Edit
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

Though very photogenic, the C96, or "Broom handle," Mauser pistol, used extensively in this film, was first produced in 1896, thus would not have been available in 1891. Also, most models of C96s had a non-removable internal magazine, which would have been loaded from above with a stripper clip. It wasn't until the early 1930s that the C96 design would be modified to accept a removable magazine (conveniently loaded from the bottom, as pointed out in the film).
5 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Jump to: Anachronisms (28) | Audio/visual unsynchronised (2) | Character error (2) | Continuity (4) | Factual errors (7) | Plot holes (1) | Revealing mistakes (6) | Spoilers (3)

Anachronisms 

Holmes uses a tube of lipstick to sabotage the villains' guns on the train. Lipstick in a tube was not invented until 1915.
Holmes follows Moriarty's lecturing tour across Europe and mentions Oslo, Norway. However, as of 1891, Oslo had been called Christiania since the mid-1600s. It was not called Oslo again until the 1920s.
When Holmes and Moriarty are playing chess, Moriarty says "Your clock is ticking, may I remind you this is blitz chess." The earliest known usage of the term 'blitz chess' according to the OED is in 1942, 51 years after the film is said to be set.
The German flag shown on the boxes is the current German flag and probably used for the benefit of the audience. It was first used 1848-1866 in the Deutscher Bund, but by 1891 a different flag was in use, with black at the top, white in the middle and red at the bottom. It was the flag of the North German Confederation (Norddeutscher Bund) 1867-1871 and the German Empire (1871-1918). After that, in the Weimarer Republic (1919-1933), black-red-gold was the official flag again.
Professor Moriarty is shown playing a 12" gramophone record in his office and the armaments factory. The 12" gramophone record was not introduced until 1903.
When Mycroft approaches Mary, the new Mrs. Watson, in an advanced state of undress, he says he begins to understand how a man could be attracted to a person "of your gender". Prior to the late 20th century, "gender" was a purely grammatical term, referring to a noun being masculine, feminine or neuter. Mycroft would have used the word "sex".
During the final dance scene, Dmitri Shostakovich's "Suite for Jazz Orchestra No. 2" plays. Shostakovich did not write the piece until 1938, when it was written for the State Jazz Orchestra, in Moscow.
At the telegraph office, the word "Telegraphen" is spelled with "ph" on the wall in the background, but with an "f" ("Telegrafenamt") on the door itself. Although both spellings are correct in modern German, the "f" variant was not used in the 19th century but came up much later.
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The head stamp on the cartridge used to fire the poison dart is marked ".222 REM." The .222 Remington cartridge wasn't introduced until 1950.
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
When Holmes succumbs to his wounds as they make their escape on the train, Watson performs chest compressions and precordial thumps. Compressions were not utilized until 1960, and the thump was not instituted until over ten years later.
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The Italian flag on the boxes in the German warehouse is missing the Savoy shield and Royal crown at its center. The flag on the clipboard displays these features, though.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Although displaying the correct flag modern-day Turkey was part of the Ottoman Empire and would have been called 'Osmanisches Reich' accordingly in German.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Upon arriving for Watson's stag party, the band is entertaining the party-goers with "The Band Played On", which was written in 1895 by Chas. B. Ward, lyrics by John F. Palmer and, therefore, could not have been heard in 1891.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
During the Tea Room scene one can see macaroons of different colours on the plates. Those macaroons weren't invented until the early 20th Century by Ladurée.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
