Pacific Treefrog Calling Sounds Used Incorrectly In Moviesby Satantangoandcash | created - 10 Nov 2013 | updated - 2 weeks ago | Public
None of these comments should contain any plot spoilers but if you are spoiler phobic just look at the movie titles.
Every kind of frog and toad makes its own call during its breeding season, which is typically in the Spring. But the "rib-it" call made only by the Pacific Treefrog has been used as a background nocturnal sound since sound was first added to movies. Usually we hear a chorus of Pacific Treefrogs calling. Sometimes the calls are used during daylight when there is water nearby, and frequently we hear the call when we see another kind of frog that makes a completely different call.
(You can hear a small chorus of Pacific Treefrogs here: http://www.californiaherps.com/sounds/ptfrogsimdb.mp3)
When you hear background sounds in a movie, most of the time they were not recorded with the picture, they were added later. This has led to many bird and frog sounds being heard in movies in locations where they are not found. Pacific Treefrogs are the frogs most often heard at night in southern California where most movies used to be made. When Hollywood sound recordists went outside the studios at night to record nocturnal sounds, they often recorded the calls of Pacific Treefrogs. Those calls were added later to the sound tracks of many films. The calls also ended up in pre-recorded sound effects collections used by film sound designers. These sounds set a precedent for what the audience as well as the filmmakers expected to hear outdoors at night in movies.
But Pacific Treefrogs are not found east of the Rocky Mountains. Hearing them calling outdoors in a movie that is set anywhere outside of the western part of North America is a mistake. Since most film sound design is concerned with what the audience expects to hear, not with what one can actually hear at a location, and since the precedent was already set, the mistake was repeated throughout the 20th century and even into the 21st century.
I'm not trying to be the sound effects police with this list; hearing these frogs calling in the wrong place doesn't ruin a movie for me at all, and it shouldn't ruin a movie for anybody. I just like to make lists. I should also point out that I have watched many hundreds if not thousands of films that did not use the sounds incorrectly.
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1. Charley Varrick (1973)
PG | 111 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A man, his wife, and their friend, stage a bloody bank robbery, unaware they are stealing money from the Mob.
Somewhere in New Mexico at night we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in New Mexico.
2. Hud (1963)
Not Rated | 112 min | Drama, Western
Honest and hard-working Texas rancher Homer Bannon has a conflict with his unscrupulous, selfish, arrogant and egotistical son Hud, who sank into alcoholism after accidentally killing his brother in a car crash.
Votes: 18,742 | Gross: $10.00M
At night in rural Texas we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Texas.
3. The Lady Eve (1941)
Passed | 94 min | Comedy, Romance
A trio of classy card sharks targets the socially awkward heir to brewery millions for his money, until one of them falls in love with him.
During scenes at night outside a mansion somewhere in Connecticut we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Connecticut.
4. The Last Picture Show (1971)
R | 118 min | Drama, Romance
In 1951, a group of high schoolers come of age in a bleak, isolated, atrophied North Texas town that is slowly dying, both culturally and economically.
Votes: 40,562 | Gross: $29.13M
At night in West Texas when a car is driving by a lake we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Texas.
5. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Passed | 126 min | Adventure, Drama, Western
Two Americans searching for work in Mexico convince an old prospector to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains.
Votes: 109,830 | Gross: $5.01M
In the mountains of Mexico, during scenes at night we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Mexico outside of Baja California.
6. The Palm Beach Story (1942)
Passed | 88 min | Comedy, Romance
An inventor needs cash to develop his big idea. His wife, who loves him, decides to raise it for him by divorcing him and marrying a millionaire.
Votes: 10,414 | Gross: $0.44M
During a night in Palm Beach, Florida, we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Florida.
7. Witness (1985)
R | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
When a young Amish boy is sole witness to a murder, policeman John Book goes into hiding in Amish country to protect him until the trial.
Votes: 83,190 | Gross: $68.71M
Set in Amish country in Northeast of the United State. At night we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling along with other frog sounds. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in that part of the country.
8. It Happened One Night (1934)
Approved | 105 min | Comedy, Romance
A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.
Votes: 89,957 | Gross: $4.36M
When a bus stops in the country at night somewhere between Florida and New York we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found on the east coast.
