Best drama movie questions of 1963

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Lord of the Flies picture

Question: One of the boys, called Piggy, wears glasses. Piggy's glasses become an important, prized object, because the boys can use the lenses to refract the sun's rays, and thus start fires. It is fairly well established, that, on a hot day, in bright sunshine, one can focus the sun's rays through a magnifying glass to set light to combustible material. (I've done it myself, although it took me rather longer than the book or film suggested, and it only made a very small flame.) But could you use spectacles, that people wear to correct defective vision, to start a fire in this way? Surely, if this was possible, wouldn't it mean that when people who wear glasses went out in hot sunny weather, then they would burn their eyes?

Rob Halliday

Answer: The key factor there is the focus of the light over distance. The light coming through the glass is refracted and focused on a single point. But it's bent like a ribbon. There is a "sweet spot" so to say where you have to hold the magnifying glass or lens at just the right distance and angle from the object to focus the center point of the light on it. Typically, this means holding the glass out a good several inches or even a foot or so away from what you wish to ignite to get the focal point of the light on it. Someone wearing glasses has them pretty much right up to their face. And so the light can't reach a focal point. Also keep in mind that for focusing the light through a lens, it needs to be angled just right for the light to go through it at the optimal angle and focus. Usually this means facing the sun directly. Typically people don't look up directly at the sun, at least not for more than a second. Especially with glasses on.

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Answer: Only convex magnifying lenses can be used to focus the sun's rays in such a way as to start a fire. A convex magnifying lens is bowed outwards on both sides. Such lenses are found in magnifying glasses, binoculars and cameras, for examples. Conventional spectacles to correct vision are convex on one side and concave (bowed inward) on the other side, and so cannot be used to start fires. If Piggy's glasses are used to start fires, then he is wearing convex magnifying lenses (which would only be useful for up-close reading purposes, and they would be utterly useless for any other vision correction) ; and, if indeed he is wearing truly convex magnifying lenses for some reason, then his retinas could certainly be damaged by even glancing at the sun.

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: Lenses for nearsightedness would not work, but they could be corrected for the purpose by filling their concave areas with clear water, which would make the whole object correctly refract sunlight.

dizzyd
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Cleopatra picture

Question: During Rex Harrison's entire performance as Julius Caesar his arms and legs are covered by garments underneath his military garb and robes, even while in Egypt. The other Romans as would be expected have bare legs and arms. Was Harrison suffering from some skin condition or was he too shy or embarrassed of his limbs to show them in the film?

Answer: The people of higher rank would usually have more or better armor so in his case that would probably be extra armor for his legs and arms.

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The Great Escape picture

Question: At the scene where Bartlett is running away from the pursuing Germans in the town, a car stops him. Bartlett says something in a foreign language to the German who steps out the car which makes the Germans drive away. Could someone please tell me what is said in the Bartlett/German conversation and what language does Bartlett speak in.

Answer: It's German, although I can't quite make it all out. The Germans tell him to stop (sounds like one says "hey you" in English). He asks what this is all about and, in English, the soldier accuses him of being English. Bartlett acts offended at the idea, and at being threatened with a pistol. The soldier then asks if he's German, he says something in the affirmative, and the soldiers apologize as they climb back in the car.

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