Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “The Hoax”

(Miramax. 2006. Color. Widescreen. 1 Disc. Rated R. 115 minutes. Directed by Lasse Hallstr?m.) Richard Gere, Alfred Molina, Hope Davis, Marcia Gay Harden, Julie Delpy, Stanley Tucci, Eli Wallach. Music by Carter Burwell.

Former pretty-boy Gere dons fake nose and wig to make the most of his role as real-life author Clifford Irving, who almost pulled off a phony Howard Hughes authorized biography in the early 70s. The handsome, charming, and most importantly, resourceful Irving, along with reluctant help from his best friend (Molina, also good) and eventually his Swiss wife (Harden in a long blond wig and strange accent) keeps all the plates spinning…for a while. Good supporting turns from Wallach (as Hughes’ former associate), Tucci (as the publisher at McGraw-Hill), and Delpy (as Irving’s Danish mistress Nina van Pallandt, who would go on to a film career, including American Gigolo, starring you-know-who). The imminent publication of the phony bio even brought the billionaire himself out of hiding (via telephone, for what would be his last public statement), and potentially-explosive information in the book allegedly caused then-president Nixon to order the Watergate break-in. Very entertaining reminder of a bygone political and cultural era. Extras include a segment from 60 Minutes with Mike Wallace interviewing the real Irving.