US, 1976, 150 minutes, Colour.
Susan Clark, John Forsythe, Jane Wyatt, Susan Oliver, Catherine Burns, Stephen Macht.
Directed by George Schaefer.
Amelia Earhart is an interesting telemovie, biography and portrait of the noted American aviator. Susan Clark in an Emmy award winning performance, is quite striking as Amelia. John Forsythe in support. The supporting cast includes Stephen Macht as Paul, the stunt pilot, Susan Oliver as the trainer, Jane Wyatt as her mother and Catherine Burns as her sister. The film highlights some of the early episodes of Amelia Earhart's life but concentrates on her early adulthood, her planes, learning to fly, her achievements, the crossing of the Atlantic, her marriage to Putnam, her becoming an American celebrity, the contract marriage, the final plans for her flying around the world and her disappearance.
The screenplay was written by noted writer Carol Sobieski (whose credits range from The Women's Room to Annie, Fried Green Tomatoes, At The Whistle Cafe and Sarah, Plain and Tall).
1. Impact of the biography, telemovie for the wide audience? Tribute, portrait?
2. The scope of the telemovie, glimpses of Amelia Earhart's early life, the visual equivalent of the Reader's Digest portrait with some depth?
3. Amelia Earhart as an American hero: re-creation of the period, the American cities, the countryside, the flying sequences and their impact? Special effects and stunt work with the early planes? Musical Score?
4. The structure of the film: places and dates indicating chapters? The framework of her final flight? The flashbacks to her early years? The insight of the woman who achieved and who disappeared in flight?
5. The glimpse of childhood, with her sister, dominating, the roller coaster effect? Not worrying about injuries? Her relationship with her sister? World War I, the meeting of the troops, giving away the Christmas gifts?
6. Amelia within her family: her alcoholic father and his reflections about marriage and warning her against it? Her mother and her propriety, persuading her to marry Alan? Her strong stance? Alan, love, his coming to Cape Cod, the proposal, wanting to sacrifice his ambitions for her? The breaking off of the engagement? Her wanting to fly, the experience and exhilaration, the friendship with the coach? Her meeting Paul, taking a dislike to him? Her stunt flying and the fall in the fog, the danger? Her taking a stand?
7. Her social work and skills? The offer from Putnam? The meeting and her deciding to be mediocre to get the opportunity to fly? The contract, Paramount Pictures, the book? The flight, Nova Scotia ? fogged in, the pilot drinking, the co-pilot and wanting to dump him? The news of the weather, taking off, success? The newsreel clips, the ticker tape procession and her reaction? The book?
8. The flight across America, landing in Texas, the people and her being a celebrity, the welcome and her homeliness? Her relationship with Putnam? The film director and his pressure on her, seeing her as trouble? Putnam, his proposal, her contract, the marriage? The flight across the Atlantic, landing in Ireland, the celebrations, her avoiding them, meeting Paul, the infatuation with him? Her suspicions of Putnam and his relationships?
9. The passing of the years, her own personal needs, wanting to be loved? The competitions, her organisation, role model for women? Her moving to the university and sceptical talking about marriage to the girls?
10. Putnam, his gift, the plane? Her decision to fly around the world? The flight in New Guinea, her being lost, the attempt to contact her by radio, the failure? The sadness of her disappearance, her sister, Paul, Putnam?
11. Amelia Earhart's achievement in aviation, in taking steps forward for the role of women, especially in the U.S.?