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The Black Dahlia (2006) Poster

Goofs

Jump to: Anachronisms (15) | Character error (2) | Continuity (6) | Errors in geography (1) | Factual errors (2) | Revealing mistakes (2) | Spoilers (7)

Anachronisms 

Seeing Madeleine for the first time, Bucky observes that she is not the first Dahlia "wannabe" he's seen, but she is the best. The word "wannabe" did not come into usage until the mid 1980s.
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When carrying a box out of Bleichert's father's home, you can see a UPC barcode on the bottom of the box. Barcodes weren't commercially used until 1966.
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When Bucky Bleichert enters Sheryl Saddon's bedroom to get the suitcase, there is a postcard-sized picture of Bettie Page on the wall. Bettie Page did not start modeling until 1950.
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During the scene in the theater screening The Man Who Laughs, we see the beam from the projection room. It is shining out of a single window. In the '40s, theaters used two projectors and changed reels (alternating projectors) every 20 minutes or so, unlike modern theaters that use only one projector per screen. The back wall should have shown two projector ports, two viewing ports for the projectionist and a large port for the spotlight.
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During Bucky and Lee's stakeout, when Bucky chases a portly suspect down the adjacent alley and tackles him, the stack of old tires that cushions their fall is clearly made up of modern, low-profile radial tires, including one 60-series sports tire in the center background that's so low and wide that it's standing up all by itself.
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In a voice-over describing attacks, one detective uses the phrase "senior citizens." That term was not coined until 1955 or so, and even then was not widely used until after 1970.
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Handcuffs never had belt attached cases in the 1940's; they simply hung on the officer's belt. The cases used to carry them were introduced in 1960, and they were introduced in California before being used by police officers nationwide.
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The light switch on the wall next to Kay's sliding door is of a type not available in the 1940s.
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Elizabeth Short's police booking photo from 1943 uses the typeface Eurostile, which was created in 1951.
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At the beginning of the movie, set around the 1942-3 Zoot Suit Riots, Bleickert hands his father a model and says "C'mon Dad, you haven't finished this model yet." From the shape of the wings it is clearly a P-47 Thunderbolt, but the shape of the fuselage shows that it is the later 'bubble canopy' model P-47 G or H, which did not fly until late 1944.
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During Bucky and Lee's stakeout, a red and white 1960's-style caravan appears behind a fence.
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Modern red-background STOP signs appear throughout the movie. Red-background stop signs were not standardized in the US until 1954. For many years after that, drivers' training manuals said that STOP signs could have red or yellow backgrounds.
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The period shots of Los Angeles City Hall include modern railings added many years after the 1940s.
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When Pa Bleichert is shooting pigeons, the Dr. Pepper logo stenciled on a wooden crate is a 1970s typeface.
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When Bucky corners Lorna Mertz, in the first in the upper left corner (past the ice cream truck) is a 1980s white pickup truck, which is masked out in later shots.
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Character error 

Everyone, including characters who have lived in the city for a long time, pronounces Los Angeles with a soft g, the way it is pronounced in modern times. In the early and mid 20th century, locals preferred the hard g (closer to the original Spanish name) so it sounded like Los Angle Iss. Although the original pronunciation was losing out by the 1940s (due to an immigration of Easterners such as Elizabeth Short who were unfamiliar with the name), it was still in use and can even be heard in a few movies and radio programs made as late as the 1950s.
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'Elizabeth Short (I)' (qc) had no middle name in real life, but she is referred to as Elizabeth Ann Short during the autopsy.
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Continuity 

When Kay pours champagne at the dinner table, she fills Lee's glass twice.
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When Bucky and Madeleine are talking at Bucky's car, the bonnet is glittering with raindrops. A few seconds later, when they continue their conversation inside the car, the bonnet is dry.
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When Bucky is shot at, the bullet puts a hole through a windshield of the car. In the next shot, the bullet hole is gone.
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Bleichert draws down on Bobby Dewitt, cocking his revolver for emphasis. In the following shots, however, his thumb is still on the uncocked hammer, as if he has yet to cock it.
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When Ramona Linscott thrusts her utensils into her food, a small potato rolls onto the table and stops beside a glass. In later shots, the food has changed position and the wayward potato has disappeared.
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Position of Kay's hand changes between Dwight's neck and tie when she meets him in the doorway.
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Errors in geography 

In the diner scene the cash register shows a purchase of 4d which was the British symbol for pence, not something you're likely to see in LA.
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Factual errors 

Characters who knew Elizabeth Short refer to her as 'Betty' constantly. Though Elizabeth Short was known during her childhood as Betty in her hometown, she used the name 'Beth' not Betty throughout her stay in Los Angeles.
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Cars are seen with 1945 an 1946 California front license plates - black and white with a white strip on top. In those years (and no other year), California only issued rear license plates due to wartime metal shortages.
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Revealing mistakes 

After the shooting at Nash's, when Lee is smoking a cigarette, the usage of a split field lens is visible.
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The newspaper that the stuffed Balto has in his mouth is from 1926, that is more than 20 years old, but is has not turned yellowish.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

When Ramona Linscott is telling the story of how she murdered Elizabeth Short, Elizabeth's left hand did not have a wound at all before or after her death.
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When Dwight rips off the tablecloth to have sex with Kay, liquid clearly spills right where he lays her down. In the next shot, the table is dry.
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When Ramona Linscott pantomimes the clown's smile, she uses her index fingers. The next time she's shown, she is using her right index and left middle fingers.
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When the coroner points out the laceration in Elizabeth Short's hand, he picks up her right hand. Later in the movie, her left hand is lacerated.
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Madeleine clamps her eyes shut in reflex when Bucky shoots her, but are open in the next shot when she's fallen on the floor.
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In the Linscott house, before Bleichert shoots the head off the statue, he cocks his revolver twice.
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Plot holes 

Elizabeth's friend, who acted with her in the lesbian movie just before Elizabeth died, has a fully developed copy of the movie. How did she get the undeveloped film? When did she get it? And if she had no money, how did she get it developed?
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See also

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

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