The Hoax Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the The Hoax script is here for all you fans of the Richard Gere movie. This puppy is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of the movie to get the dialogue. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and all that jazz, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. At least you'll have some The Hoax quotes (or even a monologue or two) to annoy your coworkers with in the meantime, right?

And swing on back to Drew's Script-O-Rama afterwards -- because reading is good for your noodle. Better than Farmville, anyway.

The Hoax Script




Dana, can you hear me?

ANDREA: Just follow the instructions.
Is that so difficult?

No, no, "N"!

WOMAN: Harold.

MAN: It's very becoming. I like that.

MAN: Guys, there's nothing
I can do, all right?

The meeting's gonna be canceled.

The building's being evacuated.

Top four floors are closed off.
I don't know what's going on.

ANDREA: It doesn't matter.
Nobody's supposed to be there.

Just follow the instructions.
Is that so difficult?

Clifford, it's 2:and my interns are stranded.

- Where the fuck is he?
- He's coming.

- He's coming?
- He's coming.

I think we got something.

Oh, my God. Is that him?

South side of the building.
Do you see it?

- That's him! He's here!
- Oh, my God!

He's landing! Clear the roof!

- BRAD: Get your things. Go! Come on!
- Quickly.

He keeps his promises.


- Fake.
- Yes.

Malika, Clifford is the man
who wrote Fake.

An excellent book
about the guy, artist...

I'm blanking... Who was it?

- Art forger.
- The art forger.

- Exactly. Elmyr de Hory was his name.
- Okay.

He forged Picassos, Matisses,

The whole theory of forgery as art.
What is art?

Very subversive kind of act.

The book sold poorly.

- Well, it could've done better.
- Let's not talk about that today.

Regardless. The new one. Fiction.

- Yes.
- Rudnick's Problem.

I like it. You're right.

- I like it. Malika liked it, too.
- MALIKA: Yeah.

Yes, I did. I loved it. It was stunning.

It scared the hell out of me, actually,
to tell you the truth.

- It's an angry book.
- ALBERT: But funny!

I mean, I read it,
I thought it was hilarious.

It wasn't angry to me.

It was nice to me. It made me laugh.

But anger's important. We need anger.

Which I think will help us in Germany.

marry us and have our children?


Brad Silber at Life is reading it
right now for serialization rights.


Harold McGraw himself
is reading it this weekend.

- You're kidding.
- That's just a formality.

You have waited, Cliff.

You've watched as less talented writers
have bypassed you.

But now, justice at last.

They're going to push this one hard.
They're going to bet the bank.

- Is that a promise?
- You can set your watch by it.

Andrea, I don't have a watch.

Then buy one.
Trust me, you can afford it.


Calls unreturned, they don't read you

for six months, they're indifferent.

Then overnight... God.
Dick, can you hear me?

Dick! Here, try these. They're bigger.

No, they're fine.

We're doing a vacation,
a gentleman's celebration kind of thing.

You got harpoons?
The ones that shoot?

- Yeah, most of them shoot.
- Good.

He looks like a sausage.
All right, I'll take the whole outfit.

Set me up as a regular account.
I prefer monthly payments.

You're a prick, Robert, you are such
a prick. You played me like a harp.

Whitewalls, leather...
Is this guy a salesman?

Now, when my accountant comes by
with the check,

should he talk to you directly?

He should speak to me directly, yeah,
with the check, yeah.

Call the police, there's a
beautiful woman in front of my house!


What's the matter, pear?

You haven't seen
a bestselling author before?

- Oh, Cliff.
- Yes.

You didn't think I was going to do it,
did you?

Stop, Cliff, stop.
Look, they're taking the sofa.

Oh, I love that sofa.

Hey, guys. How are you doing?

Hey, guys. How are you doing?

Ah, fuck the sofa.

- Close your eyes. Close, close.
- What?

- Okay.
- Oh, Cliff.


There, perfect.
You are a beautiful man.

I am sure you would desert me.

No, will desert you,
the tense is future active.

Don't correct the grammar of it.
You are not this perfect person.

Honey, it's finished.
I told you it was finished.

It's finished with her.

- Good night.
- Cliff...

- Keys to my new car.
- Yeah, got it. Bye, honey.

Have fun.




Andrea! Hi, isn't this amazing?
Isn't this wild?

- Can I talk to you a second?
- Let's talk on Monday, Cliff.

No, just for a second.
It's really important. I'd like to...

Look, 30,000 copies is not gonna do it.

A short run like that,
it sends out a message,

and it's not a good one.

- We're not publishing the book.
- Exactly, exactly.

With 30,000 copies, it's like
we're not really publishing the book...

Brad Silber at Life magazine hated it.
He called it,

"A third-rate Philip Roth knock-off."
And he told Harold. And it was awful.

It just rolled like a snowball.


I wanted to tell you on Monday.
I'm sorry.

Fine, we'll do The New Yorker.
The New Yorker's better anyway...

You're not listening to me, Cliff.

McGraw-Hill is not publishing
your book.

Book, gone. The bomb has dropped.

It's over.

Andrea, you said
that this was a formality.

Well, apparently, I was mistaken.

Look, if you have other ideas,
my door is always open to you.

The enemy, very deceitfully,

has taken advantage of the troops...

They are potatoes, all of them.
Potato people.

And you are a brilliant, strong man
who will have all his dreams.

All of them.



DICK: You know what I'm getting
for dinner? Swordfish steak.

It sounds good. Sounds enticing.

Oh, come on, Cliff. Forget it, forget it.


All right. Enough, enough.

I want to talk about my friend.

Tell me about the children's book
you're working on.

Oh, Richard the Lionhearted.
That's going okay.

I should be done
by the end of the year.

You know, it's a great subject.
War, sodomy.

I mean, the war part's great.
Kids love war.

But what do you do with the sodomy?
You know?

You see, I want it to be
historically accurate.

And you will make it so
because you are a superb researcher,

and a fine writer.

Thank you.

Bumped by this adolescent coffee boy.

My lit professor at Cornell
compared me to Hemingway.

The middle of my life is at hand.
I don't have a couch.

Think about this.

Henry Miller was 38 years old,

His wife left him for a lesbian.

You're kind to tell me that, Dick.

You're a very good man.
You're a good friend.

- Need a loan?
- Always.

- No, no. I was kidding, Cliff.
- You got a pen, kid?

I was kidding.
Your house is going into foreclosure.

- I'm post-dating it.
- Stop that. Stop being the hero.

- Go to bed.
- I got it, I got it. Walk away. Go.

- I got it.
- All right.

- Go to bed.
- I will.


MAN: Everyone's being relocated
to another hotel.

Please stay calm and follow me.

- Excuse me. Can you...
- MAN: Follow me, please!

WOMAN: Somebody told me
that Howard Hughes is

moving into this hotel.

What is this? What's going on?

It's an executive decision
to close the facility for the weekend, sir.

- You're being relocated.
- Executive decision?

Howard Hughes
wants the pool to himself,

so he's kicking everyone out
at 1:00 a.m.?

I don't know about that, sir.

That's power.

(WHISPERING ) It's a friendship
between Tom Mix and Pancho Villa.


Revolution, Mexican revolution.

Men were men.

- Friendship and...
- Mr. Clifford?

Andrea's running late, so she said
that we should just go ahead

and start the meeting without her.

"Mr. Clifford"? Wait a minute.

I'm meeting with you?


Oh, no. Excuse me.

Mr. Clifford...


Excuse me!
Hello, I'm sorry, everybody. Andrea...

I'm sorry. I did tell him, but...

ANDREA: Cliff, I'm in the middle
of a conference meeting.

ANDREA: Cliff, I'm in the middle
of a conference meeting.

Andrea, our personal history demands
that I bring this to you first.

Bring what?

I'm working on the most important book
of the 20th century.

It's unprecedented.
I'm gonna discuss it tomorrow.

I'm gonna present the details
about it tomorrow.

- Okay.
- Morning, 9:00 a.m.

- Thank you.
- At Nathan's Bowling Alley in Queens.

- Did I ever take you there before?
- Sir?

Okay, yeah, I'm going, I'm going.

You'd better be sure, Andrea,
that I don't have anything,

'cause Simon and Schuster is coming.

