(As producer unless otherwise indicated)
1926 - Swell Hogan - Directed by and starring Ralph Graves.It was so bad,it was never released.
1926- Everybody's Acting - Written and directed by Marshal Neilan, this comedy about 5 actors who adopt a baby girl was a surprise hit,helping to pave Hughes's way in Hollywood.
1927- Two Arabian Knights- Two World War I doughboys break out of a German prison camp and wind up in an Arabian Harem. Director Lewis Milestone received an Academy Award as best director of a comedy.
1928 - The Racket - Underworld drama directed by Lewis Milestone, it was critically acclaimed forerunner to Scarface.Remade by hughes at RKO in the fifties.
1928 - The Mating Call - Based on a popular novel of the day, about a marriage of convenience that leads to love.
1930- Hell's Angels (produced and directed by Hughes.)-Hughes was just 25 when he directed this saga of 2 brothers in the Royal Air Force (James Hall and Ben Lyon) who face uncertainty in the skies and vie for the same woman-Jean Harlow, a Hughes discovery. The aerial sequences remain unsurpassed;
1931- The Age of Love - A "modern picture based on the day's most common problem-should the young wife work?" A vehicle for beautiful Billie Dove, the former Ziegfeld showgirl turned silent-movie queen who became Hughes's paramour and contract player.
1931- Cock of the Air - Billie Dove plays a French tempress in love with a handsome American aviator.
1931- The Front Page - Pat O'Brien became a star, opposite Adolph Menjou, in this saga of Chicago newspapermen, faithrully adapted from the hit play by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur.
1931- Sky Devils - Leftover Hell's Angels footage went into this slapstick service comedy starring a young Spencer Tracy.
1932- Scarface - Paul Muni shot his way to fame as a vicious, manic gangster who, per Variety, is so tough he could "make Capone his errand boy". George Raft likewise found stardom. Directed by Howard Hawks, written by Ben Hecht, loosely based on the saga of Al Capone. Hughes battled censors for 2 years to get the picture released. It remains on of the era's great films.
1943 - The Outlaw (produced and directed by Hughes). The notorious Western starring hughes's most famous discovery, Jane Russel, and Jack Beutel as billy the kid. When Howard Hawks tired of his interference, Hughes took over as direcor.With its emphasis on cleavage and sexuality, the moveie riled the censores for a decade. (For one scene, Hughes redesigned Russell's brassiere).
1947- Sins of Harold Diddlebock-Silent comedian Harold Lloyd came out of retirement to reprise his madcap character. Written and directed by Preston Sturges, with who Hughes was briefly teamed in a production company. Reissued during Hughes's RKO epoch as Mad Wednesday.
Hughes acquired control of RKO Pictures in May, 1948.During his reign, he became the only man to solely own a film studio, which he finally sold in July, 1955. Among the RKO titles that bear Hughes's signature are as follows:
1949- The Big Steal- Crime caper with Robert Mitchum (just after his marijuana bust), Hughes's favorite actor and good friend,Jane Greer, on whome Hughes was fixated.
1950-Outrage - Ida Lupino ( a teenager when she dated Hughes in the 30s) became a pioneering femaile director with this then-daring drama of a young rape victim (Hughes contract player Mala Powers) trying to start life anew.
1950- Vendetta- Long in production (shooting began in 1946), this film traveresed 3 different directors and cost more than $ 3 million. Produced by Hughes, this period saga stars his girlfriend Faith Domergue and contract actor George Dolenz (whose career was stalled under Hughes), in a story of Corsican honor and revenge.
1950- Where Danger Lives - Hughes' lover Faith Domergue as a psychopath who dupes Robert Mitchum.
1951- Best of the Bad Men- After 10 years under contract, Jack Beutel (The Outlaw) gets a second film.(A year later he starred in RKO's The half-Breed).
1951- Double Dymamite- The title regers to Jane Russel's endowments.Implausible comedy about bank clerks Russel and Frank Sinatra,who get romantic tips from ....Groucho Marx.
