003 at Technoparc in Montreal, Canada, Los Angeles Center Studios and Showbiz Studio
Copyright Claimant:
IMF Internationale Medien und Film GMBH & Co. 3 Producktions KG
Copyright Date:
2004
Copyright Number:
Physical Properties:
Sound
SDDS Sony Dynamic Digital Sound; dts; Dolby Digital in selected theatres
Color
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Lenses/Prints
Kodak Motion Picture Film; Panavision Cameras & Lenses
Duration(in mins):
166 or 169
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
41156
SYNOPSIS

In 1914 Houston, nine-year-old Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. receives a careful bath from his mother, who cautions him about the typhus plague and the resultant quarantine that has beset the city and warns him that he is not safe. Thirteen years later, Howard, now an orphan and multi-millionaire after inheriting the Houston-based Hughes Tool Company, is in Hollywood on the outdoor set of Hell’s Angels , in the midst of fulfilling his boyhood dream of directing a movie. Having spent his own money to produce the World War I aviation epic, the youthful, exuberant Howard delights in the enormous collection of airplanes needed for the battle sequences, yet takes a moment from filming to hire former accountant Noah Dietrich to manage Toolco and Hughes’s finances. Mocked across Hollywood for the film’s spiraling costs and his inexperience, Howard nevertheless determinedly oversees every detail of the film’s sprawling production, forcing it to drag on for two years, despite Dietrich’s mounting alarm. Frustrated by the footage of the aerial battle, Howard waits months for the appropriate weather to re-shoot the sequence and orders Dietrich to incorporate a division of Toolco in California under the name Hughes Aircraft Company in order to forestall financial questions by the company’s Houston board. While working on the film, Howard also starts to develop a racing plane with pilot and engineer Glenn “Odie” Odekirk. After ... +


In 1914 Houston, nine-year-old Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. receives a careful bath from his mother, who cautions him about the typhus plague and the resultant quarantine that has beset the city and warns him that he is not safe. Thirteen years later, Howard, now an orphan and multi-millionaire after inheriting the Houston-based Hughes Tool Company, is in Hollywood on the outdoor set of Hell’s Angels , in the midst of fulfilling his boyhood dream of directing a movie. Having spent his own money to produce the World War I aviation epic, the youthful, exuberant Howard delights in the enormous collection of airplanes needed for the battle sequences, yet takes a moment from filming to hire former accountant Noah Dietrich to manage Toolco and Hughes’s finances. Mocked across Hollywood for the film’s spiraling costs and his inexperience, Howard nevertheless determinedly oversees every detail of the film’s sprawling production, forcing it to drag on for two years, despite Dietrich’s mounting alarm. Frustrated by the footage of the aerial battle, Howard waits months for the appropriate weather to re-shoot the sequence and orders Dietrich to incorporate a division of Toolco in California under the name Hughes Aircraft Company in order to forestall financial questions by the company’s Houston board. While working on the film, Howard also starts to develop a racing plane with pilot and engineer Glenn “Odie” Odekirk. After Hell’s Angels finally wraps production, Howard shocks Dietrich by declaring that because sound has come to motion pictures, his silent film is already outdated and he intends to re-shoot the entire picture with sound. Well into the third year of work on the film, which has become notorious for its lengthy production, Dietrich visits Howard in his Romaine Street office in Hollywood to tell him that the project has nearly bankrupted Toolco. Confident of success, Howard orders Dietrich to mortgage the company. Months later, Hell’s Angels has a stupendous premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and a nervous Howard, escorting the film’s female star, Jean Harlow, is showered with wild adulation by fans and the press. Five years later, after developing a reputation as an obstinate film producer and romancer of beautiful movie stars, Howard lands a plane on the beach set of a picture being made by top star Katharine Hepburn to ask her to play a round of golf with him. Captivated by each other’s similar preoccupation with success and fame, Howard and Kate have a whirlwind courtship and after some months, Kate moves into Howard’s expansive home. Meanwhile, as he continues to develop the H-1 racing plane with Odie, Howard is approached by TWA Airlines president Jack Frye to design and build a new passenger plane. When Howard enthusiastically suggests