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Fawlty Towers: Waldorf Salad (1979)
Boa was no American
When I first saw this episode I (being an American) wondered just what they were playing at. He may fool non-Americans but I doubt that any of us would be taken in. (In a way it's like the phoney Aussie accents on Month Python; people that weren't familiar with authentic Aussie accents were probably fooled; real Aussies weren't.
I notice from his credits that he made a career of playing Americans, which says something for British production values.
The only Brit I can recall who would have fooled me completely had I not known better was Sid James in "Orders Are Orders" in which he played a big-mouthed movie producer.
Thoroughly researched? By Oxford?
There are many things historically wrong with this series; for starters, the longbow (think Robin Hood) didn't come into use until the 13th century or thereabouts, whilst it's generally conceded that if Arthur were a historical person, he lived about the 8th century. The costumes are all wrong --- again more close to those of Robin's time. Knights in armour didn't just "mount up"; they needed a hoist to get on a horse. The writings of Euclid were unknown to the Arthurian age; so Merlin's lever was an anachronism. In several scenes men remained seated when women (even the Queen) were standing -- definitely a no-no until the 20th century. There are other, lesser faults, but, in general, this was a Robin Hood setting with "men in armour" instead of tights.
The Two-Headed Spy (1958)
Anachronism: Tape Recorder
In one scene Gestapo agents are shown recording a telephone call. Unfortunately, they are using a tape recorder (as opposed to a metal wire one). Tape recording did not exist until 1947, well after the movie's time.
Before that, as seen in movies like "Walk a Crooked Mile," agents used a shellac disk or, later on, a wire recorder which had as its medium a metal wire. Another option was the Dictaphone which used a wax cylinder similar to the early Edison recording.
In the 1950's two-track recording was born and in the 1960's 4-track. I know this is incredibly boring but there is a minimum length for submitting comments.
Reign of Terror (1949)
In one scene a character lights a candle using a match. Unfortunately, at the time of the French revolution (1789ish), flint and steel with a tinder box and sulphur-tipped tapers--- called "spunks"--- were the usual means of obtaining fire.
Sparks, made by striking the flint and steel, were made to fall upon the tinder (usually charred cotton or linen) which then took on enough of a glow to ignite the sulphur on the spunk.
In 1805, a chap named Chancel, an assistant to Professor L.J. Thenard of Paris, came up with a process of dipping a stick coated with sulphur and tipped with a mixture of potassium chlorate and sugar, into a bottle containing asbestos fibres soaked with sulphuric acid. The sulphuric acid reacted with the potassium chlorate to produce a flame.
The first practical friction matches --- the "Congreves" , named after Sir William COngreve, the inventor of the Congreve rocket, were invented in England in 1827 by John Walker, a druggist of Stockton-on-Tees. These consisted of a stick coated with sulphur and tipped with antimony sulphide, potassium chlorate and gum. With each box (which sold for a shilling, a not insubstantial sum at the time) came a piece of glass-coated paper. To light the Congreve you folded the paper and drew the stick between the folds.
Sorry for the long diversion, but there is a, to my mind, rather silly requirement that at least ten lines be submitted. I wonder what Julius "Veni, Vidi, Vici" Caesar would have said to that.
Beau Hunks (1931)
The title is not without its own humour
Although "Beau Geste" had already been made
with Ronald Coleman in 1926, "Beau Hunks" is not just a funny play on words.
Unlike today, being called a hunk was not a compliment. In those days, "Hunk," "Hunky," or "Bohunk" was a pejorative term for an Eastern European --- (It's a conflation of "Bohemian" and "Hungarian.) The general connotation of the term was that of a stupid, not necessarily clean, undesirable immigrant. So to call someone a Bohunk was quite an insult.
It's a pity that the extremely stupid guidelines require ten lines of text, when I could have said everything in five. Are they perhaps taken from the IRS tech-writing standards for tax laws?
Boy! What a Girl! (1947)
If this film had been made with Hope & Crosby in the leading roles it would probably be considered one of the all-time great comedies. Because the characters were Negro, it's been relegated to the hinterlands. For years it was in obscurity until TCM showed it a few years ago. I was lucky enough to tape it. However, it has now come out on DVD!! A place called deepdiscount something-or-other lists it.
I have seen (more than once) all the road films, as well as many of the comedies form the golden age of movies. Tis film can hold it's own with any of them. However, the viewer has to be able to disabuse himself of modern PC-like considerations and accept the film for what it was--- a race movie aimed a a target audience.
The Devil's Brother (1933)
Mistranslation of title
"The Devil's brother" is not an accurate translation of "Fra Diavolo." "Fra" in this sense was for "frater" not "fratello". Frater, of course, being a title for a religious who was not a priest. It was a common practice to address such a person as "Fra Giovanni" (brother John). Because of the bloodthirstiness of the actual person, Azzolino da Romano,(who was mentioned in Dante's "Inferno"- XII), he was nicknamed "Brother Devil"; in particular for his massacre of the citizens of Padua.