War factory is fully electrified despite fact that Schneider's company started selling electricity in Germany only in year 1892.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Watson relates the story by typing on a typewriter, which is shown at the beginning and end of the movie. He is clearly using an Underwood No. 5, a classic typewriter. However, this typewriter did not exist in 1891, and even the Underwood model No. 1 had not yet come out.
9 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
When Watson first goes to Holmes' flat, Mrs Hudson hints that she is concerned at Holmes' mental state but suggests a stay in a "sanatorium". This would instead imply he needed rest and treatment for tuberculosis, which is what was provided at a sanatorium. The word was only later, and especially in the USA rather than England, also used to describe a hospital for those with a mental illness.
9 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The pistol that Claude Ravache (Thierry Neuvic) shoots himself with in 1891 is a French Mle 1892 Revolver that was in service from 1892 and 1924 and was issued to officers in the French Army, Navy, and National Gendarmerie, amongst others.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Like in the previous Sherlock Holmes film, the word "haymaker" is used, this time by Moriarty when anticipating a fight against Holmes. But it wasn't used as a fighting term until 1906.
8 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
When Holmes and company escapes from the war factory they are shelled by mortars. But mortars of the type shown in the movie were invented after the Russian-Japanese war of 1904/5.
8 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
During the establishing scene of Baker Street near the start of the film construction workers are seen in the street. A sign says, "'UNDERGROUND' Railway Construction Keep Out". In 1891 the railways being constructed under London were yet to be collectively called 'UNDERGROUND' and the logotype used on the sign, with the larger initial U and final D, was not seen until 1908.
8 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
When driving in the motorcar, Holmes is wearing painted modern swimming goggles, not driving goggles.
8 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Although the English flag does feature St. Goeorge's Cross, in 1891 there was no particular connection with England. At that time, the Union Jack would have been used to identify the United Kingdom. Moreover, the term used would have been 'Großbritannien' (in reference to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland) instead of 'England'.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In the Arms Factory Scene, Col. Moran introduced the c96 Mauser pistol as a 'machine pistol, self-repeating'. Machine pistols are automatic firearms which fires burst of bullets when the trigger is held. Even if the c96 was available (which actually wasn't until 1896), it was a semi-automatic pistol at that time, firing one round when triggered. The c96 was first converted into a automatic variant in 1932, designated M712 Schnellfeuer.
6 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In the stag night scene, the music of "The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo" is heard. The action takes place in 1891. The song was not written until 1892.
6 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
At the munitions factory, when Col. Moran offers Holmes a pistol, it's a Mauser C96. Which was first put into production in 1896.
4 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Inside Meinhard's factory, Moryarty uses a large-scale loudspeaker PA system to transmit Schuber's "Forelle" on the compound. However, loudspeakers with the proper quality and power were not available until the late 1920ies.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
A battle takes place in a 19th century German railway yard, surrounded by 20th century British locomotives.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When the gang is running from the Germans through the forest, one of Moriarity's German lackeys yells that it is time to introduce them to "Little Hansel" (in subtitles). Strangely, what he really yelled was, "zu viele Füchse für die kleinen Hühner," or "too many foxes for the little chickens".
During the dance scene in the castle the couples dance a Vienesse Walz but are clearly not dancing to the music that can be heard in the background.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Character error 