building a craft that could reach above the weather’s turbulence to the remarkable height of 20,000 feet, Frye hesitates, concerned with whether the company’s board would approve. Undaunted, Howard decides to buy TWA. Soon after, at a small airfield near Santa Ana, Howard and Odie conduct a formal speed trial of the sleek, powerful H-1 racer, which Howard insists on piloting. In three passes over the field, Howard breaks the world speed record when the H-1 reaches 352 miles an hour, but is forced to crash-land in a beet field when the plane runs out of fuel. Returning home, Howard shares his triumph with Kate, who cautions him of the personal disruptions that can result from great fame. Howard assures Kate he can handle the pressures, but confides that he has occasional crazy ideas that make him fear he may someday lose his mind. Over the next several months, Howard starts production and direction of a Western film while continuing to set aviation records, including making the fastest flight around the world. Howard becomes increasingly aware of his long-hidden phobia of germs and compulsive, ritualized cleaning habits, but manages to conceal them from everyone. On a brief vacation, Kate takes Howard to her family home in Connecticut, where he is put off by the Hepburns’ eccentricities. As Europe slides into the Second World War and American convoys are attacked, Howard turns to Odie to help develop an enormous boat-like transport plane to be named the Hercules which Howard plans to sell to the Army Air Corps. When Howard’s Western, The Outlaw , which features the busty figure of its star, Jane Russell, runs into trouble with the Motion Picture Association censor board, Howard contests their refusal to approve the film. Despite the daily demands of managing TWA, developing the all-wood Hercules and the XF-11 twin engine reconnaissance plane and battling to get his film released, Howard nevertheless constantly appears in tabloid newspapers escorting numerous beautiful stars, infuriating Kate. Jack introduces Howard to Robert Gross, the president of Lockheed Aircraft, who shows him a model of their newest plane, the Constellation , which has a flying range of three thousand miles. Realizing that with the Constellation , TWA could compete with Juan Trippe’s Pan American airlines in making international flights, Howard enthusiastically orders forty planes, promising to pay for them privately. Howard is stunned when soon thereafter, Kate reveals that she has met someone and plans to move out. The couple argues and after Kate leaves, a distraught Howard burns all his expensive clothing and orders Dietrich to buy him cheap suits. Over the next several months, while challenging Pan Am’s supremacy and Trippe’s close contacts with the Civil Aeronautics Board, Howard continues dating starlets, including teenaged ingénue Faith Domergue, yet arranges to squelch the publication of intimate pictures of Kate with her co-star and married love interest, Spencer Tracy. As business pressures mount, Howard’s compulsions become more overt despite his struggles to subdue them. Howard then turns his attentions to beautiful movie star Ava Gardner, who consistently refuses his gifts of expensive jewelry and marriage proposals. Meanwhile, Trippe arranges with Maine’s Republican senator Ralph Owen Brewster to introduce the Community Airline Bill (C.A.B.), which seeks to limit competition in international commercial flights, and recommends that the senator chair the important Committee Investigating National Defense. Howard meets with Jack and Odie at the enormous hangar, housing the half-built Hercules to discuss Brewster’s bill, but rejects Jack’s advice to keep TWA’s routes domestic and orders him to court senators who might oppose the bill. Odie presses Howard on numerous decisions necessary for the Hercules and as the demands overwhelm Howard, he falls into a sudden paroxysm of repeating the same phrase over and over until, horrified, he flees the hangar to be alone. Although terrified by this loss of control, Howard overcomes his nerves and some months later calmly takes the XF-11 on its inaugural flight. Howard pilots the elegant, powerful plane successfully for more than an hour but as he turns back to the landing field, the craft abruptly pulls to the right and rapidly loses altitude, crashing violently into a residential section of Beverly Hills. Although severely injured, Howard struggles to escape the burning cockpit and is pulled from the wreckage by a man from the neighborhood. Suffering from near catastrophic injuries, Howard nevertheless survives and is hospitalized for several weeks during which Odie informs him that as the war has ended, the government has canceled the contract for the Hercules . Although disappointed, Howard vows to complete the plane using his