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The Artist (2011) Poster

(I) (2011)

Goofs

Jump to: Anachronisms (16) | Continuity (7) | Factual errors (3) | Incorrectly regarded as goofs (3) | Revealing mistakes (4) | Spoilers (3)

Anachronisms 

When a poster is shown of new talents of the sound era in 1929, actress Lucille Ricksen is among those listed. Ricksen was in fact a silent screen actress who died in 1925.
In all of the films screened, the THE END title dissolves onto the screen, either over the action or as a separate card. This practice did not begin until the early 1940s; prior to that, all films simply faded to black, then faded in on the end title (the only exceptions being gags, such as a character walking onscreen holding a sign reading THE END).
Peppy's chauffeur driven car appears to be a 1937 or 1938 Cadillac Convertible Sedan with its 'Goddess of Speed' hood ornament, which did not exist at the time the movie takes place.
Women's fashions changed a great deal from 1927 to 1932; however, Peppy's wardrobe appears to remain in 1927. By 1932, hems were mid-calf and waistlines were at the natural waist.
When George meets Peppy for the first time he is surrounded by reporters and photographers. One reporter has the typical "PRESS" card stuck in his hat brim, but the typeface is Helvetica, not introduced until 1958.
The phonograph used is a Guild "Graphanola" - a hi-fi made to look like an outside horn machine. These were built in the mid 1950's when Hi-fi was the newest sound technology, almost 30 years after when this movie is set. A non-electric inside horn machine like a Victrola would have been more than likely used in the late 1920's, as outside horn machines were outdated by then.
In the filming for the start of the sound era, a noisy "unblimped" motion picture camera is shown doing the shooting. Early sound movies would have used either an enclosing thick metal "blimp" to mute the camera noise, or a noise-deadening booth containing both camera and cameraman.
In the early part of the film an issue of Variety is shown, with the front page covered with photos. Photos were allowed in Variety only in advertising copy. After 1920, it was an important style point of Variety that the publication never used photos on the front cover. They re-introduced photos as late as 1988, when the Silverman family sold Variety to Cahners.
"Pennies from Heaven" by Arthur Johnston and Johnny Burke was first introduced in the movie of the same name in 1936.
The number of George's house is painted on the curb in front. Los Angeles did not begin this practice until decades later.
When Valintin destroys his film prints he opens can after can of film and takes out reels of film. The reels have rolled edges and are the type manufactured by Goldberg Bros. or Tayloreel Co. in the late 1940's at the earliest. In the thirties film reels did not have rolled edges and a projectionist could burn or cut his hand if he tried to stop a rapidly spinning reel. Most reels were of a spoked design having 4, 5 or 6 "arms" or spokes. A few reels were manufactured with circular holes but they usually had 6, not 5 holes. Further, the film cans he empties are "raw stock" cans, designed to hold film "off reel". The additional thickness of the metal reel would not allow the lid of the can to close making that type of can useless for mounted prints. Films on reels would always be kept in fireproof rectangular metal shipping cases. However, the public recognizes film "cans" better than shipping cases, which is probably why they used them in this scene.
The pistol George takes out of the box is a Smith and Wesson model 36 "Chief's Special." The model 36 was not produced until 1950.
In the film within a film at the beginning, the characters escape in an airplane called a Ryan ST. This plane was not built until 1934, well after the film is set.
While autographing photos for George, Clifton uses what appears to be a Parker Streamlined Vacumatic fountain pen which did not exist until 1937. Other pens used in the movie appear to be European pens from the 1940s.
George's chauffeur driven car is a Lincoln supposedly from 1929. It is actually a later model, most likely a 1932.
(at around 1 min) The 1950s-era record changer is shown "playing" a 1930s-era 78rpm disc, but rotating at only 45rpm - a speed developed for use with the 7-inch vinyl disc format which would not be introduced until 1949.

