Dan Glickman: "Amelia" Earhart: A Different Kind of "Chick Flick"

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[As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MPAA, Dan Glickman represents the US filmed entertainment industry before governments around the world.]

I had the opportunity this weekend to catch a movie filled with adventure, romance, suspense and period glamor. As with so many films, the story literally flew out of the pages of our history books and onto the silver screen. Hilary Swank is a revelation as "Amelia" Earhart, the barrier-breaking female aviatrix who captured the world's attention in the 1920s and 1930s before her tragic disappearance over the Pacific Ocean in 1937.

While she passed away before I was born, like many Americans, I grew up with a special affection for Earhart, who was a fellow Kansan who'd made good. From small-town roots, she struck her own unique and independent path--with confidence and without apology--inhabiting an increasingly glamorous world, yet never losing her down-to-earth ability to call too much fuss and bluster a load of "hooey."

Her achievements buoyed a nation that had fallen on hard times. Yet as she soared to megawatt international stardom, she was keenly aware of the struggles of working families in the depths of the Great Depression. Indeed one of the more dazzling (and true) scenes from the film involves Earhart taking then First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on an impromptu late-night flight over the nation's capital--two iconic women leaders looking down over the most powerful city in the world.

Earhart handled the more than occasional dig at her gender with unflappable grace and infectious brio. In doing so, she broke barriers and inspired generations well beyond the world of aviation. She did well by her home state, too. A key early booster of commercial air travel, Earhart helped vastly expand an industry that today is one of Kansas' leading job creators.

Fox Searchlight deserves kudos for bringing this important American story to the big screen, particularly at a time when strong female leads in major motion pictures are believed by many to be too few and far between...

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