"Of the century"? Couldn't you
have just said "of the decade"?

CLIFFORD: All right, all right.

- And why a bowling alley?
- Please, make a contribution here.

Just open your mind.
The first thing that comes to your mind.

- Potato famine.
- Too Irish.

- A history of agriculture.
- Oh, that's a bestseller.

- Shedding new light on World War I.
- What's the new light?

Write about Picasso.
Everyone loves Picasso.

- CLIFFORD: I don't.
- Charlemagne?

- CLIFFORD: Too French.
- History of the Vatican.

- CLIFFORD: I'm dying.
- Give me a clue here.

- I'm being self-destructive.
- I gotta call Barbara.

I'm burning bridges, Edith.

They never appreciated you there.

I need lunch.

I'm having a breakdown.

- My gallery show's in three weeks.
- I know.

I don't have time
for the drama now, darling.





MAN: Size 7.


No one knows where he is.
I show up, I've seen him.

I've seen the snowman.

I send him my de Hory book.

He reads it.

It's a positive portrayal
of a very complex man.

Oh, my God, I get a response.

Correspondence. Sparks fly.
Personal connection.

We become best of friends.
What do you think?

- What is it? What's the book?
- Wait, wait.

Where's Simon and Schuster, Tolstoy?

CLIFFORD: This is the key to it.

Have a strong, continuous line,
keep the pen on the paper.

Just like that.

All these articles say the same thing.

Hughes runs
a billion-dollar network of companies,

but he only communicates
with handwritten memos.

He doesn't even talk to his top guys.
There's no direct contact anywhere.

That's why it's gonna work.

Fine. Tell me my dick grew
five inches last night.

I'll still use a ruler.


Howard Hughes?
Howard Hughes, the billionaire?

His exclusive,
authorized autobiography.

He wants Cliff to write it with him.

And they want us to publish it.

Handwriting analysis? Right away.
Can we bring it over right now?

"It would not suit me to die without
having stated the truth about my life."

"My life."

"I therefore authorize Clifford Irving
to act as intermediary

"as to any arrangements regarding
the publishing of my memoir."

ANDREA: "It would not suit me to die

"without having
certain misconceptions cleared up

"and without having stated
the truth about my life."


taking you at your word...


How does Mr. Hughes propose
we proceed?



Look, this is all very strange.

I'm just getting
the lay of the land here myself.

But what...

What I can gather so far
is that he refuses to go outdoors.

He will only initiate,
never accept, phone calls.

Those two particular rumors
seem to be true.

But he did say that he would provide

handwritten contracts
for legal purposes.

And... Whatever questions you...

You know, you give them to me,

I'll pass them on
when he makes contact with me.

But beyond that,
I don't know what to say, really.

Why you, Cliff?

He could have any writer in the world
do this for him.

Albert, I have absolutely no idea.

This is the strangest thing
that has ever happened to me.

Best guess, he likes me.

So, the matching against the reprinted
letters from Newsweek magazine,

Osborn Associates' preliminary opinion

is that the handwriting samples
are genuine.

- Okay, well, all right...
- Excuse me one second.

Yeah, sure.



- ANDREA: Clifford?
- Yeah?

Did you and Howard discuss
how much you both wanted?

Because we would like
to make you an offer today.

We did. We did. We...

We did discuss it.



- DICK: Can I weigh in here?
- No.

A man walks in, he says something
completely implausible,

and for that exact reason,
he is believed.

No, it's an Aquarian phenomenon.

- Very, very spiritual.
- Lawyers are not spiritual.

Presumably, this is gonna make news.

Howard Hughes hasn't spoken
to the press in 15 years.

What are you so nervous about?

- You can't think, Dick. No thinking.
- All I'm saying is, once this gets out,

what's gonna stop this guy
from suing our asses off?

Three words. TWA shareholder lawsuit.

Howard has a judgment of
137 million bucks waiting to hit him

if he walks into any courtroom.

So the book comes out,
it doesn't matter. He can't sue.

He can still say it's a fake.

He doesn't say anything
about anything. This guy...

He uses ripped-up Kleenex boxes
for slippers and he drinks his own piss.

- He's psychotic.
- DICK: Have you heard of Intertel?

He has his own private CIA.
Ruthless advisors.

His advisors don't know anything
about the book

because he's too paranoid to tell them.

And he'll never come out of hiding
long enough to denounce me

because he's a lunatic hermit.

And I am the spokesperson
for the lunatic hermit.

So the more outrageous I sound,
the more convincing I am.

Do you believe this, the perfection?

- They offered half a million.
- Half a million dollars?

Four-hundred grand for Howard
and a hundred grand for us!

Oh, I thought you meant
just a half a million for us.

Schmuck, it's all for us.
There is no Howard Hughes.

- Dick, are you paying attention to me?
- Yeah.

The problem is this.

It's an oral agreement.

Their lawyers are gonna
jump all over this,

which is why
we have to leave right now.

We gotta become experts
on this man's life.

And if we find dirt and it rings true,
the top guys will shove this deal

right down the lawyers' throats.


no visits with special friends, right?

I'm not going to do anything
to jeopardize what we've rebuilt, okay?

You just said to warn you
when you get excited.

- You seem excited.
- Well...

I love you.

I love you.


Cliff, Howard Hughes' testimony

at the Senate committee hearings
in 1947.

It's got his speech patterns,
his syntax, everything. It's perfect.

Take a picture.

You can't photograph
a government document, it's a felony.

You gonna memorize it?
Take a picture. Take a picture.

I'm a researcher, Cliff.
I am not a jewel thief.

You own 25 percent of this book.

You want it to be good?
You take a picture.


DICK: You know, I've always had
a dangerous side.

Barbara has often remarked on it.

But to take down the Library
of Congress. God, the adrenaline.

You took a nice picture
of your leg here.

- Or is that your ankle? I can't tell.
- Where?

Right there.

- It's my ankle.
- It's all out of focus anyway.

- Jesus.
- Want another drink?

- Yeah.
- Yeah, me, too.

Oh, fuck.

Harold, this book will sell more copies
than the Bible.

And our competitors will kill to get it,
and if they can't get it,

they will do anything they can
to destroy it.

I say we sign this contract immediately,
and institute absolute, total secrecy.

Total. Not even wives can know.

Within reason.

From now on,
we refer to Hughes as "Octavio."

The book is called "Project Octavio."

Get Ralph Graves on the phone.

That's the code name.

I want our journalist friends
to weigh in on this

before I sign
Mr. Hughes' piece of paper.

Look at all this security personnel.

This is a secure facility.

We need the information
in portable form.

Just look comfortable, be buoyant.

Hell, they can let anybody in here.

- What if I'm a Russian?
- Be a buoyant Russian.

Records? What for?

You don't know what the hell's going on
with your own company?

Well, to be honest with you, Sergeant,
no, actually, we don't.

Mr. Hughes doesn't like
to share information.

It's very frustrating for us.

You want frustration?

You want frustration?

Call Hughes Aircraft and try to find out
when your plane's gonna be ready.

I've seen decorated individuals
sobbing like six-year-old girls

after dealing with you people.

Could my associate
use your facilities, Sergeant?

Could he?

- Thank you for that.
- To your left.

I'll level with you.
We've had some problems.

Everyone has told us stories
about delays.

Well, I can't get anybody on the phone,
for one thing.

- I had no idea it was this serious.
- It's very serious.

- Frustrating.
- Can you go into any more detail?

Well, the only details I can tell you

is that I've been on the phone
three times today to one girl,

who doesn't know
what she's talking about,

can't tell me when
I'm gonna get my airplanes.

Which office were you talking to?
Do you mind if I write something down?

- Sure.
- This was the complaint department?

- No, acquisitions.
- Acquisitions?

Acquisitions, as far as I know.

My people been dealing with her,
or somebody down there,

for the last three months,
trying to get two aircrafts.

This is an outrage.

An outrage,
the military should be treated that way.

DICK: No. No. I'm not doing it.


Thank you.


- Hey, Dick. You all right?
- Yeah.

Okay. Keep moving, keep moving.

- Just fine, just fine.
- It's palpitations.

It's okay. A little bit more,
a little bit more. Keep moving.

Sit down here. That's good.

You all right?

You're fine. You're fine.

