Trivia: The film omits George Smith. An assistant army chaplain, at Rourke's Drift he brought ammunition to the defending soldiers at great personal risk throughout the defence. Had he been a member of the armed forces he would have received a Victoria Cross. Technically, he was not a member of the armed forces and therefore could not receive a medal. Instead, in recognition of his service he was promoted to a full military chaplain. After Rourke's Drift he was always called "Ammunition Smith."
13th Sep 2022
4th Sep 2022
Trivia: New York Transit Authority has code words for trains going through subways, based on the departure station and time of departure. Pelham One Two Three means the train left Pelham Bay Park Station at 1:23 pm. Ever since the 1974 film was released, New York Transit authority has made a conscious decision to try very hard not to let subway trains leave Pelham Bay Park Station at 1:23 in the morning or afternoon.
2nd Sep 2022
Trivia: William Alland who produced The Creature From The Black Lagoon, acted in Citizen Kane as the reporter who investigates Kane's career. During the filming Alland met Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa Mateos, who told him a legend of an amphibious creature who comes out of the River Amazon to seize women. Alland wrote a story based on the legend, which would form the basis of this 1954 horror film.
21st Aug 2022
Factual error: Lieutenants Chard (Stanley Baker) and Bromhead (Michael Caine) and nearly all the soldiers defending Rourke's Drift are clean-shaven. Between 1860 and 1916 all British army personnel, from Field Marshall to Private were not allowed to shave their upper lips. The army rigidly enforced this rule. Thus, all the soldiers defending Rourke's Drift sported moustaches. Many had beards, too.
11th Aug 2022
Trivia: In 1957 folk-singer Ewan MacColl wrote "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." In 1969 Roberta Flack recorded this. In 1971 Clint Eastwood was driving through Los Angeles when he happened to hear the record on his car radio. Eastwood so liked it that he included it in Play Misty For Me. Cinema audiences picked up on it, and it became the best selling US record of 1972, turning Roberta Flack into an international star. However, Ewan MacColl said he always hated Flack's version of his song.
31st Jul 2022
Question: The Missouri Breaks starred Jack Nicholson (as Tom Logan, a rustler) and Marlon Brando (as Robert E Lee Clayton, a "regulator" tasked with eliminating him). Yet they never appear together. Brando is absent from over half the scenes featuring Nicholson, and vice-versa. When they do meet, there is a close up of Nicholson speaking to Brando, followed by a close up of Brando replying to Nicholson, and so on. Why do Nicholson and Brando never appear on screen together?
28th Jul 2022
Question: This 1978 comedy take on the Hound Of The Baskervilles featured a stellar cast of British comedy icons: Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Spike Milligan, Kenneth Williams and Terry Thomas. Yet it was not remotely funny and was a box office bomb. Biographies of cast members say the film was a low point of their careers, their acting lacks conviction, as if they know it isn't funny. So, why did they keep making this film, since, even when it was half completed, everybody knew it would be a total flop?
17th Sep 2021
Other mistake: Dolittle starts with a voiceover narrative explaining how Dr Dolittle was deeply in love with a beautiful woman called Lily. On an ocean voyage Lily disappeared and was presumed dead. Dr Dolittle never got over Lily's loss. As a child I recall reading all of Hugh Lofting's Dr Dolittle books (now generally castigated for political incorrectness) and I am 100% certain that Dr Dolittle was unmarried, and never once had the slightest romantic inclinations towards any woman.
8th Jan 2021
Factual error: The film was wholly filmed in Morocco, where the scenery, architecture and geography is wholly different to Israel. All the extras are also Moroccans, who look wholly different and wear different clothing to people from Israel (and would have looked equally different in the first century AD). Many extras were members of the Berber community. Berbers have a long tradition of being tattooed, so many extras showed prominent tattoos. But Jews have a traditional aversion to being tattooed, as per Leviticus 19:28.
14th Aug 2020
Question: Was Robinson Crusoe On Mars scientifically plausible when it was made in 1964? Aged eight, I watched this movie on release. Even then I knew it was a movie, not a scientific documentary. Nevertheless, I understand that it was once seriously believed there were canals on the surface of Mars. (I even had a children's pictorial encyclopaedia which showed Mars criss-crossed by canals.) After crash-landing on Mars astronaut Kit Draper (Paul Mantee) discovers that the Martian canals were made by intelligent, technologically advanced beings millennia ago. Could anybody in the scientific community have believed this in 1964? Kit Draper discovers ways of creating oxygen, so he does not suffocate; he then finds water sources, vegetation he can eat and a coal like rock that burns to make fires. He witnesses extra-terrestrial aliens visiting Mars in space ships. Was this, by any stretch of the imagination, regarded as even remotely credible in 1964? Or was it pure Hollywood hokum?
