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lack of research and mistakes in movies

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Initial post: 3 Apr 2011 02:22:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 Apr 2012 02:36:22 BDT
I have served in the armed forces and Police and have an eye for detail. I get annoyed when I see errors made, especially in uniforms, that should not have happened.

One classic case was in 'A Bridge Too Far', where Waffen SS General BITTRICH was depicted wearing the pre 1942 rank collar patches for an SS-Obergruppenfuhrer. After 1942 the rank of SS - Oberstgruppenfuhrer [ Generaloberst - Colonel General equivalent ] was introduced and the rank insignias for the SS were re-designed.

In another instance, in 'Holocaust', the TV series, lawyer Eric DORF joins the SS to further his career. This fictional character was actually based on his chief, HEYDRICH, who did the same. DORF is wearing the black SS uniform - phased out in 1938 - and that was accurate, but he had both the SD Rauter [ diamond shaped badge on the lower left sleeve ] and the SS Runes on the right collar. Members of the SD [ Sicherheitdienst ] wore the SS uniform but with a plain black right hand collar patch sans the SS runes.

Also, up to SS- Obersturmbannfuhrer [ Lt Colonel ] the rank was shown on the left patch and the SS runes on the right. From Colonel upward [ SS - Standartenfuhrer ] rank was shown on both patches.

An exception was made for the SS-TV [ Totenkopfverbande ] 'Death's Head' - troops who guarded the concentration camps under SS - Obergruppenfuhrer Theodor EICKE... these troops usually had a death's head displayed on the right [ in place of the SS runes ] and rank on the left. However, for a time, both collar patches displayed the death's head and only the shoulder boards indicated rank.

In 'Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade' the SS Colonel was wearing some grey uniform I don't believe existed outside Hollywood. He also had lampassen [ stripes ] on his breeches and even if the SS used this Army style rank indicator [ which I don't believe they did ] only Generals and above wore them.

I also mention 'Where Eagles Dare' . An SS - Sturmbannfuhrer [ Major ], supposedly GeStaPo, is wearing the black SS uniform. GeStaPo members carred SS rank but usually wore civilian clothing. If they were in the SD they wore the SS for the SD, not the SS general dress.

There are numerous other instances and I would like to hear discussion on this most topic.

Posted on 5 Apr 2011 19:18:19 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 9 Jul 2013 10:58:32 BDT]

Posted on 5 Apr 2011 20:27:44 BDT
Anita says:
I wonder, could Amazon please delete at once the spam posts as above?

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Apr 2011 21:55:14 BDT
Greetings Anita,

I have complained to Amazon on the same matter. Sales marketing has nothing to do with what should be informative and pleasant discussion.

Regards, Roger

Posted on 18 May 2011 22:50:34 BDT
Master Card says:
On a lighter note , the first episode of Gavin And Stacey has them meeting in Leicester Square, they walk off to get a drink. In real life they were standing just outside a Wetherspoons Pub ! It was carefully filmed to avoid this in the background.
Maybethe most famous is the film "Krakatoa - East Of Java" when it is actually to the west - but the title wasnt deemed so catchy.

Posted on 24 May 2011 14:46:59 BDT
Paul Norton says:
Lots of lack of research and mistakes in 'Pearl Harbor'. Some good CGI work, but some of the ships 'blown up' were obviously modern. No one was seen smoking, some rank insignia wrong, soemof the geography of the actual harbour was wrong etc. But the worst and most innacurate (and annoying) thing was the portrayal of the US Pilot joining the RAF. As a US serviceman he would not have been allowed to join the RAF let alone turn up at an RAF base in full US kit! At the time our 'ally', the US Government, had decreed it illegal for US servicemen to volunteer for another foreign service. They had to resign their commission, make their way (illegally) to Canada, and were then shipped over to England. By the time the US pilot in the movie got to England the Battle of Britain was over. At the timev there were at best a very small handful of US pilots in the RAF. The RAF Eagle Squadron (US personnel in an RAF unit) came later. After watching Pearl Harbor, there were no doubt millions of Americans who then believed that loads of their servicemen volunteered for the RAFall and their nice US Gov let them rush off to come here to help us. Grrr!