Fight or flight. It's an animal thing.

It's like you're being chased
by a cheetah or something.

Okay, okay. I'll be fine.

- You okay?
- Yeah, I'm good.

Look, Noah Dietrich, on the right.

Howard Hughes' right-hand man
for over 30 years.

Retired to Vegas.
The other guy, I don't know.


You know, my guess is this guy,
Dietrich, is going to be really cagey.

CLIFFORD: Information?
Las Vegas, Nevada, please.


NO AH: Hello?
CLIFFORD: Mr. Dietrich?

- Yeah?
- Yeah, I'm sorry to bother you at home.

My name is Clifford Irving
and I'm writing a book

about the history of aviation.

I'd be really grateful if you'd share
some of your expertise with me.

Oh, great. Come on over.


You like geranium tea?

It helps your bowels. Follow me.

Watch your step.

- Hey, you're a writer.
- Yes, I am.

I should show you something.

This is an account
of my years at Tool Co.

You know Tool Co.?
Howard Hughes' company.

Has anyone seen this?

Nobody's seen it. It's sensitive.

Listen, I'll come right to the point.

I'll give you $to clean up the grammar,

'cause I'm bad with spelling.

Yeah, well, I'd have to read it first.
When can I get it back to you?

No, no, no,
I can't let it out of the house.

Why don't you read it right now,
sitting here?

- Now?
- Now.


Right here? Okay.

- NOAH: Take your time. See you later.
- Thank you.

(WHISPERING ) You know what this is?
Do you understand what this means?

- This is exactly... It's gold.
- It's perfect.

We have to find a way
to get it out of the house.

Copy, we need a copy.

Okay, get up. Stand in front of me.
Come over here.

- NOAH: It's great in the water!
- Keep smiling. What's he doing?

- Oh, yeah.
- CLIFFORD: Tell me if he can see it.

Grab it.

Tell your friend to come in.
The water's beautiful.

Copy that and get back here,
right away.


Thank you!

Sit down, sit down. Thank you.

All right? Are you ready?


All right. I'm done.

Sir, honesty is my policy.

This is atrocious. It's not publishable.

It's run-on sentences,
it's mangled verbiage...

I'm very sorry.

You benefit and I benefit from honesty.
God bless.

This is badly spelled gossip
from someone absolutely in the know.

This is perfect. Perfect! Oh, my...

CLIFFORD: You know what we should
do? Let's give Andrea some good news.


DICK: This is amazing.
Everybody hates Howard Hughes.

They call him cheap, everything else.

But, you know, they're in his thrall.
They can't stop talking about him.

He's Howard Hughes.
Who the fuck are they?

DICK: Listen. "He rarely took vacations.

"But when he did,
he usually booked a remote hotel

"But when he did,
he usually booked a remote hotel

"in the Juchitán mountains
called the Salina Cruz."

- Remote. R-E-M-O-A-T. Vacation...
- I'm going for a walk.

- I'll be back in a little bit.
- Okay.

CLIFFORD: What is it?

Look, you told me
not to call you ever again, so I didn't.

- I say a lot of stupid things, you know?
- Yeah.

It was funny seeing you the other night.

I would have given anything
to get this call a year ago.

- It's too late. I...
- Clifford...

- You ran out of time. Sorry.
- Clifford, wait. I need to see you.




DICK: Cliff, listen to this.
This is from the Dietrich manuscript.

There's a full transcription here of a
conversation between Howard Hughes

and Frank McCullough
from Time magazine.

They mention Intertel, the Mormon guy,
George Gordon Holmes.

- It's fantastic.
- Stop, listen to me.

- Nina called from New York last night.
- Oh, here we go.

Dick, it took me a year
to make things right with Edith.

- Keep an eye on me, will you?
- Keep an eye?

It's my second profession.

- Here you are.
- Thanks.


I've been talking to Barbara,

and she's found some kind of
publishing contract.

And I was wondering
if maybe we could talk about,

you know, some kind of credit deal,

or just some more money for me.

You're not happy
with what we talked about?

- No, no, no, it's not that.
- What? What is it?

Well, it's just like...
I sort of feel that, you know...


Don't answer that! Don't...

Hello, darling. It's Ms. Tate calling.
We have a bit of a problem.

- Andrea thinks it's just me...
- Hello! Hi, Andrea, this...

- Who is this?
- You can't say her name.

- This is Dick.
- No, no, don't give your name.

Dick Suskind.

Dick, how do you know my name?

- Don't tell her!
- Cliff mentioned you.

What are you doing out there
with Clifford?


- I am the...
- Co-coordinator of...

- I'm the coauthor of Project Octavio.
- ANDREA: Excuse me?

- Is Cliff there?
- DICK: Yes, certainly. He's right here.

- Put him on the phone, please.
- I didn't know what else to say.

- I heard you talking...
- I know what you're doing.

- I know what you're doing.
- What?

I know what you're doing.

Hi, Andrea.

Who the hell was that, Clifford?

That is my associate.

I was intending
to talk to you about him.

He's working with me on this.

All right. You need to be in New York
at 9:00 on Monday morning.

You're meeting with Ralph Graves.

He's the editor-in-chief
of Life magazine.

Yeah, I know who he is.

You need to go over all your contacts
with Octavio.

Life knows a lot about him, so get
your memory clear and be specific.

I don't want to lose the deal
over their knee-jerk suspicions.

What do you... Wait, wait, wait.
What do you mean, "lose the deal"?

What suspicions?

Just tell them the truth.


He gave me a prune.
He gave me a prune.

Visualize the Mediterranean
or something.

You're sweating like an animal.

You know, it's pretty nervy
of these publishers

to put us through this inquisition.

Well, you can't sit it out now.
You're a coauthor.


Quite a responsibility.

The second handwriting analysis
told us

your letters from Mr. Hughes
are authentic.

ANDREA: 100 percent.
RALPH: No surprise there.

Experts want to provide their employers
with good news.

He gave me a prune.



Right... In a bag.

He gave me a prune. Howard Hughes.

Dick is jumping forward a little bit.
It was a memorable moment for him.

- Anyway, Ralph, how can we help?
- You know, no one likes to be accused.

I really don't think anyone's
making accusations here, Dick.

Are we going to stand around all day
looking at photographs?

We came here to talk about
Howard Hughes. Let's talk about him.

He gave me a prune.

Howard Hughes gave me a prune
on the beach at Nassau.

I thought you met Hughes
the first time in Mexico.

Ralph, what happened was this.
I got a phone call.

Really, out of the blue.

From a man
named George Gordon Holmes.

Longtime associate of Howard Hughes.

He says he wants us
to fly down to Mexico City,

wait for a call,
so we go ahead and do this.

We fly down there,
we check into this fleabag hotel.

Eighteen hours we wait,
no air conditioning,

sand crabs in the bathtub,
I say, "The hell with him,"

when we spot an envelope,

shoved under the door.

DICK: He rarely went on vacation,
but when he did,

he usually booked into a remote hotel

- in the mountains of Juchitán.
- CLIFFORD: It says,

- in the mountains of Juchitán.
- CLIFFORD: It says,

"There's a pilot waiting
to take you to Juchitán."

So it's 6:00 a.m.,
we're flying low over the mountains,

and I'm nervous.

But he's got a touch, this bush pilot.

He brings it right down
onto a gray pebble landing strip.

Just as it comes down,
I see out of the corner of my eye,

there's a jeep that's coming down
from the mountains.

Mexican military?


It's Holmes.

- Mr. Irving?
- Yes, that's right. Mr. Holmes?

- Who is this?
- Dick Suskind, sir.

So, he's a little surprised to see Dick,

but I explained that Dick
was my researcher and friend,

and that's why he was there
and I couldn't do without him.

We get in the jeep,

and he takes us on this endless ride,
up through the mountains.

We circled around the top of this hill
and we got to the hotel,

which was called

Salina Cruz.

Holmes motions for us to follow.

It's quiet.

There's a room
way in the back, like a hut.

Doesn't even have
a view of the ocean.

We can barely see.

There's a little slip of a man on a bed,
sitting like a monk.

Howard Hughes.

Howard Hughes.

Howard Hughes is sitting right there.

My heart...

And then he was reaching out
through the mosquito netting,

and he offered Dick a...

