ECCENTRICS / Rashomon, Starring Howard Hughes

THE tale was Rashomon in a James Bondian world, an intricate fantasy of scramblers on telephones and double identities, of 5 a.m. rendezvous in wigs and false beards, of exotic island fastnesses that pulse with secret electronics and the glint of fortunes in transit. Its protagonist could only be Howard Hughes, 67, the archetypal, anchoritic billionaire brooding over one of the world's great pools of wealth. He has always been an elusive, somehow haunted presence, sending out his commands from a bewildering entombment in desert or tropical hotels. Obsessively shy, devoted to intrigue, suspicious almost to the point of paranoia, Hughes...

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