Best crime movie mistakes of 1981
Factual error: Regardless of how bad an attorney he is, Ned Racine must surely know that his acquittal for murder is a shoe-in. It's very doubtful that the prosecution would have even held out for remand in his case, and in fact they probably would not have even charged him in the first place. The fact that his fingerprints are on Edmund Walker's glasses is irrelevant. He and Racine were seen in public together, notably in the restaurant, and he freely admits to being in Walker's house. He could have handled Walker's glasses on any one of these occasions. The conversation Racine has with Ted about building the firebomb cannot be used in court, as Ted fires Racine as his lawyer at his second meeting; everything from the first is covered by attorney-client privilege. Maddy obviously isn't around to give evidence, and the yearbook entry Racine finds throws suspicion on her (and away from Racine) immediately. There are no witnesses and no forensic evidence, in fact there is nothing to support the prosecution case except a vague suspicion based upon his having had an affair with the widow-to-be. No court in the US would entertain the case for a minute (yes, I am a criminal lawyer).
Continuity mistake: In the final scene of the movie, on the highway, Cora (Jessica Lange) is ejected from the car Frank (Jack Nicholson) is driving, hits the ground, dies instantly after the impact, and rolls over to the shoulder of the road. Weeping, Frank kneels by her side and holds her motionless right hand with his right hand, which, of course, has no wedding ring (They had just been married.) The next and last close-up shot shows he's holding her right hand with his LEFT HAND, the wide gold wedding ring appearing now in full sight.
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