A prune.

A prune.

Dick takes the prune,

eats the prune...

Not bad.


And he started talking about
the extraordinary value of Mexican soil,

organic farming, organic food,
et cetera, et cetera.

The two of them started jabbering
like old friends.

We ended up talking a little bit about
business, then Dick and I went home.

- I'm a little hungry.
- Let's eat.


ANDREA: Ralph, will you pick
something fabulous?

The Latour please, '61.

- That'll get us started. Thank you.
- Oh, yes.

And some beluga,
shall we, gentlemen?

MAN: Sounds good.

You know, Howard Hughes
doesn't like caviar.


Really. In fact, he made a special point
of saying so.

I remember that. I...

It was such a non sequitur.
It was a strange thing.

It was just after Clifford
finished talking about the...

- The crash.
- That's right. The crash.

The one in Beverly Hills.
He nearly hit the top of that house,

parked it right on top of the house, hurt
his back, but he walked away from it.

And he said that people
in Beverly Hills eat caviar,

and he doesn't like it
and then he crashed his plane.

RALPH: Okay, then let's make it
two beluga appetizers, please.

- Three maybe.
- Three, yeah. Make it three.

- Andrea, yeah?
- Thank you. Okay. Good.

Did you get any sense
of his business acumen?

Go ahead.

It's interesting. He said that...

Very interesting. He said that people
often think of business as business,

which of course it is, but also...
Within business, there is also pleasure.

You know, business is pleasure.
Pleasure can be a business.

Business has pleasure.
It's both. It's both at the same time.

I didn't really understand it,
but after a while it sunk in,

and I realized, you know,
that's his genius.

This is your check for writing services.

The second check for Mr. Hughes,
or, Octavio, sorry...

It's gonna take
a little longer to process.

I understand you're authorized
to receive Mr. Hughes' payment?

Yeah, I am, I am, thank you.
But don't take too long, all right?

Life magazine is prepared
to offer $250,
for worldwide exclusive rights
to serialize the Howard Hughes story.

That's a record, Harold.

I'm wondering if it's enough of a record,


DICK: Oh, jeez.
CLIFFORD: The money makes this real.


You can still back out,
but you gotta tell me now.

- Back out?
- Yeah.

Fuck, no!
We're the goddamn Musketeers.

Good. That's good.
Don't spend any money, though.

Better we keep it for later,
in case we need it.


REPORTER: In other news,
the Supreme Court has agreed to hear

the TWA shareholders' case against
reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes.

A loss could cost Hughes
$ 137,000,000

and devastate his financial empire.

The Nixon Justice Department
has thus far refused...

CLIFFORD: We gotta reach big.

We'll go for texture, gritty details,
we need blood, we need money,

we need real juicy,
Shakespearean, big stuff...

You want to critique a sitting president
who's also a war criminal?

- No, no, no.
- You can do anything you want.

You can impact culture
with something like this.

"Lmpact culture." I want to make
some money and not get caught.

You know,
we've got to make this plausible.

Dick, I handed them
three yellow letters.

They gave me $500,000.
Is that plausible?

I don't think so.


- You want to get a drink?
- Okay.

I'm gonna change my shirt.
I'll be right out.

- I'm heading home.
- You go. I'm sticking for a while.

- See you, Tom.
- Good night.

- Tommy, can I use your phone?
- Yeah, sure, go right ahead.

I saw Elmyr a few months ago in lbiza.

So, how is our old friend Elmyr?

Well, I was having dinner with friends,

and he was at the bar,
sitting all alone, drinking.

He came up to me and he said,

"I have always found your affair with
Clifford to be common and immoral."

And he stormed out.


You're lying. Elmyr didn't say that.

Oh, I'm the liar?

Oh, I'm the liar?

And who's writing a fake book about
the most famous man in the world?

Gotta get back.

No! No, the clock is broken. You stay.

Just to confirm,

he's still rich
and you're still not gonna leave him.

Oh, I want to, Cliff, I want to.

But, no, I'm not going to.

I'm shallow, Cliff.

My greatest desire
is to be an American movie star.

- How shallow is that?
- Pretty shallow.

And besides, why does it bother you
so much that I'm your mistress?

Brecht, Hemingway,
they all had mistresses.

The lying gives me a headache,
if you want to know the truth.

Oh, I forgot. You're a devoted husband.

I think I forgot
while you were screwing me.


I know I should have not called you.

I'm not gonna go through
this whole thing again.

I can't do it to her. I can't.

NINA: I'll see you next time?


DICK: Oh, Dick, Nina!
There's no future with her.

- She weakens me.
- Okay, all right. That's very helpful.

Edith is stability, Dick. She's my rock.

Give me a break, will you, please?

Did you tell Nina about the book?

Are you out of your fucking mind?

I've got the "I'm an asshole" part
down pretty good.

It's the "What do I do now?" part
I need help with.

Please? Be my friend?

- Are you my friend?
- Yeah, I'm your friend.

I don't know what I'm gonna do
if she asks me where I went.

Come clean.

She'll leave me, for good.

It's the best I got.
What else can I tell you?

You wanna hear this?


All right,
this is the Senate hearings, 1947.

HUGHES: I'm not even sure
that's a correct statement,

but the fact remains
that if I made 15 million dollars,

I made it selling oil well tools
and beer,

Grand Prize beer,
to people down in Texas.

"Beer down in Texas."


And I don't think the public
should be led to believe...

"Led to believe."

... on war contracts while I did not.
Now, furthermore...

"Now, furthermore..."

- "Furthermore, Senator..."
- "Furthermore..."

... a little money somewhere.
How could I put nine million dollars...

A little pocket change

worth five million dollars in my pocket.


DICK: Mr. Hughes, where would you
like to begin?

- Family, friends, father...
- Yeah.

My father. We'll do father.

People called my father Big Howard.


Big Howard...

Big Howard made his money
leasing drilling bits in the oil business.

He said to me... He said, "Sonny..."

"Sonny, these drill bits
are your bread and butter.

"Don't ever let 'em go."

Big Howard died when I was 18.

His bunch of Texas roughneck friends
tried to sell his company.

Pushed me out of the picture.
I don't like being pushed.

Now, when two parties negotiate,
you got a lion and a donkey.

One party, through bluster or leverage,

claims control of
the situation right away. That's the lion.

At 18,

I sued these men
trying to sell my father's company.

I sued them, I attacked them,
I blackmailed them,

I pushed every which way I could!

I learned to be a lion.

Jesus, Cliff.

- Read the women's rags lately?
- Hi.

Excerpts from
Howard Hughes' autobiography

in Ladies Home Journal
from the book by Robert Eaton.

Life's lawyers are gnawing
the flesh from my bones.

Would you like to tell me, Clifford,
what the fuck is going on here?

Would you like to tell me, Clifford,
what the fuck is going on here?

I don't know anything about this.

This goddamn Eaton
supposedly has memos,

the same handwritten memos
that you've got, so...

Either you're selling this twice and
using Robert Eaton as a pen name...

I won't even dignify that
with a response.

Or, more likely, your demigod
lunatic friend is using two writers.

You get it?

All the sharks at my company
have is you,

which means they will sue your skinny
ass for every cent of the advance,

plus damages,
for making false representations...

No, I made no false representations!

...about an exclusive book
you said you could deliver.

DICK: So she said that they said
that they would sue us both?

- Yeah.
- Both of us?

- I mean, she mentioned me by name?
- Yes.

Can you believe this son of a bitch
had the same idea?

But I spent the money.

I told you we might have to give it back!
Jeez, Dick.

Well, it wasn't exactly
a huge percentage to begin with.

Look, just pay the money.

Tell them that Hughes
has changed his mind.

- And I'll owe you the difference.
- I can't. I'm down most of it myself.

Yeah, well, borrow it.
This isn't a prank anymore, Cliff.

If they go to the press with this,

we're gonna have
Howard fucking Hughes chasing us.

And Intertel.

Remember, they'll stab us
with sodium pentothal?

They'll kill us or tie us up or something.

Howard won't be coming after us.
His advisors maybe, but he won't.

- Oh, really?
- Yeah.

- What, he tell you that over breakfast?
- Yeah.

And what about this other book?
What if that's the real thing, huh?

You thought about that?

