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The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) Poster

Goofs

Crew or equipment visible 

You can clearly see wire attached to the flying bat.
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Anachronisms 

The song "You Stepped Out of a Dream" was not released until 1940, 15 years later than when the film takes place.
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The airplane featured is a De Havilland Hornet Moth which was not manufactured until 1934, nine years after this movie is set.
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The Clockwork Band plays "One For My Baby and One More For the Road," sung by a Frank Sinatra imitator. The song was written in 1943; Sinatra recorded it in 1947.
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The film is set in 1925. The automobiles, airplane, and film projector seem to be from the 1920s, but the house interiors, including the lights around Dr. Phibes' organ, and clothing appear to be early 1970s "mod" style. At the end Dr. Phibes plays "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" which was written in 1935.
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Seconds after Dr. Kitaj arrives at the London Aeroplane Club, contrails appear over the left side of the hangar roof. In the 1920s, no aircraft flew high enough to create contrails.
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In 1925, UK civilian aircraft did not require the ID lettering that modern aircraft do.
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The organ Dr. Phibes uses is clearly meant to be a Wurlitzer style theatre pipe organ, complete with elevating mechanism. The sounds we hear at the beginning are clearly from a baroque style church organ, which has a different action and pipe rank arrangement. Later in the film the sound clearly comes from a Hammond tonewheel organ with rotary speaker cabinet (Leslie) on slow speed (chorale). The latter was introduced in 1941.
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A clockwork music box plays "Elmer's Tune," which was written in 1941.
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The rotating speaker effect, heard on the organ at the beginning of the film, was invented in 1941.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When he plays the organ, Dr. Phibes' hand movements almost never match the music we hear.
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Continuity 

During the operation scene, Vulnavia is seen cutting a hole in the painted backdrop through the face of a seated man. Inspector Trout and Tom are subsequently seen putting their heads through two slashes in the backdrop, one of which is located above this hole. But after Vulnavia's death, as Trout orders his police constables to search the house, the holes for their heads have disappeared.
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When the nurse is killed, the color of her hair changes dramatically from a beautiful red to a horrible gray (obviously to increase the horror).
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After Vulnavia dances with Phibes, he lowers the cage of bats into the cellar. Vulnavia runs up the stairs, then appears downstairs seconds later, in different clothes.
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During the operation Vulnavia attacks a painted backdrop with an Axe. She is shown alternating between being in front of it and behind it in quick succession.
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Crew or equipment visible 

In the shot where the car is chasing the plane before takeoff, you can see the shadow of the camera and camera man.
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Factual errors 

The Ten Plagues of Egypt are wrongly depicted, both in order of appearance and what they actually were. According to the book of Exodus, the Ten Plagues were: 1. Water to blood, 2. Frogs, 3. Gnats, 4. Flies, 5. Pestilence (upon the beasts of Egypt), 6. Boils, 7. Hail, 8. Locusts, 9. Darkness, and 10. Death of the Firstborn (Exodus 7:14 - 12:36). The correct names are written in Hebrew but the rabbi reads "pestilence" as "bats" and "gnats" as "rats". The first and second plagues on the scroll are moved down to be the fifth and sixth plagues. Finally, the rabbi incorrectly reads the plagues from left to right instead of right to left as is normal for Hebrew thus changing the order of the plagues even more so.
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The bats seen in the first murder are fruit bats. They would never eat flesh, they eat fruits or lick nectar from flowers.
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Plot holes 

We learn that the doctor's face is disfigured so badly that he cannot open his mouth anymore and instead he has a gullet opening at his neck. However, he could not eat any solid food (since he could not chew it), but he does so in the movie.
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Revealing mistakes 

Virginia North smiles broadly as she dances with Vincent Price. Her face is concealed most of the time, but if you look closely, you can see her face for a moment, and she is clearly trying not to laugh at Vincent Price's deliberately camp performance.
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The amount of Bats that kill Dr Dunwoody could never have come from the small cage that was lowered into his bedroom.
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Wires are attached to one of the flying bats.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Character error 

In the closing sequence, when the surgeon's son is chained to the operating table, Dr. Phibes says several times that he will have 6 minutes before the acid falls. The continuous, uninterrupted sequence runs 5 1/2 minutes from the time Dr. Phibes starts the flow of the acid to the moment it falls in Vulnavia's face.
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Continuity 

After Dr. Longstreet dies, his maid tells the inspector that she heard someone playing the violin at half past two in the morning. Dr. Phibes' assistant played the violin in broad daylight.
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During the murder of the nurse, when Phibes puts the outline of her body on the floor and drills a hole through the head, he looks through the hole he drilled but the view he has of her has her body lying in the opposite direction from the outline he laid on the floor.
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Plot holes 

It is established that Phibes is murdering the surgeons he hold responsible for the death of his wife; but at the masked party, Dr. Hargreaves introduces himself as a psychiatrist.
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See also

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

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