9. The Tree of Life (2011)
PG-13 | 139 min | Drama, Fantasy
The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents' conflicting teachings.
Votes: 163,787 | Gross: $13.30M
Takes place in Waco Texas but several times we hear choruses of Pacific Treefrogs. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Texas.
10. Badlands (1973)
PG | 94 min | Crime, Drama
An impressionable teenage girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend embark on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands.
We hear choruses of Pacific Treefrogs in the daytime near a river in South Dakota. Pacific Treefrogs are not found South Dakota.
11. Gilda (1946)
Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Romance
A small-time gambler hired to work in a Buenos Aires casino discovers his employer's new wife is his former lover.
In Buenos Aires, Argentina, at night we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Argentina.
12. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Approved | 129 min | Crime, Drama
Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice.
The film is set in Alabama. At night we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Alabama.
13. Body Heat (1981)
R | 113 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman persuades her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband.
Votes: 29,711 | Gross: $24.06M
During a heat wave in Florida we hear lots of Pacific Treefrogs calling along with Pig frogs and other native Florida frogs. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Florida.
14. Leaves of Grass (2009)
R | 105 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
An Ivy League professor is lured back to his Oklahoma hometown, where his twin brother, a small-time pot grower, has concocted a scheme to take down a local drug lord.
Votes: 26,200 | Gross: $0.07M
During the day at a lake in Oklahoma where Edward Norton is watching Keri Russel noodling for catfish, we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Oklahoma.
15. Out of Sight (1998)
R | 123 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
A career bank robber breaks out of jail, and shares a moment of mutual attraction with a U.S. Marshal he has kidnapped.
Votes: 82,753 | Gross: $37.56M
During a night scene at Glades prison in Florida during a prison break we hear a small chorus of Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Florida.
16. Suspicion (1941)
Not Rated | 99 min | Mystery, Thriller
A shy young heiress marries a charming gentleman, and soon begins to suspect he is planning to murder her.
Votes: 31,009 | Gross: $4.50M
Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine stop outside her house at night somewhere in England and we hear a chorus of Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in England.
17. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
PG | 138 min | Drama, Sci-Fi
Roy Neary, an electric lineman, watches how his quiet and ordinary daily life turns upside down after a close encounter with a UFO.
Votes: 177,638 | Gross: $132.09M
At the beginning of the film, at night in Indiana, when small flying saucers are being seen flying near a road, we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Indiana.
18. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
PG-13 | 107 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime
In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.
Votes: 276,037 | Gross: $45.51M
Somewhere in the South, Everett and Delmar wake up on the banks of a stream and find only Pete's clothing spread out on the ground as if he had evaporated. A leopard frog crawls out of Pete's clothing and Delmar thinks it's Pete who has been turned into a "toad" as they continue to call it throughout the movie. As it hops into the water it makes the sound of a Pacific Treefrog. Delmar catches it and keeps it in a box until Big Dan the bible salesman Cyclops squashes the frog in his hand and throws it at a tree. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in the South. Leopard frogs don't sound like Pacific Treefrogs.
19. The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1943)
Approved | 98 min | Comedy, Romance, War
After an all-night send-off party for the troops, a small-town girl wakes up to find herself married and pregnant, but with no memory of her husband's identity.
We hear a chorus of Pacific Treefrogs at night from the front porch and street in the town of Morgan's Creek, and outside of town, which is in an unknown state in the Midwest. At one point, the daughter tells her father she hears a siren and he tells her it's a "tree toad." Pacific Treefrogs are not found in the Midwest.
20. A Shot in the Dark (1964)
PG | 102 min | Comedy, Mystery
Inspector Jacques Clouseau investigates the murder of Mr. Benjamin Ballon's driver at a country estate.
Votes: 24,878 | Gross: $12.37M
We hear Pacific Treefrogs several times during night scenes at a millionaire's mansion in Paris. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in France.
21. Jacob's Ladder (I) (1990)
R | 113 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
Mourning his dead child, a haunted Vietnam War veteran attempts to uncover his past while suffering from a severe case of dissociation. To do so, he must decipher reality and life from his own dreams, delusions, and perceptions of death.