All right, the question is,

what would Howard do
in a situation like this?

I don't know. Buy a fucking airline.

Diversion, end run, surprise.

Who are you now? General Patton?

HUGHES: Viruses and bacteria
are the most powerful enemies...


... the human body has got.
You look at the fingernail clippings...

Henry Luce.

Dick, I think you should
take a little holiday.

CLIFFORD: You got everything?
You got your passport?

- You got the letter? Okay, great.
- Yeah, I'm fine...

You're gonna be fine. Bye.



- Hello, this is Andrea.
- Yeah, Andrea, it's Cliff.

Yeah, one more thing, Shelton Fisher
needs to be at the meeting.

ANDREA: Do you know who he is?

Chairman of McGraw-Hill, yes.

- Has to be at the meeting.
- All right, I'll see what I can do.

It's not me. It's him.
No negotiation. No Fisher, no meeting.

Mr. Irving, it would appear
that either you

or your illustrious sponsor
is jerking someone's chain.

Let me assure you that chain
will not be connected to Life magazine.

So, why don't you begin by telling us
who Robert Eaton is

and why he's selling the book
you're supposed to be writing?

Shelton, have you received
your mail today?

Excuse me?

Ralph, I was talking to Shelton.

As a side comment,
watch your tone with me.

I've been up for two nights negotiating
with a very stubborn billionaire,

and my quota for verbal abuse
has been reached.

Could you get the mail, please?

Life magazine has been known

to have a slight impact
on writers' careers, my friend.

And we...
We are not afraid of civil litigation.

That's the tone, right there.
You got that? Watch it.

Is that it?

All right, Shelton,
while you're reading this,

assuming that Howard wrote
what he told me he was gonna write,

I will give a summary to the group here.

Howard doesn't know who Eaton is.
The book is a fake.

But that doesn't really matter now

because when he found out
that McGraw-Hill sold

the serialization rights to Life magazine
without his authorization,

he became...
What's the word? Apoplectic.

You got a problem, Ralph.

Your magazine is owned
by Henry Luce.

What's the matter with Henry Luce?

CLIFFORD: According to Howard?

Well, Luce is in bed with Juan Trippe
at Pan Am.

He's a goddamn socialist
and he's a lousy golfer.

It's just... It's a rant.

It's basically a three-page rant
about what a bastard Luce is.

That's Howard's words, it's not mine.
I don't have a problem with Luce at all.

And the postmark is Nassau.

That is completely irrelevant.

And we are talking about
a business agreement

that will hold up in a court of law.

We had a business agreement.
Not anymore.

I pleaded with him to reconsider,
but I was unsuccessful, so...

Per Howard's instructions,
I am returning

his $ 100,000 advance check to you.


Now, if you want to,
you can chase us around in court.

Meanwhile, we're gonna look
for another publisher.

Wait, no, Clifford.

Wait, no, Clifford.

Mr. Irving, we have a contract with you,

which means that our company
owns the property.


Through all of my pleading, hours of it,
believe me, it could be yours, Shelton.

It could. You could make a public
announcement within the week.

You know, and he's all right, actually,

with Ralph still being involved
with this thing,

provided you increase his advance

to one million dollars,
and not a penny less.


- SHELTON: What? A million dollars?
- Yes.

A million dollars?

Wait, I think we should try
to maintain an atmosphere

of goodwill and trust here.

- SHELTON: Trust?
- Yeah.

The man's a Texan copperhead.

Thank you.

Where are you going?
Where are you going? Wait a minute.

Let me tell you something.
That book is mine, signed and sealed!

And I'm not paying any goddamn
million dollars for it.

You understand that?

You listen to me,
Mr. Clifford fucking Irving.

- You go and tell...
- I'm not Clifford Irving.

I'm Howard Hughes!
Howard's mouth, Howard's words.

One million dollars, or we walk
across the street to Doubleday.

It's your choice.

All right.

You know, Shelton,
I just want to share this with you.

You know, one of Howard's
alternate ideas,

he said, "Why don't I just buy
a controlling interest in McGraw-Hill?"

What was it he said?

"I'll just keep the printing presses
and get rid of the idiots."

That's an exact quote.



- That's it. Thank you.
- Sure.



Why are the boys so glum?

In the midst of our brilliant scheme,
we forgot to figure out

how to cash a check
made out to Howard Hughes.

Open up a Swiss account in his name
for yourself.

CLIFFORD: We were going to do that.

And then we found out
that you need social security numbers.

And it's traceable, even in Switzerland.

Trust me, we've gone over everything.

What if a woman deposits the check?

No, no. The same person
who opens the account

has to be the same person
that cashes the check.

Howard Hughes. It has to be a man.

Tell his publishers
he changed his mind.

He wants the checks written
to his initials now. H.R. Hughes.

Then, a fake passport, a fake name,
Harriet Rhonda Hughes,

Helga Rhinoceros Hughes,


And I can cash the check.

- No, you're not going to Switzerland.
- Oh, Jesus. That's a great idea.

Cliff, that's gonna work.
She can cash the check.

- She's my wife, Dick.
- Yeah, I know she's your wife.

I've reminded you of that fact
from time to time.

You know, when he doesn't call,
stuff like that.

We've talked about it already.

No, I'm...

- It's just about anonymity, that's all it is.
- I wouldn't...

- Great. Which one's mine?
- That... No, that's the old one.

So you're gonna destroy this?

- Okay, very good, thanks.
- Okay.

It's gonna take at least a week
for the check to clear,

so you're gonna have plenty of time
to enjoy Zurich.

REPORTER 1: The McGraw-Hill
Book Company and Life magazine

announced the publication
of the Hughes' autobiography...

REPORTER 2:... that he interviewed
Hughes on many occasions.

REPORTER 3:... autobiography, urging
buyers to place an order now

for what may prove to be the most
controversial book of the century.

I have phone calls, I have telegrams,
I have cease-and-desist orders.

Miss Tate, am I going to pay this man
a million dollars

for a book that he is going to sue me
for publishing?

My back is broken.
What did you order?

If you were concerned,
maybe you can ask Howard

to stop the more adamant denials.

Yeah, yeah. I gotta run.

Let me see if I can do
something about that, okay?


"Hughes' lawyer
calls book complete fabrication."

That's it, we're liars.
Hughes' lawyers calling us liars.

CLIFFORD: We knew this would
happen. Why are you so nervous?

My name's in the goddamn newspaper!

Barbara's very concerned about this.

A month ago, you wanted more credit.

Yeah, well, you know, Hughes' people,
they're all ex-CIA.

Did you know that?
They're all trained in martial arts.

Good, good. I hope they drop-kick
some sense into you.

- Shit. What is that about?
- Is it over with her?

- Over with her?
- I don't know what this is.

Edith, she did this
deliberately, maliciously,

because I cut off
communication with her.

She wants this to separate us.

Did you see her? No, don't, don't...
I don't want to know.

I don't want to know.

I don't want you to go to Switzerland.

It might be dangerous.
I don't care about the money.

You care only about the money.

Oh, and being a famous man.

Anyway, fuck you. It is my money, too.

Fuck you!

Oh, my God.

We got him.

We got him.

- Dick! Dick!
- What?

- Dick, we got it. We got it.
- Got what?

You won't believe this.

Okay, listen. Rebozo...

"Rebozo accepted $ 100,000 in cash
to redecorate Nixon's home.

"The acceptance was understood
to mean that our TWA appeal

"and the Airwest matter
would be of highest priority."

And also, in 1956, Hughes gave
Nixon's brother $205,000 dollars

to secure Pentagon contracts.

This is money-laundering. It's bribery.

It's the end. This is...

We publish this,

Nixon... Nixon, the president,
is impeached.

Do you understand
the power this gives us?

Cliff, I'm not sure
I want the power this gives us.

Yeah, well, I do.

Cliff, you publish this, you will have
a storm of shit rain down on you.

And there are people now,
God knows who,

Nixon's political enemies, Hughes'
advisors, they know where you live.


- I say you forget you ever saw this.
- Forget it?

This is like a Torah
sent down from God

to make us part of history,
and you want to forget it, Dick?

Come here.
Let me show you something.

It's postmarked from Nevada.
That's Hughes country.

What are you saying?

