Dern on Kaye, Lasusa Links, Dan Grobstein File
After the Wedding

The Hoax

3.5 stars out of 5

[Note: Neal Vitale gave Hoax 4 stars out of 5 when he reviewed it]

This is the way I like my historical fiction: recent enough to remember, and accurate enough to make me feel good about it. I was a student at MIT when Clifford Irving was snowing McGraw-Hill with his piped (fake) story about being an intermediary for Howard Hughes. And I still remember when I heard that his wife, pretending to be Helga R. Hughes, had cashed a check made out to H.R. Hughes. The whole thing was amazing at the time and it is amazing now.

Lasse Hallström directed from a William Wheeler screenplay based on Clifford Irving's book (although Irving says he has disowned the film--but is he lying?).

Richard Gere--complete with a fake nose I never realized he was wearing--does an outstanding job playing Irving, as does Alfred Molina , as his assistant David Susskind, and Marcia Gay Harden as Irving's wife.

As is often the case with historical films, the big stuff is letter perfect--names and dates, the mistress who destory's Irving's claim of having visited the Bahamas on a specific date, the weird stuff with McGraw-Hill, Time-Life and the Hughes organization. Of course, the filmmakers play with the small stuff; Noah Deitrich did not give them his manuscript (although it gives Eli Wallach a nice cameo), Irving didn't live on Long Island, he lived in Ibizia Spain at the time of his fraud… and so forth. In a lesser film, this could have been irritating. But for an entire generation of people born after 1972, it’s a swell story worth retelling.