Posted on 2 Jun 2011 11:45:00 BDT
It's always irritated me when films set in medieval times play fast and loose with the rules of heraldry - obviously 99% aren't going to spot them but for the odd saddo like me who knows a bit about it then it becomes almost a mission to look out for the mistakes. Difficult to explain here where I can't give visual examples but it's mainly to do with coats of arms and the combination of colours used.

Another annoyance is when Vikings are shown with horned or winged headgear - nope, they didn't wear them.

And how come Native American warriors in western films are seen with rifles but never hand guns?

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2011 21:01:12 BDT
Master Card says:
I always have to point out to my 12 year old that its funny, the hero can walk though a volley of shots, yet pick off the baddies with a single shot. Guns in cowboy times were inevitably as lethal to the shooter as the target due to poor quality metal .

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2011 22:12:28 BDT
The Vikings may well have been 'horny', with all those beautiful women to choose from up and down the coast of Europe but, no, they didn't wear horns on their helmets.

On a serious note I get annoyed by mistakes in heraldry also, such as the English shield showing the wrong distinction for the son of the King or the wrong number of French Lilies for the time - France [ Ancient ] had multiple Lilies and France [Modern ] had only three. As I recall the French changed their shield to 'shut out' the English claim to France but the usurper Henry IV of England [ 1399 ] altered the English shield to follow France's example in 1411.

Also, in the Errol Flynn movie of 'Robin Hood' I don't know from where the shield used by Prince John's [ King John 1199-1216 ] followers derived - it had a quarter with a bar and the three Leopards. Also the three Leopards [ not lions ] of England only became officially the emblem of England in 1199, a few months prior to the death of Richard 1 and that the family name of Plantagenet was not officially used until right at the end of the dynasty, when it was adopted by Richard, Duke of York [ died 1460 ], father of Edward 1V and Richard 111.

Posted on 23 Jun 2011 05:58:45 BDT
StormSworder says:
Jaws the Revenge. Seriously, did anyone involved in making this know the first thing about sharks?

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jun 2011 21:12:44 BDT
DB Edwards says:
@ Roger Edward Deshon

I rather enjoyed your post. The one film you mention, WHERE EAGLES DARE, sports perhaps the most egregious anachronisms of any
Second World War film. The "German" helicopter featured in one of the scenes, for example, wasn't engineered until after the war!

Posted on 23 Jun 2011 21:17:06 BDT
Mammoths in Eygpt in 10000BC? Galling to say the least.

Posted on 27 Jun 2011 10:33:39 BDT
Maggie says:
The appalling William and Kate has William in USAF uniform!

Posted on 27 Jun 2011 18:18:41 BDT
Saw an episode of Hornblower the other night where our intrepid hero was given a bit of solitary in a small, rat-infested underground cell which seemed to double up as a storm drain. His Spanish captors must have shown mercy pretty quickly as he was just as clean-shaven when they dragged him out as he was when they dropped him in.

Posted on 30 Jun 2011 17:35:06 BDT
Mochyn says:
The movie Shenadoah with Jimmy Stuart. The Confederacy instituted conscription in April 1862. No family full of military age young men was going to go unnoticed let alone flaunt their non service. One battle scene has a soldier in 1864 using a powder horn. Jimmy Stuart's doctor friend says his son was killed at Shiloh. Sorry, but there were no units from Virginia at Shiloh. Lots of other choices though.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jul 2011 23:05:54 BDT
DB Edwards says:
@ Roger Deshon

Your points are well taken. I am very tired of seeing sophomoric historical mistakes. And mention WHERE EAGLES DARE. Do you have a day or so?

Posted on 23 Apr 2012 02:31:08 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Apr 2012 11:11:05 BDT
On a slight deviation, may I mention that the ranks and rank patches of the SS changed in 1942, when a new rank of SS-Oberst Gruppenfuhrer was introduced. It equated to the Army rank of Colonel General and only four SS officers were awarded the higher rank. Often the mistake is made to define an SS-Brigadefuhrer as a Brigadier General, thus throwing everything out of synch. This is not correct, for the correct line of rank went Standartenfuhrer { Colonel } then Oberfuhrer { technically Senior Colonel, not a Brigadier as in the British system } then Brigadefuhrer { Major General }. Then came Gruppenfuhrer, or Lieutenant General. The rank for General in the SS was Obergruppenfuhrer.

