The Hoax is the psuedo-historical story of how an author named Clifford
Irving conned the famous publishing house McGraw-Hill into paying him to
write Howard Hughes's authorized biography back in the early seventies, even though Irving never met
Hughes, and didn't even know much about him when he conceived the
project. The entire project was nothing but smoke and mirrors. Irving thought he could pull off this quixotic endeavor
because the famous billionaire was an eccentric
recluse who never contacted the outside world, and would therefore not come
forward to deny his involvement in the biography. Irving came close to
pulling it all off. Although there were doubters at every step of the
project from pitch to print, the author managed to bluff his way past
just about every skeptic. Some of his persuasive skills were innate. Some
came from his assiduous research. By the time he was exposed, Irving had
became such an expert on his subject that he could deliver convincing
anecdotes in Hughes's own idiolect, and could even fool handwriting experts
with forgeries of Hughes's famous handwritten letters.
The final key to Irving's success was pure serendipity. Irving happened
to get a copy of an unpublished memoir written by Noah Dietrich, Hughes's
closest associate, and that document included some transcripts which were
nearly verbatim records of previously unrevealed conversations known only to
the men in the room. Since Hughes almost always included Dietrich in his
dealings, to know what Dietrich knew was to know what Hughes knew. Since
almost nobody was aware of Dietrich's manuscript, and since Dietrich was
often kind of a silent fly on the wall in these conversations, this
knowledge enabled Irving to persuade the other people involved that the
accounts had come from Hughes himself. After all, went the reasoning
of one Life editor, if only the editor and Hughes had been there, and the
account was completely accurate, and there had never been a public record of
the conversation, the account must have come from Hughes, right?
So it was with a brazen combination of luck, chutzpah, and scholarship
that Irving got the book printed and very close to the bookshelves before he
was ultimately undone by the money trail. He got too greedy and tried
take his share of the deal plus Hughes's. It was his wife's attempt to
deposit the "H.R. Hughes" check that scotched the snake. In retrospect,
Irving might have gotten the book to the top of the best seller lists if he
had simply tucked the big Hughes check away, at least for a while. The
McGraw-Hill accountants would have found nothing unusual about an uncashed
Hughes check. After all, Hughes was a noted eccentric, and so rich that
another million dollars or so was mere pocket change to him. He could easily
just leave such a check lying around with his Kleenex boxes. On the other
hand, any such machinations on Irving's part would only have delayed the
inevitable, because the author had counted incorrectly on Hughes's
willingness to remain
mute. The inscrutable plutocrat did eventually break his long public silence
to denounce the Irving project as a hoax. It was the last time he would ever
contact the outside world.
The critics were particularly enthusiastic about this movie. According to
Rotten Tomatoes, a very impressive 85% of the reviews were positive. That's
Oscar territory! I don't really share that enthusiasm. Although it is an
interesting story assembled by good actors and a competent director, it has
one great flaw. The storyline is almost total bullshit. Of course, that's
both ironic and appropriate. The real Irving is still alive and kicking, and is reputed to
be an intelligent guy with a great sense of humor, two characteristics which
must allow him to realize that a falsified account of his life is precisely
what his karma has earned him. But it's not what my karma has earned me as
an audience member. I hoped to see how this scam all went down, but the
about Clifford Irving's life is no more authentic than Irving's story about
Hughes's life. In fact, Irving's fake book is probably far less fake than
this movie, since the success of his scam depended on his ability to make
the book as credible as possible. He researched thoroughly and used
Dietrich's manuscript to establish the facts, and he worked hard to make
Hughes's first person quotes sound exactly like things the billionaire did
say or could have said. The film has no such fealty to the truth. It simply
tries to tell a ripping yarn, irrespective of whether that yarn could be
unraveled by scrutiny.
The script takes many liberties with the facts as well as with the
personalities of the characters, but two critical points come to mind:
(1) In real life, Irving's pal Dick Suskind was an intelligent man who
wrote a lot of books nobody ever read. That didn't make them bad books. It's
just that Suskind was interested in medieval warfare, the architecture of
the Islamic golden age, Roman armor, and other arcane subjects that were not
intended to appeal to a mass audience. On the other hand, the movie version
of Suskind, as played by Alfred Molina, seems like a sweaty and often
self-righteous buffoon, Sancho Panza to Irving's Quijote.
(2) The script fabricates an important incident. Mysteriously, Film
Irving receives a package of files from Nevada, presumably from a Hughes
insider, which give him great insights
into the inner workings of the Hughes endeavors. That never happened. That
bit of hyperbole not be so bad if this were a white lie presented as a throwaway
incident, but the effect of this lie is greatly exacerbated by the script's
incorporation of those files into the very broth and marrow of the
narrative, thus squeezing the film out of the realm of "comfortable
accommodation to the truth" and into a surreal world worthy of Dali.
Why was this necessary? I grant that The Hoax is quite an enjoyable movie
(most of the time), but if it is supposed to be a true story, why isn't it
... true? Why go to all the trouble of getting Richard Gere to look like
Irving if he wasn't actually going to act like Irving? And why wasn't the
real story good enough for a film? It seems to me that the actual
skullduggery of Clifford Irving, Mrs. Irving and Richard Suskind was more
than sufficiently intriguing to create a movie both entertaining and
enlightening. So why the unnecessary embellishment? In my mind, the changes
didn't actually create a better story; just a different one.