Votes: 95,666 | Gross: $26.12M
In the opening scene of helicopters flying at night over the Mekong Delta in Viet Nam we hear a chorus of Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Viet Nam.
22. Shane (1953)
Not Rated | 118 min | Drama, Western
A weary gunfighter attempts to settle down with a homestead family, but a smoldering settler/rancher conflict forces him to act.
Votes: 35,676 | Gross: $20.00M
During night scenes at a homestead next to a river in Wyoming we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling in the distance. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Wyoming.
23. Stalker (1979)
Not Rated | 162 min | Drama, Sci-Fi
A guide leads two men through an area known as the Zone to find a room that grants wishes.
Votes: 109,154 | Gross: $0.23M
The Writer and the Scientist have just snuck into the Zone with the help of the Stalker. It is morning near water when we hear a few Pacific Treefrogs calling. We hear them once again in daylight when they are farther into the Zone. I don't think we know exactly where the Zone is, but the film was made in Russia by Russians, and Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Russia. I don't know Russian frog calls either, so it's possible there is one that sounds like the PT frog, but that is unlikely.
24. Red River (1948)
Passed | 133 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Dunson leads a cattle drive, the culmination of over 14 years of work, to its destination in Missouri. But his tyrannical behavior along the way causes a mutiny, led by his adopted son.
John Waye and Walter Brennan camp next to the Red River on the Texas/Oklahoma border. At night we hear a chorus of Pacific Treefrogs. We hear them later at night when the cattle drive gets back to the Red River and when they are camped in Oklahoma. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Texas or Oklahoma.
25. The Searchers (1956)
Passed | 119 min | Adventure, Drama, Western
An American Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from the Comanches.
Somewhere in Texas, some men are sneaking up on an Indian camp at night, wading across a small body of water, and we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling, with the typical loud low-pitched one in the foreground. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Texas. And Monument Valley is not found in Texas, either.
26. The Stranger (1946)
Not Rated | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
An investigator from the War Crimes Commission travels to Connecticut to find an infamous Nazi.
Pacific Treefrogs are heard calling at night in the woods near a small town in Connecticut when a group of men are searching for a dead body and during other night scenes. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Connecticut.
27. The Big Red One (1980)
R | 113 min | Drama, War
A hardened sergeant and the four core members of his infantry unit try to survive World War II as they move from battle to battle throughout Europe.
At night at a forest somewhere in Czechoslovakia during the war we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Czechoslovakia.
28. Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
Passed | 124 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
A suave but cynical man supports his family by marrying and murdering rich women for their money, but the job has some occupational hazards.
Votes: 15,101 | Gross: $0.33M
At a house somewhere in France, a maid opens a window at night and we hear the sound of a few Pacific Treefrogs for a few seconds. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in France.
29. Return of the Secaucus Seven (1979)
R | 104 min | Drama
Seven former college friends, along with a few new friends, gather for a weekend reunion at a summer house in New Hampshire to reminisce about the good old days, when they got arrested on the way to a protest in Washington, DC.
Votes: 1,877 | Gross: $2.00M
Pacific Treefrogs are heard calling at night in many scenes. The movie was filmed and probably set in New Hampshire where Pacific Treefrogs are not found.
30. Inherit the Wind (1960)
Passed | 128 min | Biography, Drama, History
Based on a real-life case in 1925, two great lawyers argue the case for and against a science teacher accused of the crime of teaching evolution.
At night in the town of Hillsboro, when the preacher is giving a speech, we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling in the background. The film is based on the Scopes Monkey trial which took place in Dayton, Tennessee, so I assume Hillsboro is in Tennessee. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Tennessee.
31. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
R | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History
In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.
Votes: 616,160 | Gross: $56.67M
At night on a plantation in Georgia, when Solomon goes outside to write a letter, we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Georgia.
32. Frogs (1972)
PG | 91 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi
A group of helpless victims celebrate a birthday on an island estate crawling with killer amphibians, birds, insects, and reptiles.
Votes: 5,628 | Gross: $0.48M
We hear lots of Pacific Treefrogs calling near a lake in Florida. We see Cane Toads -(Rhinella marinus) calling like Pacific Treefrogs, with the calls synced to the movement of the toads' throats as they are breathing to make it look like they're calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Florida, and Cane toads do not sound like Pacific Treefrogs. Other than that, everything else in this film is 100 percent scientifically accurate... ... ...