He wants us to help him bust Nixon.
He's with us, Dick! Howard is with us.


How did you know the Dillon Read

hydraulic systems were faulty?

You're not listening,

Clifford, goddamn it.

I made sure they were faulty
through a couple of well-placed bribes.

DICK: So, why didn't you just go to
Defense with the information

and get the contract?


I couldn't have
handled the contracts then.

So instead of tattling on them,
I fixed their planes.

I intertwined our technologies.

I ate that company from within,

and they let me
because they were hypnotized.

That's the way, Clifford.

When your rival is powerful,
find an opportunity.

Create a crisis for him.

But instead of taking
short-term advantage,

save the day for him.

Nothing confuses a man more
than a kind gesture from his enemy.

Nothing renders him more vulnerable.


It's Edith. Turn it off, turn it off.

I made sure they were faulty
through a couple of...

It was Andrea. We got a problem.

Keep it down, guys,
you're going to wake the neighbors.

Clifford, I don't believe
you've met Frank McCullough.

- No. Hi, Frank.
- FRANK: How are you?

Dick Suskind. Dick?


I got a phone call yesterday
from Chester Davis,

- who's Hughes' personal attorney.
- Yes, yes, yes.

Apparently at 1:00 p.m., our time,
Howard Hughes is going to call

to speak to an intermediary
by telephone.

And as the last journalist
to have spoken to Mr. Hughes,

we mutually agreed

that Mr. McCullough
should receive the call,

because of his ability
to identify Mr. Hughes by voice.

Mr. McCullough has also assured us,
at least for the moment,

that all of this will remain off the record.

And Mr. Davis also insisted
that Ralph Graves be present

and in the room
at the time of the phone call,

which I have to say, Cliff,
that one kind of surprised me,

given Hughes' representations of Life

in your alleged communications
with him.

If you'll excuse me,
I have to go to the bathroom.

(LAUGHING ) Shelton, this...

What am I supposed to say?
This is an ambush.

You know exactly what the guy is
gonna say on the other end of this line.

But that's why Mr. McCullough is here,

to identify the voice
of the man in question.

I'm neutral here, Mr. Irving.

So, now we wait.


Can't watch this charade.
You can find me in the lobby.

Stay close, Clifford.

FRANK: Hello?

It says exit, there's no exit.
Oh, my God.


We can't get out.
Howard Hughes. My God.

We have no reason
to believe that that was him.

McCullough hasn't heard from him.
He hasn't spoken to him in 12 years.

Breathe. Listen, Dick.

There's an angry billionaire.

- He's chasing me, he's hating me.
- You're hyperventilating.

- Go on.
- No.

Walk. We're going up here.

Keep moving, come on. Come on.

Cliff, I can't... I gotta take a piss.

I'll confess, I'll do anything they want.
I just have to use the bathroom.

- Okay, right here, right here.
- What?

Look, hide in there.

Watch your head.

Hide there.
If you've got to, piss in your pants.

- You just go ahead and you stay there.
- I'll stay right here.

CLIFFORD: What happened?

We don't know yet.

McCullough asked us
to leave the room.

The man I just spoke to
was Howard Hughes.

His speech patterns and inflections
would be impossible to imitate.

And he told me
that he's never met you,

and that your book is a fraud.

A hoax.

Mr. Irving?

I'm listening.

Now, knowing Howard,
I don't find this to be conclusive at all.

I mean, he is a very strange man.

But considering the scarcity of proof
that you've provided,

my best guess at this moment
is that you are a charlatan.

If there is even a whiff
of impropriety to this,

if you have exaggerated
or changed even the slightest detail,

I will prosecute you
to the full extent of the law

for grand larceny and mail fraud,

unless you tell me right now
just what the ballfuck is going on.

I have...

CLIFFORD: I have betrayed your trust.

The book, the entire story, is false.

I have lied to the entire world.

And no matter what happens now,
I am so relieved.

I have off-the-record material
on that two-faced prick,

puts him in fucking jail.

I'm going to tell Howard,
either he shows his ant-bitten face,

or I release it!

I've had it!

You have three days to produce
Howard Hughes and the manuscript.

Grand larceny, Cliff? Mail fraud?

Jesus... No way.
This is just too much! Too much!

CLIFFORD: We've got a move, there is
a move here, we're just not seeing it yet.

Stop the car. Pull over. Stop the car.

- I've gotta make a phone call.
- What are you doing?

What am I doing? I'm calling Barbara.
That's what I'm doing.

Yeah, it's me.


It's over, Cliff. I can't go to jail.

Now, with you or without you,

I'm gonna tell them tomorrow
that Howard Hughes called

and he pulled out of the deal.
You can pay them back the money.

I talked to Barbara.

She had very strong feelings
about this.

I'm sure she did.

You're an honorable man, Dick.

Aren't you?
Are you an honorable man?

Did you make
a commitment to me, Dick?

Did you say you were in this
till the end?

- Yeah.
- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Reaching a worldwide audience,
taking down a corrupt President.

That's the end! Not this!

- It's finished, Cliff. It's finished.
- Yeah, right. Sure.

- I'm sorry I disappointed you.
- Good.



Do you read? Yeah.

I encourage people to read, because I...

- Right.
- That way, they read my books,

and I sell books
and I can make some money.

That is why I love it when people say,
"I'm a reader."

I say, "Good for you, and good for me."

- I bet you are a good...
- Hey, cowboy. We gotta go.

- No, no, I don't wanna go.
- Yes, you do.

We gotta go.

I've just been having a very interesting
conversation with these lovely ladies.

- Come sit, have a drink, have a drink.
- WOMAN: It's true.

DICK: No, you can't jazz anything up.
You have to be historically accurate.

I need to find a great book.
The one book...

- Tommy, two. Two more doubles.
- TOM: Yeah, sure.

His two main preoccupations...
Am I right?

Were war and sodomy.


Now, this is my problem.
It's a hazardous business, sodomy.

- Yes, this is what I hear.
- "What you hear..."


It's what you hear.

(IMITA TIN G HUGHES) That's the way.

When your rival is powerful,
find an opportunity.

Create a crisis for him.

But instead of taking
short term advantage,

save the day for him.




What happened last night?

I smell...

I smell...


Oh, no.

Oh, God. No, I didn't...

Oh, I didn't.

I did, didn't I?

It's all right.

Dick, listen to me.

It was a mistake.

It was a mistake.

She's wanted security for a long time,
hasn't she?

- Yes.
- Yes, she has.

Well, you can give her that now.
I promise you, I will make this work.

I will make this work. I promise.

I intertwined our technologies.

I ate that company

from within.

And they let me
because they were hypnotized.


The Mayor of New York planned this
parade through his voting precinct...

... and Owen Brewster was
a thieving, lying jackal.

If you've got a jackal after you...

I flew around the world in 1938,

for the only decent reason
a young man does anything.

Because he feels like it.

They set a meeting for Mr. Octavio
and he's gonna show up here.

This is perhaps the most bizarre
communiqué I have ever received.

And I need your help
in implementing its requirements.

At 1:00 p.m. Tomorrow,
the top four floors of this building

are to be evacuated.

All the carpeting on the 14th floor
is to be removed.

Floors are to be washed and waxed.

All the windows are to be covered
with black material,

a kind which does not accumulate dust.

Does that apply to my windows also,
Mr. Irving?

Yeah. I'd go ahead
and cover them up, Harold.

I think it's the best thing. Play it safe.

HAROLD: This is sensitive material.

I'm still deciding whether or not
to put this in the book, but...

I think you should put it
somewhere safe.

- Of course, Cliff.
- Okay.

All right, then...

Here's our manuscript.

Hope you like it.

Hope to God I do, too.

All right, I'll bring down Howard
as soon as he gets here.

All right.

All right, check the western...

Make sure that the diameter
is exactly right.

It's okay?

- Yeah, don't worry about me.
- You're doing good.

ANDREA: Yes, on the spot. Correct.
You see and...

MAN: He doesn't like fumes.

We might not wanna
let this fly off the building.

- What do you think?
- Give me that.

- Did you copy this, by hand?
- Yes.

- From the original.
- Cliff!

- No photocopy, right?
- No!

I kept...
I am fully aware of the restrictions, Cliff.

- All right?
- Brad?

