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It Came from Outer Space (1953) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

The voice in off at the beginning of the film says it is early spring, but the calendar on the wall of the sheriff's office reads February 11.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When John, Ellen, and Pete return to the airfield in the helicopter, they have a brief conversation with rotor noise in the background; yet neither the main rotor shaft (behind them) nor the tail rotor are moving.
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Continuity 

Richard Carlson's house in the desert has a fireplace on the inside but no chimney on the outside.
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When the posse shoots the alien Frank while driving the truck, he crashes head-on into the rock. But when the next shot shows the burning truck it is facing away from the rock.
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Perry, wearing a space cadet suit and helmet, opens the hatch over his face. The point of view quickly switches to Ellen and the open door, as Perry walks through the doorway, but now the hatch over Perry's face is closed.
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The rear-view mirror on Richard Carlson's Ford convertible disappears and reappears several times.
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Crew or equipment visible 

As the ship is coming toward the camera there is what appears to be a post and a mirror at the left side of the screen just before it hits. This may be part of the equipment needed for the 3D effect.
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Factual errors 

Artistic license and suspension of disbelief notwithstanding, there is a scientific oversight worth noting: the alien's POV is in 3D, despite the fact that it's a cyclops. The otherworldly visitor has one eyeball and one pupil, when it's necessary to have at least two in order to perceive stereoscopic vision.
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After the spaceship has crashed, when they look through the telescope to see the crash site the image is the correct way up but since this is an Alvin Clark refractor telescope, the image should be upside down.
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When John turns around to go back and look for Frank and George, the tires on his car squeal while he's turning around on the sand beside the road. Car tires can't squeal on sand.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When Putnam and Ellen land back at the airport in the helicopter, Putnam is holding his pipe in his mouth upside down (bowl facing down). Pipe smokers sometimes have the bowl upside down, especially when it's raining. They tamp the tobacco tightly, light it, and then turn it upside down to keep the rain out of the bowl. Some pipe smokers will have them inverted even when it's not raining, possibly as an affectation, or simply habit.
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Plot holes 

When the aliens assume the forms of all the people they've kidnapped, they're always wearing the same clothes their victims had been wearing when they were taken - with two exceptions: Putnam and Ellen. In their cases, the aliens raided their homes and stole clothes for their "duplicates". First: how did the aliens end up in the same clothes worn by the other people? Did all these people have two identical sets of clothing lying around their houses? Second: why steal different clothing for the Ellen and Putnam clones? Third: at least in the case of Ellen, why did they empty out her entire wardrobe instead of taking just one dress? Fourth: if, under a different but unstated hypothesis, the aliens only appeared to be dressed the same as the others - i.e., through morphing or some other illusion - then why would they need to steal anybody's clothes?
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Revealing mistakes 

When the alien first goes walking about in the desert, the camera cuts to a startled owl, which tries to fly away only to be jerked back by the visible string tied to its leg.
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The spider Putnam points out to the sheriff is evidently a toy tied to a string: it moves forward jerkily and without moving its legs.
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John Putnam kneels and points out blood on a rock to Sheriff Warren. As he stands, he pushes on the rock and the rock indents.
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When the spaceship takes off, the ground supposedly shakes; but the only thing that really shakes is the camera. The people and the scenery remain perfectly still.
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When Richard Carlson and Barbara Rush blow out three candles, there's another half-second delay before the light in the room actually goes out. Clearly, the off-stage light, that was supposed to go out at the same time the candles were blown out, was turned off just a second too late.
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The top support of the incoming spacecraft is visible, and just before the shot ends, you can see the reflections of a glass box or window on the screen.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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