Standartenfuhrer - 1 oak leaf
Oberfuhrer - 2 oak leaves
Brigadefuhrer - 3 oak leaves
Gruppenfuhrer - 3 oak leaves and 1 pip
Obergruppenfuhrer - 3 oak leaves and 2 pips
Oberst Gruppenfuhrer - 3 oakleaves and three pips

Posted on 23 Apr 2012 07:14:37 BDT
Sou'Wester says:
I've got mixed feelings about all this. As a "train nut", the frequent bloopers in TV and film always stand out like a sore thumb to me, but I try not to be over-critical. If the makers have made some effort towards authenticity (i.e. not having Sherlock Holmes travelling on a train quite obviously built after World War 2!) I'm prepared to let it pass. Only where things get ridiculously sloppy do I think the makers deserve censure.
It's important to distinguish between fictional drama and serious documentary. In the former what matters is the quality of the drama, not having everything absolutely accurate. Accuracy is far more important in what purports to be a factual programme. Lack of attention to detail, lazy and downright misleading reporting by TV journalists bugs me far more than the odd anachronism in some costume drama.

Posted on 25 Apr 2012 11:02:22 BDT
Master Card says:
I watched Hitchcocks 'Family Plot' yesterday. The scene where the couple are in the car which has had it brakes tampered with is going down a twisting mountain road at some speed, funny how when it was going down the hill, they had to swerve to avoid loads of cars, yet when they crashed, not a single car went passed.
Also in Jaws, there is a shark attack on a person treading water, where the dorsal fin is clearly visible above the water. As a Great White Shark has a long 'nose' so its mouyth is set back, to get to a vertical object such as the persons leg, it would have to rotate 90 degrees to be able to bite. Thus its dorsal fin could not stick out of the water.

Posted on 25 Apr 2012 19:47:08 BDT
gille liath says:
Just as easy to get these things right, as they are all in the BALPA handbook...

Posted on 27 Apr 2012 06:37:42 BDT
I have a photo on my computer of the late Ingrid PITT, star of the Hammer Horror films, as a vampire emerging from her coffin. On the side of the coffin are crosses.

If a vampire is repelled by the sign of the cross how in the heck could she get back in it when she returned to her grave in the morning?

Posted on 12 May 2012 18:30:45 BDT
Sou'Wester says:
Whilst channel-hopping today caught a gaffe in "Miss Marple" where the eponymous lady talks about going to the "train station". No-one of Miss Marple's generation would ever have used that horrible modern-day phrase in place of the correct "railway station" !!!

Posted on 15 May 2012 16:28:58 BDT
S. Lanigan says:
I too, am sick of the lack of research made with regards to the film industry. Take Laurel & Hardy for instance - Oliver Hardy has bricks dropped on him from a great height, gets dragged through a saw mill, falls off multiple roofs, and in one credulity - stretching scene, finds himself in a kitchen that explodes, destroying everything in sight. Yet, in the following scene does he have as much as a fractured skull? A missing limb maybe? No! he`s just fine. What were the filmmakers thinking?
This sort of thing bothers me so much I haven`t got much time left to worry about the so-called real problems of the world.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 17:16:38 BDT
Master Card says:
They just made them tougher in those days, did all their own stunts. Fracture a skull- don't get paid. Bit of trivia - did you know the crew of The Titanic were all sacked the moment the ship sank? No ship, how can you be sailing on her ?

Posted on 15 May 2012 20:01:55 BDT
GUS c says:
In tommorrow Never dies, James Bond is asked to Type a Message. He refuses because the Keyboard is in Chinese. In an earlier Film we find out that He has a First in oriental languages from Cambridge.
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Discussion in:  comedy discussion forum
Participants:  24
Total posts:  72
Initial post:  3 Apr 2011
Latest post:  10 Sep 2012

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