I guess it would be a C on our scale. With 85% positive reviews and a 7.2
at IMDb, it is widely acknowledged as a good film, and I buy into that, at least until
the film takes some
bizarre turns into Irving's imagination in the last act, but it failed
miserably on the box office side of the ledger. It eventually
got into a thousand theaters and never managed to crack the top fifteen
films in any given week, so
its appeal was obviously not very wide. Miramax must have realized this in
advance, since the film started out in only 200 theaters, despite a big
budget, a major star, and a director who has been nominated for multiple
* Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).
* White asterisk:
Blue asterisk: not mine.
No asterisk: it probably
Catch the deluxe
version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles,
Sexual Exploration is "couples' erotica" in the shape of mystery.
Wendy Rice plays a wannabe writer completely absorbed in her
latest book effort, so much so that she fantasizes about her
characters while having sex with her boyfriend. She calls out her
male character's name at an important juncture, and her boyfriend
moves out. Faced with having to pay both halves of the rent, she
applies for a job as research assistant to a best-selling author.
The job starts off difficult, and gets harder. He is gruff,
opinionated, and seems to have no respect at all for her writing. He
makes a valid point, however. If she wants to write about passion,
she should experience some. He experiences plenty of passion with
hooker Wendy Divine. Rice watches Divine work. The next thing you
know, Rice discovers Devine strangled. Her boss seems to be the main
suspect. She also has a little fun with a surprise second research
assistant, when the two are sent to research a tantric sex
institute. In her first 48 hours working for the author, she
experiences more living than she had up to that point.
The nudity is good, the story is engaging, the music is
tastefully done and the photography is very good. All of this adds
up to at least a C, but that doesn't take into account a great
ending that managed to completely surprise me. This is a C+, top of
the genre line, and worth the price for the ending alone.
IMDb does not list this film.
It is only available from RLDVDs.com on one of their dual region
DVDs. (Click on the image below for details.)
Ann Marie as a character in a book, shows Breasts. Wendy Rice and
Wendy Divine show full frontal and rear. Jewel Marceau shows breasts
and bush, and J.J. Holly shows breasts.
German TV-Movie where our girl, Eva Habermann (Lexx), has to work as a prostitute because her sister was kidnapped by the bad guys.
"Hotel Erotica - She's the Boss"
She's the Boss (2002) is an episode from the first season of Hotel Erotica.
Completely naked are Greta Dolan
and Lauren Hays
T. J. Hart shows her breasts.
Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
No nudity in Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) but a nice upskirt and cleavage by Nikki Griffin.
The Banger Sisters
There's no nudity in The Banger Sisters (2002) but Goldie Hawn was at her sexiest best.
The Squid and the Whale
Halley Feiffer has her shirt off in The Squid and the Whale (2005).
"Lois & Clark"
From the fourth season of Lois & Clark (1997) we have two episodes.
From AKA Superman there's an upskirt by Kristanna Loken
and minor pokies by Teri Hatcher.
From Faster than a Speeding Vixen we have what looks like enhanced cleavage by Lori Fetrick
and Teri Hatcher looks nice.
Mighty Peking Man
From Hong Kong, we have Mighty Peking Man aka Hsing Hsing Wang (1977).
Evelyne Kraft spends most of the movie wearing very little and there is the occasional breast and nipple popping out.
From Germany, we have a completely naked Annett Renneberg in Devotion aka Devot (2003).
Feathers in My Head
From Belgium, we have Feathers in My Head aka Des plumes dans la tête (2003).
Sophie Museur shows everything
and an unknown shows a bit of builder's crack in a swimming pool.
Never SayS Never!
Also in French, but this time from France, we have Never SayS Never! aka Il ne faut jurer... de rien!
The topless nudity comes from some unnamed women who work in a brothel.
Sandrine Rigaux shows some butt
and Melanie Doutey shows some very sexy see-through breast exposure.
Finally, from Spain we have the comedy Queens aka Reinas
The only nudity comes from a brief breast flash by Marisa Paredes.
and Carmen Maura are two more of the 'queens'.
Valerie on the Stairs
Another episode from the excellent Showtime series Masters of Horror
(first aired October 2006), this story written and directed by series
creator Mick Garris, based on an original story by Clive Barker, is only
average. But for this series, even average isn't bad, and Clare Grant has
several nude scenes.
Rob, an unpublished aspiring author, moves into a huge old rooming
house for unpublished authors. Rent is free, and the only condition is you
must leave if you get published.
Rob expects the occupants to be somewhat weird, but when he begins to
see a beautiful young woman who disappears into walls, he suspects the
rooming house is haunted. This changes when he is able to touch the woman,
but she has a problem. A nasty looking underworld-type beast is holding
her captive for himself, and that's a problem for Rob, because he's
falling in love. And the woman is begging him for help.
The other residents assure Rob that he's crazy, and there is no girl,
and no beast. But then Rob finds evidence that some of his fellow roomers
may be complicit in the situation, and his resolve hardens when he finds a
basement full of dead people.
As I said, not bad, but nothing special. The ending is a little vague,
but nice and twisty, as you'd expect from this series.