I’ve just seen for the very first time, via the new Universal Home Video DVD, Howard Hughes’ Hells Angels (1930). Despite some creaky elements here and there, it really isn’t half bad. It has half-decent dialogue, characters you can grab hold of and relate to (or at least understand where they’re coming from), a pair of aerial action sequences that kick serious ass, and a tough-hearted finale. The realism in the third-act dogfight sequence is inescapably thrilling and is obviously well-shot and well-cut, deploying a swarm of World War I biplanes. Hughes, the director and producer, took three years and spent close to $4 million bucks to make this thing, and saw three stunt pilots get killed during the dogfight shooting. And honestly? I enjoyed it more than sitting through Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, a mostly laborious biopic about Hughes that Gold Derby.com’s Tom O’Neill is predicting will be showered with Oscar glory…right! If you plan on seeing The Aviator, make sure you catch the Hells Angels DVD also. You can sense more fully who Hughes really was from this 74 year-old film (especially his love of flying and his admiration of costar Jean Harlow’s sexual charms) than you can from Scorsese’s work, I swear. And you don’t have to think about piss in milk bottles.