Richland Student Media

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Richland Student Media

Richland Student Media


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Richland Chronicle 2/20/24
Richland Chronicle 2/20/24

‘The Aviator’ is still flying high today

Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes and Gwen Stefani as Jean Harlow attend a party together in “The Aviator.” (Photos/IMDB)

This is the latest installment in Pronk’s classic film series “Eternally Grateful Great Movies.”

“The Aviator” (2004) stars Leonardo DiCaprio playing millionaire Howard Hughes from the mid to late 1920s through the 1940s (1927-1947) when he was making movies in Hollywood, designing new aircraft and buying and expanding Trans World Airline (TWA) to compete with dominant Pan American Airlines.
However, the movie does not cover the remainder of his life when Hughes was a recluse and avoided the public by staying hidden in hotel rooms and buildings that he owned.
The screenplay was written by John Logan, who knows the history of the motion picture and aircraft industries, and directed by world famous Martin Scorsese who has directed such movies as “Raging Bull,” “Goodfellas”, “The Last Temptation of Christ,” “Taxi Driver” and, most recently, “Killers of the Flower Moon.”
When he was 18, Hughes inherited a huge fortune from his father, who built the Hughes Tool Company into the principal supplier of drill bits to the petroleum drilling exploration industry. Given his good looks, ownership of a movie studio and inherited fortune, Hughes attracted the attention of beautiful actresses including Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, Jean Harlow and scores of other women both actresses and others not in the industry.
The movie explores these relationships with Hepburn (Cate Blanchett), Gardner (Kate Beckinsale) and Harlow (Gwen Stefani). Hughes hires Noah Dietrich (John C. Riley) to run Hughes Tool Company while he is busy making movies and designing aircraft.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, left, Adam Scott as Johnny Meyer, Jude Law as Errol Flynn and Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn star in Scorsese’s “The Aviator.”

When Hughes decides to enter the airline industry and buy TWA, he needs to buy aircraft that can compete with Pan Am headed by Jaun Trippe played by Alec Baldwin.
Trippe’s man in Washington is Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster played by Alan Alda. Hughes dealing with Brewster both in private and at public hearings are explored. Hughes’ testimony together with his flying of the world’s largest aircraft, the “Spruce Goose,” are shown.
Hughes’ mental problems and fear of germs are shown as they get worse over time as employees try to hide this from outsiders.
Both the acting performances and design of scenes are outstanding, making you feel you are living over 70 years ago. The movie earned several awards, including five Academy Award nominations and a Best Supporting Actress Oscar win for Blanchett.
I definitely recommend you see the movie by buying the two-disc DVD and view the special features on the second disc.

Grade: A

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