Professor Moriarty is described at one point as "a Professor at Oxford University." But when Holmes accepts an invitation to visit Moriarty following Dr. Watson's wedding, the lead in shot shows King's College at Cambridge University.
Watson mentioned that Colonel Moran had been dishonorably discharged. Dishonorable discharges are reserved for enlisted men, the equivalent for officers is dismissal.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Continuity 

When running in the woods, Watson gets wounded on the right side by a bullet, shown in slow motion. When they are in train, later on, the wound is on the left side.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
While fighting the Cossack, Holmes gets a cut on his left cheek. This cut disappears and reappears for the rest of the movie.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Watson kicks in the door to enter the telegraph office at the factory. When he leaves, the door frame is in perfect shape, and the door locks with a loud click.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
When Watson first enters the house to visit Sherlock, he is clean shaven (other than the mustache) and has a clean haircut. When he is in his old office viewing the diorama, he has five o-clock shadow and his hair his longer and messy. After viewing the diorama, when Watson is shown to attend to Gladstone, he is again shown with the cleaner hairstyle and freshly shaven appearance.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Factual errors 

When Holmes and Moriarty are playing chess, Moriarty "castles" after Holmes puts him in check. You can not castle while in check.
When Holmes entered Mr. Moriarty's office to get an inscription, there is a chessboard on the desk, with all pieces at their starting squares. White's King and Queen starting position is wrong. White Queen should be on white square, opposing the black Queen on the other rank.
When "Little Hansel" is fired, the slow-motion shows boiling red flames and black smoke emanating from its muzzle, which are obviously gasoline-fueled. The only artillery shell propellant in use at the time would have been gunpowder, which produces a brief flash with cinders and white smoke, but no flames.
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Although displayed correctly, the flag of Prussia seems out of place since in 1891 the Kingdom of Prussia was part of the German Empire, represented through the (incorrect) German flag in the same room.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In the war room scene one of the armaments positioned in Holland is labeled "Howitzer", despite all other designations being in German. The German word for howitzer is "Haubitze".
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
When Holmes and his colleagues are are running through the woods fleeing the war factory "Little Hansel" is uncovered, set to a position of 50 degrees (as shown on the cannon's attitude indicator) and fired. Yet the projectile travels horizontally as it penetrates and fractures a tree while Holmes flees.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
After Watson has fired a large cannon inside a courtyard in Meinhard's factory to bring down a chimney serving as Col. Morans sniper perch, the glass windows in the courtyard are still intact despite the discharge.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Plot holes 

This movie is said to take place in 1891 . However , in the prequel we see Holmes reading a newspaper which is dated November 1891 . He cant have solved that case and this one in such short time .
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Revealing mistakes 

A German sign on the door of a chemical lab in Heilbronn warns of "Lebensgefahr" (mortal danger), but then has the English word POISON in large red letters in the middle. It makes no sense for the most important word in a sign to be in a foreign language, and is clearly for the benefit of the audience. (The skull & crossbones symbol might have been used, as it was internationally recognized by the 1880s.)
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
When Dr. Watson first visits Holmes at his home, he is struck by a dart in the back. Later, a rectangular pad can be seen protruding from underneath Watson's jacket where the dart is stuck, before Holmes pulls it out.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
When the tower of the ammunition factory collapses there is no mortar on any of the bricks in the rubble.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
When Moriarty stands up from the rubble of the factory, within his ear a piece of cotton wool is visible, presumably to block any rubble falling into his ear.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Toward the end of the movie, there is a view of the castle in the mountain from above, and Moriarty's horse-drawn sled is entering the castle. The scene then cuts to a view from within the castle grounds with the sled coming in. As this happens, the computer-generated snow briefly disappears from under the sled, revealing the wheels upon which the sled was riding when the scene was shot.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
After the battle aboard the train, Watson and Holmes are sitting in the destroyed lavatory. You can clearly see that in the shots with Holmes against the destroyed back wall that the off-screen wind machine is blowing and getting underneath a few of the "ceramic' bathroom tiles revealing that it is really plastic or vinyl covering on the prop wall and not real tiles.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Anachronisms 

At the end of the movie, Moran shoots a dart from his cane to kill Rene'. He preloaded the dart into a modified rifle cartridge which has a headstamp marked 223 REM. The .223 Remington cartridge is the civilian version of the 5.56 cartridge used for the M-16 who's earliest date is from the 1960's. Although the loading process seems complex for a simple dart, there's no evidence of a primer or powder that would have fired the dart.
4 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Errors in geography 

There was and is no castle at the actual Reichenbach falls in the Bernese Highlands, Switzerland.
8 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Before crossing borders from France into Germany, Mary's scarf is given away. At the end of the movie, Watson is wearing it again. The scarf had been given to one of the gypsies who accompanied them on horseback; this gypsy is the only one who survives the escape and makes it to the train with them. The scarf is then used as a bandage on Holmes' arm in the train. We can safely assume it was then given back to Watson by Holmes.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

See also

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

Contribute to This Page