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L.A. Confidential (1997) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

In the scenes showing the pot bust the marijuana is shown in a plastic baggie which did not exist in 1953.
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There is a large vase of Stargazer lilies in Pierce Patchett's living room. The story takes place in 1953. Stargazer lilies were not created until 1974.
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The story takes place in 1953. Johnny Stompanato and Lana Turner did not meet until 1957.
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In the street scene after the kidnapped girl is rescued, a blue US Postal Service box is visible. Mailboxes were painted olive drab until the color scheme was changed to red, white and blue on July 4, 1955. The US Postal Service did not exist until 1971, when it replaced the U.S. Post Office Department. Prior to 1971, equipment, including trucks and mail boxes, were labeled "U.S. Mail".
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The premiere of When Worlds Collide is depicted as occurring in December 1952.
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When we see the kidnapper of Inez Soto watching TV just before White sneaks up on him and shoots him, the carton of milk on the coffee table is of today's "fold-open top" design, which was not invented until well after the early 1950s.
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When Det. Sgt. Jack Vincennes is sitting in the Frolic Room he unfolds a 50 dollar bill which has a green 'FIFTY' on the right side and a "B" signifying the Federal Reserve office on the left. None of these symbols were used on bills from the early 1950's.
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The sign at the Victory Motel indicates each room has a television. This is highly unlikely given the time the story takes place. Televisions were still rare, especially in a motel that was already closed in 1952.
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During several outside shots, especially during the raid on the kidnappers' den, downtown Los Angeles can be seen in the background featuring buildings that were not completed until several years later.
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In the Nite Owl café murder scene, as the camera pans over the café, the mustard and ketchup are seen to be in plastic containers. In the 1950s, mustard and ketchup always came in glass bottles.
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When Bud White confronts Ed Exley in the hospital just outside the morgue, a modern lit "EXIT" sign above the door can be clearly seen in the background.
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As Jack is entering the hotel room to find Matt Reynolds dead on the floor you can hear "How Important Can It Be?" by Joni James, which didn't come out until 1955. The movie is set in 1953.
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Near the end when Exley is awarded another Medal of Valor, a 50 star U.S. flag is clearly in the backdrop. The 50 star flag was not adopted until 4 July 1960.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

The scene outside the liquor store where Bud White confronts Leland "Buzz" Meeks ends with White unloading a revolver he had earlier confiscated from Meeks. He spins the cylinder off-camera, which we hear as a distinctive series of rapid clicks. However, only old style single-action revolvers - the type seen in westerns - make this sound when their cylinders are spun. This gun is shown to have a swing-out cylinder, which makes no sound when spun like this, since the cylinder is disconnected from the lockwork while swung out.
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When White meets Dudley for a drink, he asks, "Well Captain, what do you want?", although he is mouthing something else.
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When Dudley breaks up a fight between White and Exley, he tells Exley not to bother White when his blood is up, although he is mouthing something else.
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When Sid Hudgeons is talking to Jack Vincennes about the male hooker, his words don't match his lips.
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When the DA is talking to Bud White in his bathroom in front of the mirror, at one point, his lips don't match what is heard.
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Bud White smashes Ellis Loew's face into his bathroom mirror, twice, and you can hear the glass breaking. If one looks at the mirror, however, it is completely intact.
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We hear a click when Exley tries to pull the trigger again on his M1911-A1 while the slide is locked back on an empty magazine. The 1911's slide prevents the hammer from falling again in this condition, so it doesn't make a click. If you try, the trigger just compresses a bit, silently.
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Character error 

Despite all the noise and commotion made when Bud White is dangling the D.A. out his office window, the District Attorney's conscientious secretary never once comes in to ask what's going on, nor does she call for help.
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As Bud White views Sid Hudgen's body in Hudgens's office, a uniformed policeman addresses him as "Sergeant White..." Bud White was a plain clothes Detective, but did not hold the rank of sergeant.
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Continuity 

During the shot of when Bud White's vehicle arrives at Pierce Patchett's house, there is a JUMP-CUT where several frames have been removed. This is noticeable just before Bud opens his car door, the trees in the background appear to suddenly skip in motion.
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At the start just after Ed Exley is interviewed Edmund Exley and Dudley Smith walk down the stairs of the police station where Dudley picks up two drinks, he hands one to Ed and the other for himself. When Dudley walks away his has disappeared.
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During the fight in the records room of the police station, Bud White inflicts several bruises to the right side of Exley's face. In the very next scene Exley's face is clear, but when he shows up at Lynn Bracken's home, his face is bruised and discolored again.
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The glass of scotch that Lynn gives to White at her house disappears, and then reappears again.
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Mrs. Lefferts' glasses (side bit) move from being under her kerchief on top of it (without her taking the glasses off) when Bud White interviews her at her home.
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When Bud White drives up to the Victory Motel for the interrogation of Sid Hudgens, it is raining heavily and the sky is gray and overcast. But in the brief shot of Bud running through the doorway, the parking lot in the background is bathed in bright sunshine.
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The blood on Exley's face is smeared one way when he is chasing Ray Collins down the hall and another way when he fires into the lift in the next shot, even though any blood would have spilled onto the lift door.
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At the end of the movie when Exley is being questioned, it can be seen that he has stitches on the right side of his face and a broken left arm. A few minutes into his questioning (at around 2 hours 5 mins) there is a close up on Exley which shows both injuries being on the left side of his body; however, in the remaining scenes it goes back to the injury (stitches) on his face being on the right side and the broken arm being on the left.
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(at around 1h 45 mins) During Bud White's office fight with Ed Exley, Exley pulls White's revolver from its holster and hits him across the forehead. As Exley stands up, you can clearly hear him cock the revolver's hammer as he points it at White. However, in the next camera shot, the pistol's hammer is uncocked.
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When Bud White taps his badge on the rear window, Susan Lefferts rolls down the window. The view from inside looking out shows the level of the window is higher than the view from outside looking in.
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When Bud White goes to visit Lynn Bracken and they sleep together, when he leaves the Victory Motel, it is dark. When he is waiting outside and she says goodbye to her "company", it is also dark. But as she goes around straightening up her place, you can see pink light from the setting sun coming through the windows, and when she opens the door to Bud, it's twilight outside.
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Crew or equipment visible 

