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Desk Set (1957) Poster

(1957)

Goofs

Jump to: Character error (2) | Continuity (6) | Factual errors (3) | Revealing mistakes (4)

Character error 

Reference librarian Miss Costello (Joan Blondell) says, in response to a question about baseball star Ty Cobb, "He played only with the Detroit Tigers for 21 years." In fact, Cobb played major league baseball for 24 years - 22 years with the Tigers and two years with the Philadelphia Athletics.
When EMERAC begins to print out "Curfew Must not Ring Tonight," Bunny Watson says, "That old poem has about 80 stanzas." In fact, it has 10 stanzas, of 6 lines each.
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Continuity 

Mike has just been made a vice president. When he closes the door to shut out the sound of the bongo drums, the bottom map behind him briefly changes to be of South America. For the rest of the scene the map is of Central America.
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Before Bunny Watson turns to ask Richard Sumner her question during the Christmas party, she puts the bottle on the desk, but in the next shot, she is holding it again.
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During the question session on the roof, Bunny reaches for the roast beef sandwich, then takes off her gloves, then reaches for the sandwich again.
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During the X-mas party scene in the reference room, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn are sitting upstairs between the shelves of books. She is holding a paper cup of champagne in her right hand. Her right thumb is above the halfway point on the cup, then suddenly, the same thumb is much closer to the bottom of the cup.
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Mike Cutler gives Bunny Watson an arrangement of white carnations, and she inserts one in his lapel's button-hole. At the end of the day, she and Sumner leave the office. She is carrying the white carnation arrangement as they enter the elevator. As they exit the building, the carnations are pink.
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When Bunny Watson and Mr. Sumner are talking in the hallway shortly after they meet, she tells him that she doesn't smoke, but we see her starting to light a cigarette in her office, prompting Peg to comment that she only smokes when she is worried.
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Factual errors 

After EMARAC had been present for a very short time, it's stated that EMARAC has had the data from all the books in the research department fed into it. In reality, it would've taken a large crew of keypunch (data entry) operators at least a year to input that much data.
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Early in the film, Joan Blondell says that Ty Cobb played his entire career with the Detroit Tigers. In fact, his last two years were with the Philadelphia Athletics.
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During the rooftop picnic, Bunny answers the question about telephone numbers but then says "I don't think there's any PLaza 2 exchange." Under the original three-letter New York City telephone exchange system, however, PLAza (or PL2) would have been the first valid Plaza exchange. By 1930, the list had expanded to PL1, PL2, PL3, PL4, PL5, PL7, PL8, and PL9..
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Revealing mistakes 

Sumner explains to his tour that the has a handful of punch cards containing Shakespeare's play Hamlet. He is holding no more than 20 cards. Since the text of Hamlet contains over 160,000 characters (62,000 if compressed) it would be physically impossible to store that much data on so few punch cards.
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In the opening shot of the film, at Rockefeller Center, the shot begins at ground level and tilts up the building, but it was clearly shot from the top of the building down to ground level and then reversed because all the people on the ground are walking backwards.
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The large array of flashing white lights simply show two repeating patterns, which obviously have nothing to do with the system's processing.
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The tape drive on either side of EMERAC should have its reels running in the same direction, like a reel-to-reel tape player, but the reels are running in the opposite direction to each other, which would break the tape if there was one.
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See also

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

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