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August 14 2010 at 10:47 PM
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Response to SO off topic! But... eh!

tend to be somewhat like off line conversations. They can begin to meander off into different directions and even spawn entirely new topics. Sometimes the meanderings are actually MORE interesting than the original topic!

Anyway, there is a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio called Aviator which is a biography of Howard Hughes. The movie begins with his attempt in the '20's to make the film Hell's Angels and shows what he had to go through to make the, up to that time, most realistic WWI aerial combat movie ever made. The production was plagued by constant delays and cost overruns. For example, the original film was silent, but, when Hughes found out they had just invented "talkies", he insisted on reshooting everything with the new sound film system!

When he viewed the original footage showing the planes engaging in "dogfights", he immediately noticed that they looked like TOY airplanes instead of the actual ones he used because there were no clouds in the sky during the filming! Unfortunately, he was filming in a part of California that only VERY rarely got any rain. So he hired his own meteorologist whose sole job was to tell him whenever clouds showed up so he could begin filming dogfight scenes. He also built his own AIRPORT in the area with dozens of planes ready to take off at a moment's notice whenever clouds showed up. It was actually the BIGGEST airport in the United States at the time!

Finally, the movie was done years behind schedule and at a cost of, IIRC, $10 MILLION dollars. This was a staggering amount considering that films in the early '30's only cost, AT MOST, perhaps about $80,000 USD.

Nowadays practically no one has seen this awesome film or even heard of it. Critics tended to find fault with the acting in the film and ignored the painstaking technical detail that went into its making. One of Hughes' goals in making the film was to make the viewer actually feel like he was sitting in the cockpit of a WWI plane during an actual dogfight.

I've always like the image that Hughes projected, but, of course, being a BILLIONAIRE, he could afford to do so. He bedded practically every major starlet in Hollywood at the beginning of her career, was a successful film director, aviator, industrialist, and was even involved with secret military projects for the US government.

But, of course, anyone as impressive as this would have to have a "fatal flaw". His took the form of OCD or "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder" which caused him to have an extreme phobia about being contaminated with germs and developing a fatal infection. Apparently, his over protective mother was responsible for this during his childhood. Toward the end of his life, this untreated anxiety problem would result in him dying from a lack of proper medical care.


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