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The Hoax

3.7 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From acclaimed director Lasse Hallstrom comes the unbelievable true story of Clifford Irving, the writer who faked the authorized autobiography of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes and came close to pulling off the media scam of the 20th century. Irving’s elaborate attempts to substantiate his claims – forgery, plagiarism, and falsifying legal documents – spark a media frenzy and take Irving down a neurotic spiral as he begins to suspect a vast conspiracy including the U.S. government and corporate empires are plotting against him.

Special Features

  • Commentary by director Lasse Hallström and writer William Wheeler
  • Commentary by producers Leslie Holleran and Josh Maurer
  • "Stranger than Fiction" making-of featurette
  • Deleted scenes with optional commentary by director Lasse Hallström and writer William Wheeler
  • "Mike Wallace: Reflections on a Con": Mike Wallace on his encounters with Clifford during the 1970s 60 Minutes interview, and the follow-up interview done 27 years later
  • "Business as Pleasure": Watch as the camera rolls while Richard Gere and Alfred Molina ad-lib the scene at Café des Artistes
  • "Nixon's the One": easter egg

Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Gere, Alfred Molina, David Aaron Baker, John Carter, Judi Barton
  • Directors: Lasse Hallström
  • Writers: Clifford Irving, William Wheeler
  • Producers: Anthony Katagas, Betsy Beers, Bob Yari, Erin Eggers, Gary Levinsohn
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Miramax
  • DVD Release Date: October 16, 2007
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000TAN90Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,156 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Hoax" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
A struggling writer discovers that Hughes cannot appear in court to dispute a hoax because the reclusive billionaire is in a nasty dispute with TWA shareholders. So the hoax is born. Soon though, events turn raucous when the billionaire fails to appear to allegedly vouch for the autobiography, and then another hoaxed autobiography appears in print ahead of Irving's release. The mystery of who is hoaxing who surfaces when a box of scandalous files anonymously appears at the writer's home. The frenzied sensation draws the attention of darker forces in America. Apparently, someone has to know what would be included about Hughes and Nixon's brother, Donald, who had received unrepaid loans from Hughes in the 1960 campaign, and may have received more loans in 1972. Then suddenly the hoax unravels. Within within months, Nixon is re-elected, the Hughes-TWA dispute resolves, and Americans begin to learn of a third-rate burglarly called Watergate. The Hoax is an interesting chapter in American history.
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Format: DVD
A character in the film "The Princess Bride" utters one of my favorite quotes: "Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." Alas-if we would only remember that sage advice before writing our phone number on a napkin, signing on a dotted line, dropping coins into a collection plate or punching out a voting chad.

Hollywood loves con artists, probably because movie audiences never appear to tire of watching yet one more poor sucker being bamboozled and swindled. It makes us feel superior-"I'd never fall for THAT!" (Er-right.)

Director Lasse Hallstrom has delivered a smashing entry in the genre with his new movie, "The Hoax". The film is based on the story of Clifford Irving, a struggling writer who toiled in relative obscurity until he stumbled onto an idea for "the most important book of the 20th century"-the "Autobiography of Howard Hughes". The book was the most hyped literary event of 1972, and would assure Irving the notoriety he craved. Heck, he even made the cover of Time. Unfortunately, his Time portrait was slugged with "Con Man of the Year", because as it turned out, the "autobiography" was a bit of a surprise to Mr. Hughes, because, you see, Mr. Irving made the whole thing up (oops). The books were unceremoniously yanked from the shelves soon after their debut.

Richard Gere tears through the lead role with an intensity we haven't
seen from him in quite a while. His Clifford Irving is a charlatan and a compulsive liar, to be sure, but Gere makes him sympathetic in a carefully measured portrayal and never stoops to audience pandering. Even as he digs himself into an ever deepening hole, and you cover your eyes because you know the other shoe is going to drop at any time, you've just gotta love this guy's pure chutzpah.
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Director Lasse Hallstrom's dedicated re-enactment of Clifford Irving's memoirs of his fraudulent autobiography of mysterious, antisocial millionaire Howard Hughes, "The Hoax", is his most impressive work since the 2000 film "Chocolat". Using film footage of the Hughes and also President Nixon and the tumultuous times of the 70's, he creates a sometimes comedic look back at this memorable scandal.

Richard Gere does well in his portrayal of struggling author Irving, a man obviously devoid of a conscience, who conjures up the idea of faking a Hughes autobiography. He figures that the reclusive Hughes would never surface to dispute the veracity of Irving's well researched but fictitious novel. Alfred Molina playing Gere's neurotic sidekick and co-conspirator Dick Susskind is magnificent in his role, giving the movie a comic flair. Marcia Gay Harden with dyed blonde tresses and a disturbing foreign accent was annoying as Irving's wife Edith.

Hallstrom did well in demostrating the extent of Irving's delusions, actually believing himself to be in contact with Hughes and his minions. 91 year old Eli Wallach, always a treat to see on the screen, was delightful playing old codger Noah Dietrich, once a right hand man of Hughes. The movie was insightful in tying in the effect of Irving's hoax, the machinations of Hughes himself who actually communicated disavowing Irving's chicanery and important current events and the day.
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Despite the fact that I'm not exactly a Richard Gere fan, I went into "The Hoax" with high expectations. After all, I consider director Lasse Hallstrom - feelgood/schmaltzy though he may sometimes be ("Once Around", "The Cider House Rules") - to be one of the more consistently reliable filmmakers of the last twenty years (he's directed several of my all-time favorite films, including "My Life As A Dog", "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" and "Chocolat"). And from what little I knew of the intriguing real-life story upon which this movie is based, I figured it would be a good to very good film as long as the filmmakers didn't mess it up (and Richard Gere didn't ham it up).

Thankfully, I was wrong. It actually turned out to be a great film, and not only did the filmmakers not mess it up, they elevated the material beyond what my already-high expectations were going in. From the taut and smart script (which in my opinion is worthy of an Adapted Screenplay Oscar Nomination) to the inventive cinematography, from the (as always) imaginative direction to a surprisingly non-showboaty performance from Richard Gere (not to mention scene-stealing performances by actors in supporting roles), "The Hoax" is right up there with the best films I've seen all year.

For those of you not in the know, the story centers around (and is based on a book by) Clifford Irving, who - as we meet him in the movie - had already (quite aptly, it turns out) written the book Fake, with forgery as its subject (and you can see the real Clifford Irving in Orson Welles' classic 1974 film "F for Fake"). Now he's received verbal agreement that his publishing house, McGraw Hill, will be putting out his second book, the unfortunately named Rudnick's Problem.
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