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Period Films and Inaccuraces

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by ArrowCollarMan, May 7, 2006.

  1. I've notcied alot about movies that take place in a certain time period that tend to be off the mark in many ways. Two examples I can give of this are Chicago and (the new) King Kong.

    Chicago seemed to have gone wrong in ways beyond the costume but the gestures and language. At times I forgot what time period it even took place in. There was also the issue of haircut and makeup that threw it off if only slightly. And, if I remember correctly, the attorney wanted Rene Zellweger to pay him I think around $5000 to defend her. WOHA, way off. Who in the 1920's could afford that amount of money, especially if you wern't well off and in prision?? Strange.

    King Kong was well done overall I thought. I thought they did a good job with the scenery of New York, they talk, and the outfits. Although, one thing botehred me: the cars were all very new and very shinny looking. There was also the wearing of the tuxedos. #1 None of the people had starched, bibed front shirts, something of which I know they wore in 1933 for dressy occasions. #2 In the very last scene Jack Black shows up still in his tux with an overcoat and his fedora? No, no, no, that can't be right for full dress! And judging by the character it seems like he would have worn a top hat.

    I don't know if this is worth the topic, but I'm very particular and was wondering if anyone else noticed these things. Good period peices should include things from that present date and things from before it in order to make it accurate (if thats what you're going for). Today we see things left over from the past. Not every car, appliance, furtiture or clothing people own is right up to date in 2006. We have things from 2000, 1999, 1998...95', 94' maybe even earlier? I dunno, I just love dating things and trying to figure out from whenst they came.
  2. I haven't seen the movie, but overcoat and fedora are perfectly correct to wear with a tuxedo. There is no "correct" hearwear or outerwear for the tuxedo. This is because the tuxedo/dinner jacket was originally worn by the hosts of a house party only as a less formal alternative to the tailcoat, thus a hat or coat was not even needed. Top hats and opera capes go with white tie and tails.

    Thus you really can wear a wide array of hats with a tuxedo. Straw boaters, dark felt homburgs, fedoras and the like. The only hats which cannot be worn with a tuxedo are daytime-only hats such as the bowler.

    But as to your general point, yes there are inaccuracies today but NOTHING like it was. Watch any "period" movie from the 70s or earlier and you will see what I mean. "The Sting" for instance. Only in the 1980s and 1990s did period films really start to pay attention to detail and historical accuracy in things such as wardrobe, hairstyles, etc.
  3. I've seen many films where it is supposed to be in one decade but in the far background you can see a contemporary car.

    In the film; L.A. Confidential in the the first hour where the cops show up at one of the houses. It was a 1950's built tract house, but the hedges were fully grown. (I know too picky) but there was also one of those jail-house style security screen doors on a house across the street. The directors hid it by covering it in Christmas paper.lol
  4. The seventies was a big time for such inaccuracies

    When I watched "The Way We Were" a while ago I noticed all sorts of annoying mistakes like that. The only one I'll mention is Streisand mentioning that she is going to miss a sppech and asks her friend, James Woods, to tape it for her. In the 1930s!:eek:

    The Wolf
  5. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    The first spot I usually head for in any film listing at IMDB is the "goofs." Lots of fun.

    I guess in Last of the Mohicans you can see chain link fencing behind the indians.
  6. In the movie "Troy" you can see the shadow of an airliner as it flies over Brad Pitt. lol
  7. Shaul-Ike Cohen

    Shaul-Ike Cohen One Too Many

    This used to bother me a bit more than it does now, after I've seen actual colour pictures from the period. It seems people were shining their cars more than from, say, the sixties on.
  8. There will always be inaccuries in period films due to many reasons. I think the desire for accuracy has gotten better over the years.
  9. I think the most meticulously accurate recreation of time-and-place I've ever seen in a film would have to be Peter Bogdanovich's "Paper Moon" (1973). It's a very careful depiction of rural Kansas in the summer of 1936. I first saw it when I was ten years old, and it's been one of my favorite films ever since -- and in all the many times I've seen it, I've noticed exactly *one* anachronism. In the scene where young Addie listens to "Fibber McGee and Molly" on the radio, the famous closet gag is heard -- a gag which, in reality, made its first appearance in 1940.

    But I could overlook that one error on the basis of the otherwise flawless depiction of the era. Bogdanovich was equally careful in his depiction of early-fifties Texas in "The Last Picture Show" (1971) -- he clearly "got it," and a lot more so than most of his contemporaries.

    A current film which does a swell job of depicting time-and-place is the British comedy-drama "Mrs Henderson Presents," which spans 1937 thru 1942 -- and is very careful in getting the look right, even down to precisely following the evolution of fashion and hairstyle over that period.
  10. I hadn't heard that! Last of the Mohicans is one of my absolute favorite movies of the past 20 years. The cinematography is stunning, and I understand Daniel Day-Lewis spent months learning to use the weapons of the time. After seeing that movie, I realized for the first time what an incredible weapon a tomahawk was in the hands of someone who knew how to use it.