Continuity 

When George wakes up from his nightmare, he is clearly propped up on pillows, almost sitting upright, with at least two pillows stacked vertically behind his head and shoulders. However, three seconds later, when he gets out of bed, the pillows are stacked horizontally, with one in front of the other and none of them are vertical.
The mike disappears during Peppy's interview and then suddenly reappears.
When Peppy bumps into George Valentin, she had dropped her small black bag and picked it up. The bag disappears from her hands in the next scene and then appears again.
In the scene when George removes a white sheet from the things that Peppy bought at auction, in one moment the sheet is in his right hand and in the next frame it's in his left hand.
Early on when Peppy dances through her quickie audition she places her purse on the ground immediately to her right. In the next cut, with the surrounding ground space in full view, the purse is nowhere to be seen. Then, dance done, the purse reappears.
In the restaurant scene where Peppy is giving an interview, there is a shot from behind where the person wearing the headset has just one ear covered by the headset. In the next shot from the front both his ears are covered.
When Peppy and George meet again on the stairs in the studio office, after she gives him her phone number, George walks down the stairs, and when he's almost at the bottom step, Peppy whistles at him and does a little dance routine and throws him a kiss. In the next wide shot we see George standing almost on the top step again, where he was standing while they were having their conversation.
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Factual errors 

A fire due to burning of film would have produced a lot of toxic gas. George should have been dead from smoke inhalation long before the dog could have gotten the policeman to come to his rescue.
Back page of Variety is full-page ad for Coca-Cola; ads in this trade paper were always for show biz-related concerns (studios, stars, agencies, upcoming productions) but never for traditional consumer products like soft drinks, cigarettes, cars, etc.
The pair of white porcelain 'art deco' figurines seen time and again behind Doris and used as a metaphor for George's and Doris' relationship aren't actually art deco or French, but made in Devon in the late 1970's by master ceramist Rod Hill.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

During the montage of films starring Peppy Miller, the spelling of her name on the movie posters changes from Pepi to Peppy. This may be deliberate - it is not uncommon for those with small parts to have their names misspelled.
In a hospital scene (1930 or 1931), Calvin Coolidge is pictured in a photo-portrait on a wall. Coolidge left the presidency in 1929. But of course that fact does not imply that his photo-portrait would never be seen on walls.
It is correct that the SMPTE leader shown did not come into use until television, but the writer says it should be Academy leader (Start..11..10..etc). This was not put into use until after 1930. The earliest sound films had a "Start" frame, but then just 12 feet of black film until the picture began.

Revealing mistakes 

When George sees the large marque for Peppy Miller's movie Beauty Spot, the beauty spot on her image is on the wrong side of her face.
In the opening sequence, when George watches the film in the theater, the on-screen car appears to be left-hand drive. Since he is standing behind the screen, the image should be reversed.
During the electrocution scene in the movie-within-a-movie ("A Russian Affair"), close-ups of the control panel show an odd mixture of Russian and English labels. For example, the label for the push-buttons reads "Washwater Flow."
In the movie-within-the-movie shown at the beginning of the film, Valentin's character is being tortured by the application of electrical shocks. While the "Russian" labels on the gauge and rheostat do refer to voltage and current (in what appears to be grammatically incorrect Russian), the the panel to the left of the gauge refers (in English) to "Washwater Pressure" and the gauge itself is marked (in English) as showing pressure in pounds per square inch.

Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

Uggie is seen with George in the theater watching his directorial debut, however, he's not with George when he leaves the theater; next time we see Uggie, he's at home.

Continuity 

After George leaves Peppy's house, his clothes that he wore from the fire are clean but right afterwards when he goes to his burned apartment, his clothes are dirty from the fire.

Factual errors 

When George Valentin sets his precious reels of film alight in his small bed-sitting room the resulting fire is far too tame. Nitrate film stock is highly flammable and would have burned more ferociously. Moreover there would have resulted highly toxic fumes which would have proved fatal quite quickly. (For a cinematic reference to the dangers of carrying film in public places check out Hitchcock's SABOTAGE)

See also

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

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