3rd Aug 2020
Question: Why do the humans in "Planet Of The Apes" all wear clothes? I am fully aware that the film was made in 1968, for a general release, permitting it to be shown in cinemas or on television, and 20th Century Fox would never have been allowed to make a movie in which humans all ran around naked. But, since the film is supposed to be set in a post-apocalyptic world, where humans have regressed back to being wild creatures, without language, lacking the skills to make or create anything, where do they get their clothes from? (And their clothes fit, too.) Did anybody ever come up with an answer to this, apart from the obvious reply that they wanted to get the film past the censor?
26th Jul 2020
Factual error: The movie's title "The Inn Of The Sixth Happiness" is the name of the mission station that Gladys Aylward/Ingrid Bergman sets up. In reality this was called "The Inn Of The Eighth Happiness." Numerology is popular in China, where eight is regarded as a particularly auspicious number. Apparently the film company thought "sixth" had a better ring to it than "eighth." In the movie it is explained that there are six levels of happiness. This is not a Chinese belief and seems to have been invented for the movie.
26th Jul 2020
Trivia: The Inn Of The Sixth Happiness tells the story of Gladys Aylward, an English missionary in China. The casting of Ingrid Bergman in the role was quite amazing, especially considering that Gladys Aylward was still alive at the time. Ingrid Bergman, who exuded glamour throughout the movie, was 5' 9" tall, had blonde hair and retained her native Swedish accent. Gladys Aylward was of rather plain appearance, stood a mere 4' 10" tall, had black hair and spoke with a cockney accent.
16th Jul 2020
15th Jul 2020
Question: Spoiler alert: this question gives away much of the first "Psycho" movie. In the original Alfred Hitchcock "Psycho" we witness Norman Bates murdering Janet Leigh/Marion Crane and Martin Balsam/Milton Arbogast, and very narrowly missing killing Vera Miles/Lila Crane. At the end of the movie we discover that Norman Bates had murdered his mother and her lover ten years previously. We are also told that he had killed two female guests at Bates Motel. Norman Bates is therefore guilty of six murders and one attempted murder. In Psycho II we find out that, after his crimes were discovered, Norman Bates was placed in a secure psychiatric institution for the criminally insane. This does seem plausible. But with such a criminal record, would he ever be released from incarceration?
13th Jul 2020
Trivia: The movie tells the story of James Allen/Paul Muni, an unjustly imprisoned convict, who escapes from a brutal chain gang and ends up a frightened, hunted, homeless vagrant. This was based on the life of Robert Elliott Burns, who was unjustly convicted and placed on a chain gang, from which he escaped. Burns wrote a best-selling book about his experiences and advised on the making of the movie. After the movie's release Burns was granted parole and became a free man. "I Am A Fugitive From A Chain gang" may be unique among Hollywood movies, in that, while the movie had a sad ending, the real-life story that inspired it had a happy ending.
11th Jul 2020
9th Jul 2020
Factual error: Two scenes show aerial views of the cast in a church: this is in fact St Bartholemew The Great in the Smithfield area of London. These show everybody walking on the floor of the church, which is made of Victorian tiles, laid down in the nineteenth century, about 300 years after the age of Queen Elizabeth I (played by Judi Dench) and William Shakespeare.
8th Jul 2020
Question: Serious spoiler alert: these questions summarise the entire film. During the Second World War Sgt Joe Gunn (Humphrey Bogart) and nine allied soldiers (plus one German and one Italian captive) are crossing the North African Desert. They discover a well, but this has nearly dried up and only provides a small trickle of water, barely enough to keep them alive. They are besieged by over 100 Germans. Since the Germans have no water at all they surrender to Joe Gunn. At this point a stray shell lands in the well. The resulting explosion brings hundreds of gallons of water bubbling up, more than enough for Joe Gunn's company and all the Germans. Two questions. 1. Could a well in the Sahara dry up until it only gave a small trickle of water? 2. Could an explosion really open a water supply like this?
4th Jul 2020
Factual error: At the end, Rolfe suggests to King Harald that they seek "the three crowns of the Saxon kings." But this lost treasure legend is a modern invention. In 1925 M R James wrote "A Warning To The Curious", which says that the Anglo-Saxon kings of East Anglia buried three crowns near the English coast. Somebody who finds one of these meets a mysterious, sinister death. The legend of the three crowns of the Saxon kings has since appeared in many books about English folklore. But there is no record of this story before 1925 and it is now believed that M R James invented it. Thus the story of the three crowns would not have been known to the Vikings.
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