Movie Review: The Aviator (2004)

Short version of Howard Hughes’ remarkable life and times

Written by John Logan
Directed by Martin Scorsese

Leonardo DiCaprio … Howard Hughes
Cate Blanchett … Katharine Hepburn
Kate Beckinsale … Ava Gardner
John C. Reilly … Noah Dietrich
Alec Baldwin … Juan Trippe
Alan Alda … Senator Ralph Owen Brewster
Ian Holm … Professor Fitz

This review stems from a “rewatch,” the first viewing occurring on New Year’s Eve.  It’s a fairly long movie and our group was there through the ending into the new year in a nearly empty theater.  But this is worthwhile moviemaking; the writers give us a true American hero who takes on the State and, at least for a while, wins.

Hughes was the son of a Texas oilman-inventor who set up a company and earned a fortune; the old man died when Howard was 18, leaving Howard as a multimillionaire engineering student.  The Aviator follows Howard from 1930, when he produced the movie Hell’s Angels, to 1947 when, at the age of 42, Howard flew the H4-Hercules aircraft he had designed and built (aka the Spruce Goose).

Following the death of his parents, Hughes moved to Hollywood and to become a movie producer.  He was instrumental in the launch of Jean Harlow’s career, and he took a special interest in other celebrity movie femmes in those days.  He produced and directed Hell’s Angels (Harlow) as well as The Front Page, Flying Leathernecks, and ScarfaceContinue reading