    OTOH, I had to reserve judgement about the weapon Russell Means carried as Chingachcook. I'm not sure that one was period correct. BTW - what an inspired choice, casting Means in that role. Overall, that may have been the best job of casting of any movie in its decade.
  11. Chingachgook's weapon was period correct I believe. It is called a gunstock club. When a longrifle was damaged, the owner could cut off the foreend and use it as a club. They could be decorated with brass tacks and/or the addition of a knife or two in the end. A formidable weapon.
    What did not seem correct was the shape. It looked too thick from what I remember.
  12. Didn't I mention that he was wearing tails? Guess not. But thats why I found wearing a brown fedora in white tie attire wasn't correct. Yeah, the sting did not convince me at all. It didn't really look very 1920's. Also the Scott Joplin music...that was from the early 1900's probably went on into the 20's but might have been a bit outdated by then. I remember seeing a movie made in the 50'staht was suppoed to be in 1925 or something...OH MY GOD THEY DID A HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE JOB. The only two things that were from that era was a bi-plane and a candlestick phone. The mainc character had on a sweater and tight fitting jeans. Now, not to say peopel didn't wear jeans but no way in hell since he was the son of a millionare. Also, one of the millionares attornies had on thick rimmed glasses from the 1950's. It was just awful!
  13. Solid Citizen

    Solid Citizen Practically Family

    Russel doesn't get MEANS he gets EVEN!

    I'm with you on this film Pilgrim, great flic & Means performance in some ways is even better than Wes Studi's. But Chingachcook now thats what I call a weapon!


    PS Means not only nailed down his lines, but quite a few enemies as well :rage:
  14. Twitch

    Twitch My Mail is Forwarded Here

    As an afficianado of combat aircraft I used to wince at old movies and the cavalier use of improper aircraft. This was mostly due to the fact the proper enemy aircraft were unobtainable.

    I truly feel that unless a 57 T-Bird is seen in movie set in the Korean War era other inaccuracies aren't such a big thing. Even so, how many folks would notice that? I agree about the Jack Black top hat only in retro-analaysis. I didn't notice it during viewing the movie nor even now feel hoodwinked. [huh]

    But now I feel we as a society are so jaded that we have lost the ability to be entertained. Today everybody is a critic overanalyzing set, the direction, lighting and more in films. I simply can't get incensed because the prop department used a fountain pen 5 years too new. Most of the films back in the day were set back in the day in then current time. Easy to do. Today it is quite usual to set many films in bygone eras. There are fewer movies set in 2006 shot in 2006 so there'll be this "gotcha" of mistakes being found.

    There are people that actually sit and watch films frame by frame so they can find mistakes. The weird thing is that small errors have been found in almost every movie from Hitchcock's to DeMille's. Ah, to have that kind of time to waste....:rolleyes:
  15. "There are people that actually sit and watch films frame by frame so they can find mistakes."

    Those people need to get a life. A flim is a work of art, and as such, flaws are inherent in the product. As long as they don't detract from the art, they don't matter. People who spend their time trying to find such tiny flaws are simply missing the point of the medium.
  16. Sometimes, though, an inaccuracy can be so glaring that it takes one out of the picture. It doesn'y happen very often, but when it does, it can spoil an otherwise great movie.

    I agree, though, that watching a movie in order to pick it apart seems like a waste of time and energy.
  17. I try not to let goofs bother my viewing. Sometimes a radio show or song is used to give a period feeling evn though the year is wrong.
    I don't always trust the imdb's goof list because sometimes they goof. One example is "Mulholland Falls", the nit-picker said a hat is left somewhere at the end and still put on someones head. I had just watched the DVD and noticed it was not shown clearly but Nolte is holding two hats, one put down and one he put back on his head. Sometimes the "goofs" listed show the person missed the joke. In "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" Gene Wilder plays music to open a lock and a "know-it-all" mother says it is Rachmoninoff. Imdb says it is a goof because Wilder plays "Marriage of Figaro", but that's the joke.
    That all said, with the myriad anachronisms in The Way We Were I still tried to enjoy the story. But asking to "tape" a speech just hit me wrong.

    The Wolf
  18. Viola

    Viola Call Me a Cab

    Well, Deborah Kerr's hair in King Solomon's Mines was WAY too set for a woman cutting her own hair with scissors and travelling about africa without much retinue, though it did look cute as a bug's ear. I like how it sets into perfect curls each time it dries, too, all by itself as if enchanted. I wish my hair did that. But no! :rage:

    Oh... you didn't mean inaccuracies of movies that were made in the Golden Age?:eusa_doh: ;)
  19. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Hold on everyone

    We're moving to Moving Pictures.
  20. With at least two exceptions. The 1970s film Chinatown was quite accurate. (It helped that some of Jack Nicholson's suits and ties actually were vintage '30s). Perhaps the most accurate '70s "period" film was the very odd musical, Bugsy Malone. Actual 1920s and '30s wardrobe pieces were taken and cut down so that the film's child actors could wear them.


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