Howard Hughes on the set of
Intrigued by the aerial combat scenes in The Aviator, Martin Scorsese's biopic about the early film career of Howard Hughes? Wondering how Leonardo DiCaprio stacks up again the real millionaire filmmaker-playboy-airline executive? Then check out the Wisconsin Historical Society's gallery of production and publicity stills from Hell's Angels, the making of which is featured in The Aviator.
The stills are from the records of the United Artists company, the releasing company for Hell's Angels in 1930. Today, the UA records are owned by the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theatre Research (WCFTR) and housed in the Wisconsin Historical Society archives. WCFTR archivist Dorinda Hartmann tells us that The Aviators' production crew purchased copies of all Hell's Angels stills in the Center's files, and that she noticed several scenes that were close representations of those stills. Given the importance Hughes placed on historical authenticity during filming of Hell's Angels, this Scorcese touch is one that Hughes would have appreciated. In addition to the combat scenes, the gallery includes Jean Harlow, the 18-year-old starlet whom Hughes discovered for Hell's Angel's and scenes from Sky Devils, a later Hughes comedy starring Spencer Tracy that reused many of the Hell's Angels planes.