It was clear from an early John Logan draft of The Aviator, subsequently shot by director Martin Scorsese and the film now awaiting a Warner Bros. release on 12.17, that the resounding love affair in the piece isn’t between Howard Hughes and a woman (Cate Blanchett’s Katharine Hepburn, Kate Beckinsdale’s Ava Gardner, et. al.) but between Hughes and his flying machines. The longish film (a recent cut ran around 165 minutes) is also, apparently, buoyantly free of glumness or heavy-osity. “I know enough about it to say it is escapism, certainly for Scorsese,” says industry tipster Pete Hammond. “That doesn’t mean it’s comedy, but it doesn’t have the heavier feel of some of his other stuff. It’s all about Hollywood, aviation and the larger-than-life persona of the young Howard Hughes.” A publicist who’s seen the film told Hammond late last week this was a good way to describe the film, agreeing it’s “just good entertainment.” Blanchett is said to be quite robust as Hepburn, but wouldn’t that be a hard one to miss?