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The Invisible Hand in Popular CultureLiberty vs. Authority in American Film and TV$
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Paul A. Cantor

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813140827

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813140827.001.0001

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Flying Solo

Flying Solo

The Aviator and Entrepreneurial Vision

(p.167) 5 Flying Solo
The Invisible Hand in Popular Culture

Paul A. Cantor

University Press of Kentucky

Chapter Five discusses Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, a film based on the life of Howard Hughes, as a rare example in popular culture of a positive portrait of an entrepreneur. Most Hollywood films present people engaged in business as villains, and offer various kinds of public officials as the only way to keep business under control. By contrast, The Aviator portrays Hughes as a heroic and visionary figure, obsessed with creating a better future in both film and aviation. Scorsese presents big business negatively only when it colludes with big government. The most villainous figure in The Aviator is a U.S. Senator who conspires with Hughes's competitors to try to destroy him. As a maverick in the film business himself, Scorsese sides with Hughes as an independent in both the aviation and the entertainment industries.

Keywords:   Martin Scorsese, The Aviator, Howard Hughes, entrepreneur, big business, big government

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