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Despite Scorsese's efforts, his movie was criticized for not showing Hughes long physical and mental decline. In later life, he became a recluse in Las Vegas and lived in appalling conditions, and he only had his hair, and nails cut once a year.<ref> Meneghetti, Michael. "Feeling Yourself Disintegrate: The Aviator as History." <i>Canadian Journal of Film Studies</i> 20, no. 1 (2011): 2-19 </ref> The man who was one of the wealthiest men in the world became permanently paralyzed by his fear of germs. However, Scorsese hints at Hughes' future mental deterioration in the final scene when the Texan has a breakdown after seeing two men in germ-suits.
==The Congressional Hearing and Hughes==Hughes
often had legal troubles and at one point was before the courts over a fatal car accident in the 1930s. The movie climaxes in 1947 when Hughes is forced to testify before the Senate, to defend himself against accusations that he had wasted government money during the war, that had been given to him for the production of the H4 Hercules Flying Boat and that the plane was not airworthy. The motion picture suggests that a rival of Hughes had bribed Senator Owen Brewster, to bring the charges against him as part of a vendetta. Just as in the motion picture the Texan millionaire was forced to testify before Congress, which was a major news story at the time. In one of the final scenes Hughes is shown flying the H4 seaplane and thereby proving that he had made a plane that could be used by the American air force and that he had not wasted government money<ref>Poyntz, S. " The way of the future" probing The Aviator for historical understanding: . Celluloid blackboard: Teaching history with film (2007), p.41 </ref> . In reality, the hearing into Hughes alleged misuse of funds was much more complex . Some have claimed that the Texan fabricated the story that a business rival had bribed the Senator, investigating Hughes. This was part of a clever strategy in order to get out of his legal troubles. The Texan was never charged with wasting government money and the investigation was soon dropped. However, there are lingering suspicions about Hughes business activities. The movie does not mention the Texan’s role as a philanthropist and that he founded the world-renowned Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) which has developed many pioneering medications and treatments. <ref> McCook, A. (2005). What the aviator left out: visionary Howard Hughes Medical Institute had trouble taking off in its early days. The Scientist, 19(2), 52-53 </ref> .