own money. After Howard’s release from the hospital, he meets with Dietrich to survey his fleet of TWA Constellations , which have been grounded pending the investigation of a crash. Dietrich warns that continued construction of the Hercules and the grounded fleet are bleeding Hughes Aircraft and Toolco dry, but Howard orders him to take a loan out against all the TWA equipment. Still weak, Howard visits Ava, who is outraged to discover that he has planted a microphone in her bedroom. When Howard admits that her whole house is bugged, Ava flies into a rage and hits him with an ashtray. That afternoon, a distressed Howard contacts Dietrich upon discovering FBI agents and senate investigators in his home removing boxes of documents. A few weeks later, Howard meets Brewster at his hotel room in Washington D.C., where the senator offers to suspend the public hearings on Hughes Aircraft if Howard will agree to support the C.A.B. legislation. Declaring that the country can support two international carriers, Howard refuses and departs, but back in Hollywood at the Romaine office’s private screening room, Howard suffers a complete nervous collapse, giving way to all of his compulsive behaviors and phobias. Unwashed, bearded and with long hair, Howard continues in a mental quagmire for weeks until Kate unexpectedly arrives and demands to see him. Although momentarily cured of his compulsive behavior, Howard refuses to let her in. Through the door, Kate thanks Howard for purchasing the pictures of her and Tracy and pleads with him to let her help him. Although touched by her offer, Howard remains too mortified by his condition and turns her down. Over the next several weeks, Howard’s mental condition deteriorates further and he remains in the screening room alone, naked and dirty, watching his movies, eating candy bars and milk and filling the empty bottles with urine. One day, Trippe arrives at the Hughes offices for a prearranged meeting. Howard refuses to see him, forcing Trippe to sit in a chair just outside the screening room door where he challenges Howard to give up TWA. When Howard angrily refuses, Trippe points out that none of the planes Howard planned to develop for the army during the war came to fruition. Howard insists that the XF-11 flew very well and bristles when Trippe mocks the untested behemoth Hercules , calling it by the disparaging press nickname the “Spruce Goose.” Trippe insists that Howard will default on his loan and that Pan Am will eventually take over TWA, then reminds Howard that he will be forced to appear at Brewster’s hearings, which will be filled with press and onlookers. Trippe departs and advises Dietrich that Howard will be subpoenaed in three days. A few nights later, Howard forces himself out of the screening room and returns home, disheveled and fragile. He is surprised when Ava visits and, masking her shock at Howard’s appearance, casually offers to help prepare him for the hearings. With Ava’s reassuring assistance, Howard bathes and shaves, then struggles to collect himself mentally. With growing confidence, Howard attends the packed senate hearings led by Brewster, and over three days of grueling testimony faces down the senator’s allegations that Hughes Aircraft bilked the government for uncompleted aircraft. Howard defends himself well, pointing out Brewster’s close affiliation with Trippe and how the C.A.B. legislation was written by Pan Am executives. Under further questioning, Howard acknowledges that Hughes Aircraft did not fulfill their contract but notes that although several other airplane manufacturers also never delivered materiels to the army, only his company is under investigation. When Brewster protests, Howard reveals the offer Brewster made him in Washington and admits that, in addition to government funds, he has poured much of his own money into developing planes. Staunchly insisting that the Hercules will fly, Howard exits the hearings, which are later suspended. A few months later in Long Beach Harbor, the massive Hercules is set on water as Odie and several close associates join Howard to test the plane in front of the press. Howard’s one-mile flight in the giant plane is a stunning success and after speaking with the press and a supportive Ava, Howard joins Odie and Dietrich to discuss launching a line of jet planes. In the midst of the cheery celebration, Howard notices three gloved men watching him with ominous expressions, unaware that they exist only in his imagination. Lapsing abruptly into his disconnected, repetitive speech pattern, Howard is whisked into a bathroom by a panicked Odie and Dietrich. Alone and unable to contain this latest breakdown, Howard bleakly realizes that complete mental disintegration is his unavoidable future. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.