In one shot, when Bud White is dangling the D.A. out the window, the actor's safety cable is visible.
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Factual errors 

During the fight between the cops and the Mexicans, the newspaper photographer raises his camera to take a photo. When he does so, the flashbulb fires; however, the resulting photo was obviously not taken with a flash. If it was, the officers in the foreground would have been overexposed and the rest of the scene would have looked more as though it were lit from the front, rather than from the sides and above.
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In the middle of the climactic shootout scene, Exley fires at least 7 shots from the snub-nosed revolver without reloading. The gun shown holds only 6.
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Exley fires at least 12 shots from his first magazine at the beginning of the climactic shootout scene, but he is using an M1911-A1 which holds only 7 in the magazine.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

The phone number of Fleur-de-Lis is CRestview 2239. At the time, Los Angeles was using a mixture of phone numbers with 4 and 5 digits after the exchange (what today we would call 6 and 7 digit phone numbers).
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White leaves Lynn's house when it is raining; it is still raining when he fights with Exley in the records room, yet when they confront the District Attorney, it is clear outside with scant evidence of rain having fallen. However, these locations are far enough apart that this is possible; in addition, there are rain streaks and tire tracks that imply the rain had fallen there earlier.
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When Ed Exley asks Lynn Bracken what she can tell him about Dudley Smith, she says she has never heard of him. While unlikely to be true, she was quite possibly lying.
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Revealing mistakes 

White's car leaves dust clouds when he leaves the Victory Motel on the way to Lynn's house during the rain storm.
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When Exley blasts one of the rapists out of the window, there is clearly an enormous belt around the man's waist, to yank him backwards.
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When two of Mickey Cohen's henchmen are gunned down in their car (right after the scene where Bud White gets his badge and gun back from Dudley), the outline of an explosive squib can be seen on each actor's forehead before the gunfire begins.
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When Exley talks to Vincennes about Rolo Tomassi, Guy Pearce's Australian accent accidentally slips when he tells Jack, "I just wanna solve this thing".
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Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

In the final scene, two woman walk past each other, behind and to Ed's left, as he is standing on the sidewalk. However, when he is seen through the rear window of the car - from Bud's perspective - the original women have disappeared and two new women (walking together, toward Ed) have taken their place.
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Continuity 

When Dudley walks toward the approaching police cars while holding up his badge, Exley is not standing in the motel doorway and the shot that kills Dudley comes from off-screen, to his right. In the very next shot Exley is standing in the doorway, to Dudley's left, lowering his shotgun.
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Crew or equipment visible 

In the last scene, when Lynn is opening the car, you can see a reflection of the crew in the car door.
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Miscellaneous 

Lynn Bracken tells Bud White, "Sue [Lefferts] came on the bus with dreams of Hollywood. This is how they turned out." Later, White tells Johnny Stompanato that Meeks is "under a house in Elysian Park and he don't smell too good." The Lefferts' house is in a Los Angeles neighborhood, so Lefferts wouldn't have come on a bus. Brian Helgeland's original script placed the Lefferts' house in "San Berdoo," or San Bernardino, so Bracken's line would have been consistent before the location change.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

At the Victory Motel shoot out, Dudley Smith is clearly seen shooting Bud White in the right cheek after he stabs Dudley in the leg. At the end of the movie when Bud White is sitting in a vehicle saying goodbye to Ed Exley, the bandage is on his left cheek. However, Bud also has clearly visible barely closed wound on the right cheek. Exit wounds are usually more severe than entry wounds so the bandage on the left side on the face is justified, assuming that the bullet penetrated both cheeks.
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Revealing mistakes 

At the end of the Victory Motel shootout, when Exley stands next to Captain Smith's dead body while holding his badge up, James Cromwell's body is clearly seen moving up and down as the actor is breathing.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Jack Vincennes finds Matt Reynolds's body, there is a close-up shot on Matt's face. In that shot you can clearly see that the vein in his neck is still moving.
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Revealing mistakes 

Susan Lefferts is supposedly dead, yet her body has goosebumps.
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Revealing mistakes 

In the final scene, Ed and Lynn are facing each other yet the sun is shown as being behind both of them.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Bud White rushes into the morgue to find Dick Stensland's body, one of the sheets he turns up uncovers an older man with grey hair who appears to have almost had the skin scraped off of him (or maybe burned off). In a later scene where Exley is speaking to the coroner about the identification of another corpse, an event depicted as occurring days later, the coroner is doing an autopsy on the same body. It's obvious that the production crew simply recycled the body, but in reality, it would have been a grievous error for a coroner to wait so long to do an autopsy.
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Revealing mistakes 

(at around 1h 50 mins) When Bud White is dangling DA Loews out of a window, you can see a wire going to the DA's feet. (There is no visual shown of a phone and no resolution given to suggest anything other than a safety harness.)
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See also

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

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