33. Venomous (2001 Video)
PG-13 | 97 min | Action, Drama, Horror
Mutant snakes survived a terrorist attack on a government laboratory, and they now threaten the town of Santa Mira Springs, California. Seismic activity has brought snakes to the surface, ... See full summary »
At a backyard pond at night in the Mojave Desert we see a female bullfrog and hear the sound of a Pacific Treefrog calling, before, Spoiler Alert!, one of the genetically-mutated killer rattlesnakes gets it.
34. Django Unchained (2012)
R | 165 min | Drama, Western
With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.
Votes: 1,299,875 | Gross: $162.81M
This film, set mostly in the antebellum South, gets credit for using location-accurate frog calls in most places - Green Treefrogs, Cricket Frogs, Spring Peepers, etc., but they can't resist throwing in some Pacific Treefrogs too. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in the South.
35. Days of Heaven (1978)
PG | 94 min | Drama, Romance
A hot-tempered farm laborer convinces the woman he loves to marry their rich but dying boss so that they can have a claim to his fortune.
In the Texas panhandle we see a leopard frog from behind and we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Then we hear more PT frogs calling as we see elk feeding in a wetland. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Texas.
36. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003)
R | 103 min | Drama, Romance
A boy is raised by a Buddhist monk in an isolated floating temple where the years pass like the seasons.
Votes: 74,722 | Gross: $2.38M
Pacific Treefrogs are heard at night near an isolated lake somewhere in Korea, where they are not to be found. It's possible there are frogs in Korea with a similar call, but I doubt it.
37. Stray Dog (1949)
Not Rated | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
During a sweltering summer, a rookie homicide detective tries to track down his stolen Colt pistol.
We hear a chorus of Pacific Treefrogs calling loudly at night at a detective's home in the country near Tokyo, Japan. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Japan.
38. Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)
R | 122 min | Biography, Drama, Western
Pat Garrett is hired as a lawman on behalf of a group of wealthy New Mexico cattle barons to bring down his old friend Billy the Kid.
Votes: 17,433 | Gross: $0.95M
As several people on a raft float down a river somewhere in New Mexico in daylight we hear a small chorus of Pacific Treefrogs. There are no Pacific Treefrogs in New Mexico.
39. The Hunger Games (2012)
PG-13 | 142 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games: a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death.
Votes: 823,541 | Gross: $408.01M
We hear Pacific Treefrogs calling in the background in the countryside during the games. The location where the games are held is not mentioned, but it does not seem to be west of the Rocky Mountains where these frogs occur. Some people think the location is in Canada, and PT frogs do occur on the west coast of Canada, but that is doubtful since the Capital is in the Rockies, and Katniss' district is in the Appalachians.
40. Friendly Persuasion (1956)
Passed | 137 min | Drama, Romance, War
The pacifist attitude of a Quaker family is tested as a result of the American Civil War.
Gary Cooper and his family are Quakers who live on a farm in southern Indiana. At night we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Indiana.
41. The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
Passed | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A major heist goes off as planned, until bad luck and double crosses cause everything to unravel.
This takes place somewhere close to Cleveland and Kentucky, probably east of the Mississippi River. When a man dumps a corpse in a river at night, we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs do not occur east of the Rocky Mountains.
42. Kansas City Confidential (1952)
Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
An ex-con trying to go straight is framed for a million dollar armored car robbery and must go to Mexico in order to unmask the real culprits.
At night, a thug jumps off a getaway truck that drove into the country from Kansas City and we hear Pacific Treefrogs calling. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Missouri or Kansas.
43. Jezebel (1938)
Approved | 104 min | Drama, Romance
In 1850s Louisiana, a free-spirited Southern belle loses her fiancé due to her stubborn vanity and pride, and vows to win him back.
We see Bette Davis walking through a swamp at night somewhere near New Orleans, and, in a lousy example of sound design, we hear a single Pacific Treefrog Calling and repeated again and again. After a series of calls, there is an unnatural sound as if the frog was cut off in mid call, making it obvious that the sound effect was looped. Pacific Treefrogs are not found in Louisiana.
44. The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
Passed | 116 min | Biography, Drama