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Flight for Freedom

Flight for Freedom(1943)

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The working title of this film was Stand to Die. The picture's opening sequence shows American battle squadrons speeding toward the Japanese islands in 1943. Over the image of the planes, a narrator explains that a spirited American woman risked her life to secure strategic information about secret Japanese combat bases on those islands. Although pre-production news items in Hollywood Reporter place Tom Conway and Harold Huber in the cast, neither appears in the completed film. Other news items in Hollywood Reporter offer the following information about the film's production: In June 1942, RKO moved up the film's production date to exploit the U.S.'s recent victories at Midway Island. In early September 1942, Frank Redman took over the photography from Lee Garmes when Garmes was called back to Twentieth-Century Fox to film China Girl. The overwater aviation shots were filmed in Chicago, Il., because the Atlantic and Pacific coasts were closed to filming due to the war.
       Many of the reviews note the strong parallels between the life of aviatrix Amelia Earhart and the character of "Tonie Carter." According to the Hollywood Reporter review, there was much speculation at the time that Earhart's disappearance during her round-the-world flight in July 1937 was staged to allow search parties to fly over the Japanese islands, much like "Tonie's" disappearance in this film. A modern source adds that George Palmer Putnam, Earhart's widower, allowed the film to be made on the condition that his late wife's name not be mentioned. Fred MacMurray was borrowed from Paramount to appear in this film. According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, the proceeds from the Hollywood premiere were given to war charities. This picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction and Interior Decoration. Rosalind Russell reprised her role in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on September 20, 1943, co-starring George Brent. A biographical film about Earhart herself was the 1976 NBC television movie Amelia Earhart, directed by George Schaefer and starring Susan Clark and John Forsythe.