Howard Hughes: The Real Aviator

Howard Hughes: The Real Aviator (2002)
Shout! Factory
Extras: Featurettes, Trailers, Interviews, Photo Gallery

The world has seen many visionaries but in recent history, few only have been as influential as Howard Hughes. His influence is as far reaching as the airplanes you see in the skies to movies, Las Vegas casinos and small little convenience gadgets. At an early age, Howard Hughes was heading a huge tool company that he inherited from his father at the age of 19. From there on his entire life revolved only about allowing him to do the things he wanted to do. An entrepreneur in every sense of the word, Hughes never waited for opportunities to present themselves, but instead made them happen for himself, oftentimes using nothing but his sheer wealth and grand ideas.

’Howard Hughes: The Real Aviator’ is a documentary that focuses mainly on Hughes’ interest and work in the field of aviation. From his earliest childhood day, Hughes had been obsessed with flying and it never stopped until the day he died. Using family photographs and original footage, the documentary manages to paint a vivid picture of the genius that was Howard Hughes – with all its implications. It is nicely paced and put together, making for a great viewing that is never dry or boring.

Shout! Factor is presenting the film in its original fullframe aspect ratio on this DVD and the transfer is without flaws. Of course, the vintage footage found in the documentary shows signs of wear and tear, but that’s not a technical problem of the DVD but instead a technical limitation of the original material. Overall the presentation is surprisingly clean and clear with a sharpness and level of detail I did not expect. Color reproduction is good, where applicable, and just as the video, the audio presentation of the release is of surprisingly high quality.

Apart from the actual documentary, the DVD also contains a number of great extras, such as trailer to some of the most famous movies he produced.
During the late 40s, Howard Hughes also faced government charges in a Senate hearing in front of the War Investigation Committee, and footage from this hearing is also part of this release, as we hear and see him make his points, concisely and with quite some vehemence.
Promo footage of the Flying Boat, the giant airplane that Hughes built, and footage of him taking it out on a test flight himself can also be viewed on the DVD.
Also included is footage on the Constellation, another one of Hughes’ airplanes designs that changed aviation forever, as well as a selection of other clips and featurettes.
Extended interviews with participants in the documentary have also been added to the DVD as well as an extensive photo gallery.

’Howard Hughes: The Real Aviator’ is a great film and it has been turned into a great DVD with wonderfully rich supplements. The quality of the DVD is top notch, so everyone interested in Hughes’ impact on aviation, his work, his setbacks, his vision and his life should give this DVD a spin. One just can’t help but be utterly impressed by the genius that was Howard Hughes.