Monday, June 12, 2017

Amelia: A Tale of Two Sisters (2017)

Amelia Earhart is one of those names that was well before my time.  As such, I think the context is different for me than it was when she was alive.  Today, flying is something we take for granted.  It’s said to be the safest method of travel.  In the 1920s and 1930s, when Earhart was active, flying was still new.  Granted, gender roles were still difficult to overcome at the time.  Amelia’s sister, Grace, married and had a family.  Grace’s route was by far the more common route for women in that era.  However, Amelia was determined to fly and to do so professionally.

Amelia:  A Tale of Two Sisters does show the disparity between the two sisters, but tends to focus on Amelia Earhart, as she was the one to make headlines.  The documentary shows how she had to basically be a passenger on a flight, as she wasn’t really trusted to fly.  She did eventually make a solo transatlantic flight, something that only Charles Lindbergh had done previously.

What most people know her for, though, is her attempt to fly around the globe with Fred Noonan.  In early July of 1937, they disappeared just shy of circumnavigation.  There are theories as to what happened.  The most common is that they went down in the ocean and were never able to make it to land.  Another is that they did make it to what was then called Gardner Island, where they managed to survive for a period of time.  There’s no concrete proof of this.  A third theory is that they were captured by the Japanese.  The documentary doesn’t mention any proof of the third theory.

I watched the documentary mostly to learn a little more about Amelia Earhart.  I knew going in that it would be kind of basic, but I knew very little about her.  I wasn’t even aware that she had a sister, which is why this documentary caught my attention.  The amount of information is exactly what I would have expected from a 40-something-minute episode.

It goes into her early life and how she knew from first seeing an air show what her career path would be.  There is also material on her parents and her sister.  There are interviews from three people, including Earhart’s niece, Amy Klepner.  The other two are Ric Gillespie with TIGHAR and Dorothy Cochrane with the National Air and Space Museum.

A good portion is dedicated to her disappearance with some repetition of material.  It’s the kind of thing that a beginner to the subject, like myself, will enjoy.  I think someone looking for detailed information on Earhart will probably want to look elsewhere.

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