In this 2002 documentary director Brita McVeigh heads down the aisle to explore the world of air hostesses in air travel’s glamorous 60s and 70s heyday. Seven ex-“trolley dollies” recall exacting beauty regimes, controversial uniform changes, and the job’s unspoken insinuation of sexual availability. The cheese and cracker trolley becomes a vehicle that charts the changing status of women as McVeigh argues that — despite layovers in Honolulu, and a then-rare working opportunity for ‘girls’ — the high life concealed harassment, and struggles for equal rights and pay.
What I had now was a story that traced the changing status of women. It finally made sense to me, as the recipient, a woman of the next generation. I had been trying to grasp the anomalies of the 50s, 60s and 70s working environment for a New Zealand air hostess and now I could see a way to tell the stories of these women.– Director Brita McVeigh after discovering the 1987 book Human Rights Commission vs. Air New Zealand Ltd.: A Story of Sex Discrimination.
Made with funding from NZ On Air
Presented with thanks to the New Zealand Film Heritage Trust – Te Puna Ataata
The original title song ‘Pretty Things’, is by Flight of the Conchords (Bret Mckenzie, Jemaine Clement)