Skip to main content


UK, 1980 (MIFF 1981, Peter Wollen presents British Independent Filmmaking)

Director: Laura Mulvey, Peter Wollen

"Amy, wonderful Amy, how can you blame me for loving you?"

When the newspaper editor in John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance gave the immortal advice, "When the fact becomes legend, print the legend", he could have asked what makes a legend and what is its basis?

In 1930 Amy Johnson pipped Joan of Arc in a poll of young girls visiting Madame Tussaud's. as the woman they would most like to emulate. The adoring words from the Jack Hylton song above formed only part of the worldwide adulation which greeted the former shop-girl from Hull who became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia "Never has a single event so thrilled the world', wrote one devoted admirer, "her fame will live forever."

"Mulvey and Wollen's explanation of Amy's legend is compelling, both by virtue of the subject matter and the acute intelligence they bring to it. In her own lifetime Amy was portrayed initially as having a schoolgirl's 'combination of ignorance and romanticism' looking forward to 'thrills and adventures', nurtured on film dramas such as

The Perils of Pauline

in which the heroine always escaped from cannibals, sharks,'torture-loving bandits'and "wild beasts of desert and jungle'. Mulvey and Wollen's Amy! stresses the interweaving of legend and fact with the oppressive and pathetic irony that despite her being a skilled engineer and fearless pilot, she was unable to find a regular job as a flyer."

Don MacPherson, Time Out

See also...

Taking A Part

A documentary about the experience of two girls who both came to London at an early age from working class backgrounds, one of whom has a child. Both are involved in prostitution; one decides to give ... More »

Sigmund Freud's Dora

In 1899 Sigmund Freud began treatment with an 18 year-old girl who was brought to him for analysis by her father after she had written a suicide note. Freud was eager to use this case to demonstrate ... More »

Joyce and Harry Go Dancing

A couple go ballroom dancing We discover something surprising ... More »


A documentary depicting the lives of women army recruits in a camp at Fort Gordon, Georgia. The filmmakers picked out four privates — two black and two white — and followed them closely ... More »


Set designer, art director and maker of the highly successful Sebastiane. Jubilee and The Tempest. Derek Jarman has recently returned to Super 8 to produce his new films. Using a combination of old ... More »

Aubrey and the Beanstalk

Aubrey is an inventor with his own approach to inventing, and in this film his peculiar logic leads him to some odd but thought-provoking conclusions. A beanstalk grows in Aubrey's garden. He climbs ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director