Wednesday, March 26, 2014

F for Fake/The Hoax

In 1977, author Clifford Irving shocked the world when he announced he had access to Howard Hughes, the eccentric playboy billionaire who had kept himself in seclusion for nearly twenty years. Securing a million dollar book deal with McGraw Hill, he shocked the world once more when, following the book's publishing, he admitted it all was a sham and wound up serving over two years in prison. Before Richard Gere portrayed this ballsy fabulist in Lasse Hallstrom's 2006 film The Hoax, and even before these improbable events took place, Irving appeared cavorting with a lowly art forger who was the subject of Orson Welles' pseudodocumentary F for Fake. Welles' film, the last one the great provocateur completed as director, is a brilliant assemblage, almost too much to follow at times, and is a whole lot of fun (especially a spurious bit involving Welles' mistress seducing Pablo Picasso) to watch the interactions of these well matched charlatans, Welles included. The Hoax mostly tells Irving's wild story well, but the picture lacks air and though Gere is enjoyable to watch and suited to playing a wily character always thinking on his toes, supporting players Alfred Molina and Marcia Gay Hardin hardly add anything to the production.
Clifford Irving in F for Fake