- I did it by hand.
- Okay, I'm sorry.

Why do I always want to strangle Brad?
Every time.

Is that him?

MAN ON RADIO: Do you see it?

- That's him! He's here!
- Oh, my God!

He's landing! Clear the roof!

- BRAD: Get your things. Go! Come on!
- Quickly.

ANDREA: Where's he going?
CLIFFORD: I don't know.

Oh, no. This is not happening.

Can we head back?


He was 50 feet
from the fucking building.

All right? My diagram is fine.
It's not outside of...

- Andrea, do you have the original?
- Yes.

It's not outside the scope
of my capabilities, diagramming

- a simple copy of what he wrote.
- We'll find out.

- I can do that.
- You switched east and west. Why?

Why did you do... Look!

No, I wrote
what was on the damn page.

No, you didn't.
Look, he's an eccentric genius.

He likes things the way he wants them.
Why did you change it?

A three-year-old wouldn't have
fucked that up.

- Doesn't know east from west.
- Pray that you die, you sniveling twat.

I swear to Christ,
I wrote what was on his page.

Right the same. Exactly the same.

Your book is genuine.

There's no way your material

could have come from anyone
but Howard Hughes.

The colloquialisms,
the idiosyncratic philosophies.

Heck, you have got
a near-perfect account

of a conversation I had with Howard

that I didn't tell
another living soul about.

- Really?
- It's typical Howard Hughes.

- You write it, then deny it.
- It was so... I was having such... Yeah.

He really put you on one hell of a limb,
didn't he, Cliff?

It wasn't easy. No, it wasn't.
But I've had a lot of help.

- It's a masterpiece, Cliff.
- Really?

A masterpiece.

- You liked it?
- I loved it.

Oh, yes! Yes!



REPORTER: Davis is threatening
civil action if the book is published.

Why is he fighting so hard
if the book is authentic?


I wouldn't be surprised
if they got surveillance devices

all over my home, right now,
this second.

REPORTER: The controversy over the
Clifford Irving book on Howard Hughes

is apparently of little concern to those

who stand to profit
from high sales of that book.

If you ask my advice,
the election of George Bush

as United States Senator
will be good for Texas.

I know it will be good for America.

But in any event, he pulled out a bag,

reached in and he pulled out a prune,

and he looked at Dick and offered it
and said, "Would you like a prune?"

And Dick took the prune,
tasted it and he said,

"That's an organic prune."

When this book comes out,

all the naysayers will be amazed
at the wealth,

the depth, the quality, of the material
that's been given to us.

You are so royally full of shit.

I mean, I feel very humble
in this situation of being a conduit,

for this kind of revelation
that is not just about this man,

but about our age
and who we are as a people.


- Hello?
- EDITH: Clifford, I have the money.

I am safe now.

- Edith, where are you?
- I'm at the airport.

But they're watching.
Someone is watching me,

and following me and...

Edith? Edith!



Where's Howard?

You know, Clifford, I have worked
in various capacities for Mr. Hughes

for 19 years now,

and never once have I referred to him
by his first name.

You don't seem to abide
such formalities.

He and I wrote a book together.

Assume for a moment
that I know you didn't,

and that it's not
the topic of the evening.

What is?

The world Mr. Hughes has created
is vast, Clifford.

It covers many industries
and many endeavors.

There are fiefdoms and factions,

traitors and minor rebellions.

You see, Clifford, the men Mr. Hughes
uses as his instruments in the world

are often themselves
the makers of history.

You mean Nixon?

Mr. Hughes wants to know
if you included the information

sent to you in the galleys of your book.

Howard wants to bury Nixon,
doesn't he?

Because his dog
isn't doing tricks anymore,

on TWA, on the Airwest merger,
on anything.

I'm not arrogant enough to speculate
on Mr. Hughes' motives, Clifford.

We just want an answer
to the question.

I'll just say this.

Nothing stops this book
from being published

exactly the way I wrote it.

He wants my help?

He has to speak to me directly.

Are you dictating terms
to Howard Hughes?

I'm the messenger for Howard Hughes.

Why such a burning commitment
to a man you don't know?

But I do know him.

And I deserve to see him.

Presidents have said the same thing
to me, Clifford.

I will tell you what I told them.

It's not a matter of
getting through a door, Clifford.

There is no door to get through.

Lf, though, Clifford, if there were a door,

you would now be hearing
the sound of it closing.




Mr. Hughes wants that information
in the book, Clifford.

I knew it.

So, I put the dirt in, Howard will
let the book go forward, right?

That's the deal.

Do I have any assurances?

Take it on faith, Clifford.



ANDREA: There is a perfect logic to it,
as everything Hughes does has.

It makes sense
that he would choose Cliff

and not someone like Mailer
because then it would be Mailer's book.

- Thank you.
- Thanks.

There are claims from some corners

that Mr. Irving has concocted this book
from whole cloth.

Well, for those of us who have read it,

we know that only a Shakespeare
could have accomplished such a feat,

and while Mr. Irving is a fine man,
he is no Shakespeare.


Ladies and gentlemen,
Mr. Clifford Irving.

Thank you, thank you.

CLIFFORD: We could change the world
with this, Harold.

I want this chapter in the book.

Cliff, we will be sued for libel
by the President.


- You'll win. You will win. I promise you.
- Excuse me. Yes?

To put this out unsubstantiated
is at best unwise,

and at worst unethical.

Wait, wait.

Could you give me
a moment, Cliff, please?

- Yeah, sure.
- Thank you.

Ralph, if the President took
cash bribes, then we have every...


WOMAN: Harold, I'm sorry to interrupt,

but the Zurich District Attorney's office
is on the line.

HAROLD: Hang on, Ralph. I'll take it.
Yes, this is Harold McGraw.

WOMAN: Something to do with
a Swiss bank account.

ANDREA: Who told you that?
Where did you hear that?

REPORTER: This latest puzzle in the
case involves a Swiss bank in Zurich

where the checks were cashed
by H.R. Hughes.

That H.R. Hughes was
a mysterious lady

named Helga R. Hughes.

The police are looking for her,

and the normally silent Swiss bankers
are talking about the case.

Mr. Irving, who cashed the checks, sir?

Who opened up
the Swiss bank account?

The account holder in Switzerland
is a woman named Helga Hughes.

They suspect
she forged the endorsements.

This has become sleazy
and demeaning.

- I'm a publisher, Shelton.
- You're an employee, Harold.

I don't care what your name is.

We paid for a book
and we're going to publish it.

Just roll the goddamn presses.


Why are you calling us about this?

I'm doing this, sir, because I felt
the President deserved a warning.

- Anybody else have this information?
- No, of course not.

- Absolutely nobody?
- Absolutely no one.

Where's the book now?

You should receive it by messenger
this afternoon.


Thank God.
Honey, you okay? Are you all right?

- Let me help you with this...
- I am not staying!

MAN 1: What's in the book?
MAN 2: Everything.

Hughes' loans to the President.
The real amounts of the loans.

The shit about Bebe in Florida.

And you're saying
the President thinks this is authentic?

- How else could they know?
- We've got to talk to this guy, Fisher.

He's gotta kill the book.

Hughes is just using it
to get to the chief.

In fact, the President hit the roof
this morning.

He's terrified the book's been leaked
to the Democratic National Committee.


He thinks they're sipping tea at the
Watergate Hotel reading it, right now.

All right, I'll call Hunt
and have him send his guys in

to see if the DNC has a copy yet.

And prepare something
for the President, if this breaks early,

if he has to address the nation.

To say what?

Checkers had puppies.
How the fuck should I know?

I was on the plane
and I was thinking for a long time.

I was thinking about all of your lies
from before.

I guess, maybe, I am not beautiful

- or very sexual enough for you...
- No, honey, no. It's not true.

You have made me feel that.

So, I'm leaving.

And I'm giving back all of the money,
all of the book money.

Look, you've worked so hard on us,
on the book...

Punish me, but don't punish yourself.

You're always so careful when you talk,
always so

soft like a cushion for what you want.

But I am leaving.

But before I go, I give you something.

You are exhausted from your lies.

So tell the truth.

Tell me the truth about
what you did with her this time.

It is your moment to be clean.

I saw her.


Last month.

It was in town, down in the Village.