1951- Flying Leathernecks- The first of 3 RKO Hughes titles starring friend and fellow patriot John Wayne, about war in the South Pacific.Bears the credit, "Howard Hughes Presents."
1951- Gambling House - Hughes ordered the filmmakers to case "the beautifully stacked" Terry Moore, his girlfriend, as social worker who reforms touch guy Victor Mature.
1951- Hard, Fast and Beautiful- Ida Lupino directs Sally Forrest, who plays a young tennis champion. "When Howard heard I didn't know how to play tennis, he wanted me to take lessons in his house-at night," recalls Forrest. She turned him down-and eventually bailed on her contract with Hughes.
1951- His Kind of Woman- "Howard Hughes Presents" Jane Russel and Robert Mitchum in a romantic adventure set at a Mexican resort.
1951- My Forbidden Past- Ava Gardner, with whom Hughes had a lengthy relationship, opposite Robert Mitchum, in a period drama set in 19th century New Orleans.
1951- Road Block- Joan Dixon, former beauty queen discovered by Hughes, as a femme fatale.
1951- Two Tickets to Broadway- Musical starring Janet Leigh and Tony Martin; it was in production so long that Martin worried his fans might forget who he was.
1951- The Whip Hand- When Hughes began fighting Hollywood communists, he reedited this drama: a plot about Hitler and Nazi criminals was turned into a story of communists and germ warfare.Staring Carla Balenda (real name Sally Bliss), a Hughes contract player, who recalls, "It was a good little picture, until Howard got involved."
1952- The Las Vegas Story- More of Jane Russel, this time teamed with Victor Mature.
1952- Macao- Jane Russel, reunited with Robert Mitchum. Film triggered Hughes's four-page memo regarding Russel's breasts and the design of her brassiere.
1952- One Minute to Zero- The U.S. Army cooperated with the making of this movie but retaliated during its release due to a scene which Robert Mitchum as a coronel, orders artillery fire on South Korean refugees because he believes North Koreans are among them.With Ann Blyth as United Nations worker who falls for Mitchum.
1952- Androcles and the Lion- Jean Simmons, who "awoke one morning to find I had been bought by Howard Hughes" (who bought her contract from Britain's Rank Organization), made her American film debut in this sand and toga talke, playing Christian opposite Roman soldier Victor Mature. To spice up the story, Hughes had a "Vestal Virgins" sequence added, after production had wrapped.But the scene was ultimately scrapped.
1953- Angel Face- Psychological drama starring Jean Simmons.To spite Hughes, Simmons took scissors to her hair during preproduction, thus her very chic short haircut. Costarring Robert Mitch; directed by Otto Preminger, one of Hollywood's most fearsome directors.
1954- The French Line-Shipboard silliness with Jane Russel- in 3-D- as Texas oil gal who wears lots of barely-there costumes. Censors were not amused.
1954- Susan Slept Here- Comedy with Dick Powell as a middle-aged screenwriter who falls in love with runaway teenager Debbie Reynolds. Hughes so admired Reynods that he insisted she be hired to perform at his Las Vegas hotels.
1955- Son of Sindbad - Arabian Nights tale starring bemused-looking Dale Robertson and Vincent Price, and 40 gorgeous, well-endowed women as the 40 thieves. To promote the movie, the Sinbadettes toured the country.
1955- Underwarter- Another Jane Russel entry, this time involving sunken treasure. More exciting than the movie was the press premiere, actually held underwater.
1955 - The Conqueror- A miscast John Wayne as Genghis Khan, and former Hughes lover Susan Hayward as the Tartar beauty he wants. ("This Tartar woman is for me and my blood says take her!"). A "Howard Hughes Presentation" that had the critics howling. Hughes liked it so much he bought the movie outright.
1957- The Jet Pilot. Hughes's biggest RKO failure, it was in production so long that by the time of its release, the aviation sequences looked dated-and Hughes was no longer in control of RKO. With John Wayne as the all-American airman in love with Soviet pilot Janet Leigh. "A Howard Hughes Presentation".
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