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The Passions of Howard Hughes (2004)

Howard was business, but not all business... The Passions of Howard Hughes is a fascinating look at how power, possessions and personality created a lifetime of passionate affairs with the most desirable women in the world.


Mark McLaughlin


Mark McLaughlin




Credited cast:
Bill Alexander Bill Alexander ... Himself
Phyllis Applegate ... Herself
Gail Ganley Gail Ganley ... Herself (as Gail Steele)
Randy Gitsch Randy Gitsch ... Himself
Eve Golden Eve Golden ... Herself
Melvyn Haber Melvyn Haber ... Himself
Ethel Strebe Harutun Ethel Strebe Harutun ... Herself
Betty Lynn ... Herself
Terry Moore ... Herself
Jack Real Jack Real ... Himself
Jane Russell ... Herself
Wallace Seawell Wallace Seawell ... Himself
Mamie Van Doren ... Herself
Robert Wagner ... Himself


Howard was business, but not all business... The Passions of Howard Hughes is a fascinating look at how power, possessions and personality created a lifetime of passionate affairs with the most desirable women in the world.

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Release Date:

7 October 2004 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

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User Reviews

Sundry Amorous Adventures Of A Roaming Howard Hughes, A Believer Of "The More, The Merrier".
19 March 2009 | by rsoonsaSee all my reviews

This is an engrossing documentary centred upon the private and extremely romantic life of a true twentieth-century original, Howard Hughes, generally narrated by his legally sanctioned widow, actress Terry Moore. It has a light-hearted tone, a never less than fascinating survey of an intensely active satyr, whom the daring aviator, and motion picture producer, became during his prime, although he later collapsed into madness and imprisonment to drug dependency. Moore has published a fairly successful book with the same title as this effort, and also compiled an audio recording of the volume's high spots, a segment of which is offered during a movie that must be rated as a gossipy work for the most part, while yet generally free of the very prurient nature of the original publication that is, in the main, a report upon the sexual diversions of Hughes. The film is dexterously edited, with snippets from motion picture episodes that feature actresses with whom he enjoyed dalliances, in such a manner as to verbally exemplify a characteristic from each relationship. This blithe approach to his numerous conquests is made particularly effective because of its linear narrative of his biography, with his many paramours weaved chronologically therein, as he turned Hollywood and its denizens upside down due to his flamboyant style of living and loving. Hughes was responsible for the development of numerous actresses of wide-ranging skills, such as Jean Harlow, Jane Russell, Mamie Van Doren, Faith Domergue and Jean Peters, each interviewed here but for Harlow and Domergue, and he had romantic liaisons with, among many others, Billie Dove (his initial actress prize), Lilian Bond, Marian Marsh, Katherine Hepburn (reportedly affianced to Hughes), Ginger Rogers (represented here through an audio recording only), Bette Davis, Linda Darnell, Olivia de Havilland (and her sister Joan Fontaine), Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, Jane Greer, Marilyn Monroe (apocryphal), Ava Gardner, and on and on, in a virtual blur of erotic exertion that he somehow managed to implement amidst his less carnal activities. These latter include his function as a test pilot for his own aircraft company, visionary designing for his production machines, and enormous responsibilities as sole owner and principal decision-maker of RKO Pictures, through the resources of which he produced numerous very popular movies. This documentary, however, concentrates upon his romping about with a raft of actresses, a pattern of behaviour that he managed to maintain for the best part of three decades, with whomever stimulated his voluptuary nature. In spite of its somewhat sensationalist tenor, this piece is quite well done, and will please many movie lovers as it includes a great deal of interesting film footage and still shots of Hollywood as it happened to be during those years during which Hughes was engaged in producing there. Additional insightful interviews, other than those mentioned, are to be enjoyed with such as actor Robert Wagner, documentarian and RKO archivist Randy Gitsch, actresses Jane Greer, Betty Lynn, Phyllis Applegate, and Gail Steele, photographer of Hollywood personalities Wallace Seawell, and biographer Eve Gordon, whose studies of actresses, including one of Harlow, are popular. This film is released on a Passport Video DVD that provides top-notch visual and audio quality, with extras including full-length trailers for six Hughes productions: ANGEL FACE (Jean Simmons/Robert Mitchum/Herbert Marshall); THE CONQUEROR (John Wayne/Susan Hayward); HIS KIND OF WOMAN (Mitchum/Jane Russell/Vincent Price); JET PILOT (Wayne/Janet Leigh); LAS VEGAS STORY (Russell/Victor Mature); SON OF SINBAD (Dale Robertson/Sally Forrest). Included also is a newsreel of the record-setting 1938 around-the-globe flight made by Hughes and a four man crew, completed in three days and 19 hours, paring over four days from the prior record established by the legendary Wiley Post in 1933.

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