We were talking about the past, and I...

I was tempted.

I was tempted enough that I...

I went with her,

back to her apartment,

and I kissed her.


And something happened. I...

Something physically...
I just recoiled and...

I couldn't go through with it.
I couldn't do it.

I just left her standing there
and I ran down the stairs.

I know you're making
a really big decision.

I know. I understand that.


I just want you to know, that's the truth.
That's the truth.


I hate you.

And I love you.

I hate you.

I think I'm coming down
with something.


Human relationships are impossible.

Especially with females, Clifford.

We try, of course, to police ourselves,
so that they might be happy,

believing that their happiness
might become our own.

We're intertwined now, son,
and I'm glad.

It's for the best.


You're broke?

Why don't you ask your friend
for another birthday present?


2,400 of our boys...

Twelve years.

Twelve years I have been doing
free research for you.

I cover up all your sleazy affairs. Why?

Because I thought
it was an investment,

I thought there was someone in there.
Jesus Christ!


You paid her. You paid that hooker.

I could lose my wife, Cliff.

Always the Cassandra,
always bad news.

Cliff, I'm not like you. I confessed.

- You need your freedom, Dick.
- What's that? Your opinion?

You ruin my life
because of your fucking opinion?

I wanted this for you more than for me.
The whole thing. I always did.

And we did it, Dick.
Damn it, we did it. Look at this.


And look at that.

- I don't care about that.
- It's yours. Take it.

- I don't care about that.
- It's all yours. Take it. It's yours.

- I don't care about that.
- It's all yours. Take it. It's yours.

What's going on here?


(WHISPERING ) Intertel.

Intertel, sons of bitches.

Motherfuck. They came in.
They broke into my house last night.

They were here. They abducted me.

They took me in a car,
and they flew me to Nassau.

And there, they threatened me.

They beat me up
and they chucked me out of a window.

I said, "No, this book goes...
Our book goes forward.

"Nothing is gonna stop it."
I was firm. Assurances were made.

"This Howard Hughes will not
be interfered with."

- This Howard Hughes?
- This Howard Hughes...

Cliff, Clifford Irving.

Intertel kidnapped you
and flew you to Nassau?

Yes! CIA, ex-CIA henchmen!
Martial arts! You were absolutely right.

I was here last night, Cliff.

I came here for lessons on
how to lie to my wife,

you being an expert in that field.

Jesus Christ, I was outside
that fucking window.

I saw you in here.

You were sitting on the floor,
drunk out of your head.

You don't believe me.

You, of all people.

Take your fucking money.
Take your money.

- Take your money!
- Oh, fuck you!

Take your fucking money,
all the fucking percentage you got!

Fuck you!

- Fuck you!
- Get out, go!

Take your fucking money
and get out of here!

Don't throw money at me.

You stay away from me,
you son of a fucking... Stay away!

No one flew you to Nassau, Cliff.

You're not that important.


One moment, please.

- Sir?
- MAN: Yes.

Chester Davis,
Howard Hughes' attorney on Line 1.

MAN: Okay. You're sure?

What time will it be on?

I can't thank you enough, Chester.

The President owes you one.

Of course, I have massive files

of photographs
and other recorded material

tracing my life from an early age.

I have volumes and volumes
and rooms full of...

Mr. Hughes, did you cooperate,
or do you know...

MAN: Congratulations, again.
CLIFFORD: Thank you.

- Wonderful evening.
- Thank you. Thank you very much.

I want to know why the hell
we weren't warned about this.

Why weren't we warned? Clara!

HUGHES: I have volumes and volumes
and rooms full of...

Mr. Hughes, did you cooperate,
or do you know

a man named Irving,

who claims to have taped
this biography with you?

Well, this must go down in history.

I only wish I were still
in the movie business

because I don't remember
any scripts as wild

or as stretching of the imagination
as this yarn has turned out to be.

I take it, sir, you do not know a man
named Clifford Irving, then?

HUGHES: No, I never saw him.
I never even heard of him

until a matter of days ago when
this thing first came to my attention.

It is so fantastic

and so utterly beyond the bounds
of anyone's imagination...


I mean, it seems to me
the motive for Irving could be money.

But McGraw-Hill and Time Life
don't have to deal in fake manuscripts.

They surely have a business that
operates at a higher plane than that.

There's gotta be a bank record
somewhere of this transaction.

So, I just don't have any idea.

MAN: There have been reports
that you have had dealings with...

He just lied.

... President Nixon's friend
Bebe Rebozo,

and also dealings with
the President himself.

Do you care to comment
on those reports?

A warrant was issued today

for the arrest of
Clifford Irving's wife, Edith.

She is charged with fraud and forgery.

She deposited in a Swiss bank
money intended for Howard Hughes,

whose autobiography
her husband says he wrote.

No, no, no, no!


Martin Ackerman,
attorney for Clifford Irving,

who claims that he compiled the book,

reaffirms his conviction
that it is authentic.

Ackerman issued that statement

after a story
in this morning's New York Times,

a story reportedly saying
Irving may have been duped.



- Edith?

Is it safe to say
this was an intimate relationship?

Yes, the relationship was physical.

And you can confirm that Mr. Irving,
in fact, did not meet with Mr. Hughes

on the date in question?

He could not have met
Howard Hughes in Nassau

because he was with me
at The Plaza Hotel.

Well, did he confide in you
regarding the book?

No. I knew nothing about it.

I'm completely flabbergasted
by all of this attention and...

What exactly do you do,
Miss Van Pallandt?

I'm an actress,

and a singer.


Always the details that undo us.

Always the details that undo us.

Can I run something by you, George?

Certainly, Clifford.
That's what I'm here for.

This was a really bad year for Howard,
wasn't it?

The TWA thing,
the Airwest merger unraveling.

He lost control of Nixon,
his fixer, too, didn't he?

He needed something.
He needed some leverage

to keep him back in line.

REPORTER: A loss could cost Hughes
$ 137 million...

So one day he opens his
disinfected newspaper,

and there we are,

us, with our little book.

When your rival is powerful,

find an opportunity.

Create a crisis for him.

Hardly had to do anything.
Just a little push.

Then he fed us some dirt.

The shit about Bebe and...

CLIFFORD: Just to get Nixon's
attention, a little more dirt.

The President thinks this is authentic?

How else could they know?

Nixon gets hysterical.
He thinks the book is real.

But instead of taking
short-term advantage,

save the day for him.

And then Howard makes it good
for the President,

cashes in his chip,

and we get buried.

I take it, sir, you do not know a man
named Clifford Irving, then?

HUGHES: No, I never saw him.
I never even heard of him until...

I'm not angry, George.

I'm disappointed.

You know, I thought that maybe...

I thought we were partners,
Howard and I.

Well, you mustn't
take it personally, Clifford.

Just as the trees
mustn't take it personally

when a forest is razed for lumber.

They're part of a grand design.

I played it good for a while,
though, didn't I?

You were tremendous, Clifford.
Mr. Hughes commented on that.


Would I lie to you?

Howard Hughes has spoken publicly.

And he has told us
that we may hear more from him soon.

All right, thank you. Thank you.

Good night, from NBC News.




Sir, do you have any comment?

I'll cooperate
in exchange for leniency for Dick,

and especially for Edith.

Mr. Irving received a sentence of
two and a half years' imprisonment,

Mr. Suskind, six months' imprisonment.

In addition, they will pay
full restitution to McGraw-Hill

and the Internal Revenue Service,
totaling $ 1.3 million.

Mrs. Irving received
a suspended sentence,

but we have no control over what
the Swiss authorities decide to do.

MAN: Are you happy with the outcome,
Mr. Newman?

I'm not sure you're ever ecstatic
when a bargain is reached but...

REPORTER: In a surprise reversal,
the Nixon Justice Department today

approved the acquisition of Airwest
airlines by Howard Hughes' Tool Co.

This on the heels of
last week's Supreme Court decision

to dismiss the TWA
shareholders' lawsuit,

rescuing Mr. Hughes
from paying $ 137 million

made it a very good week
for the eccentric billionaire.

In other news today,
five men were arrested

breaking into the Democratic National
Committee headquarters

located in the Watergate Hotel.

Yeah, that's them.
Don't choke on the dust.


Special thanks to SergeiK.