|Oh no! Tell me it isn't so!|
I was still young and wearing the proverbial rose-colored glasses. I was totally shocked when I found out that an intense love scene, occurring in the middle of the movie, might be the first scene shot, between actors who had just said hello for the first time. I almost had a heart attack when I learned the truth about the filming of my favorite scene in Jezebel, with Bette Davis on her knees in her beautiful white dress professing remorse and love to Henry Fonda. Fonda wasn't even there?! They were never together in that scene?! He had shot his lines looking into thin air, then left to be with his wife, who was having a baby. Bette was looking into thin air as well when she performed her part. Oy, the anguish! Then it hit me -- if they really had been standing together, looking at each other, wouldn't you see a camera behind him and a camera behind her? Jeez Louise! More and more such technical details began to crowd into my brain. None of that had ever occurred to me before. Had I stepped into the Twilight Zone? No, I had taken that big reluctant step into reality, and I didn't like it one little bit.
Well, I got over it. That is when I really started studying films, not just watching them. I learned a new-found admiration for acting as a technical art, as well as an instinctual gift. I still don't know how they do it! Pieces shot here and there, bits of dialogue, several unrelated scenes in one day. It's amazing that any performance turns out smoothly, much less with the kind of genius we see in so many of the best films. Equally awe-inspiring is the work of the director, crew, everybody behind the scenes who make the mish-mosh of film snippets into a work of art.
So what was the interesting memory that struck me? Well, at least to movie audiences, probably the least-appreciated, least-recognized member of the crew -- the person who has the job of making sure that Humphrey Bogart's cigarette is still only half-smoked in a short scene that might be shot in 3 pieces -- the one who is responsible for checking to be certain that Myrna Loy's cocktail is the same color from one second to the next At the lower end of the pecking order in moviedom, it's the script girl. No gender exclusion intended -- it always seems to be a girl in classic movies. Probably because it was considered rather a secretarial position, also called script clerk or script reader. These very important members of the crew were usually uncredited, and probably paid minimum wage. And for the most part, they did a fantastic job.
Every movie has such mistakes -- there are any number of websites and blogs written by people who specialize in watching movies second by second and find every flaw. That is their hobby, and they enjoy it. For myself, I just would not want to live with my finger on the pause button, or whatever is done, to find out if Harry Potter's broken glasses were taped on the right side or the left from scene to scene. You can also find tons of Youtube videos with mistakes and bloopers.
I would love to hear what you may have seen or learned about interesting mistakes in movies. But before that, I want to pay special tribute to three unsung women There were more than a few mistakes for which they were responsible in the movie they worked on -- but frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. Gone With the Wind is almost 4 hours of hypnotic movie greatness, and as for mistakes, I never noticed. Here's to the three ladies who helped make sure that Scarlett O'Hara wore the same earrings as she walked up the stairs of Twelve Oaks -- Connie Earl, Franclein Macconel and Lydia Schiller. A little posthumous recognition is well-deserved!
I'm so glad you stopped by to read my post. Now you can have the link to Dorian's article -- http://doriantb.blogspot.com/2011/07/double-indemnity-secret-life-of-walter.html.