Factual error: Two men are trying to start a John Deere Model D tractor, which backfires, startling the horse. The wrong sound effect is used; it sounds like a V8 engine being turned over by an electric starter. The tractor's flywheel, on the left side, is shown stationary. Turning the flywheel by hand is the usual starting procedure for a JD tractor of '30s vintage. For over 40 years John Deere tractors used a two-cylinder engine, which make a distinctive popping exhaust sound. The movie is right on one thing, JD tractors could backfire.
Factual error: Pollard did not lose his sight in a fight, as the film suggests. He lost it when he was galloping a horse for exercise and a horse going in the opposite direction kicked up a clod of dirt that struck him at the base of skull and knocked out the cerebellum on his left lobe. (right side, left lobe).
Factual error: When Red Pollard is showing the doctor his homemade brace, his bare leg shows no sign of having been nearly severed or of undergoing multiple surgeries. There are no scars, atrophied muscles, or discoloration of any kind. In reality, Pollard's leg was permanently disfigured.
Factual error: When Frankie Howard died he was not alone - he had two friends with him who were either thrown clear or managed to get clear after the crash. Also, it was not his father that was the first one on the scene. Frankie's friends headed off and summoned a man called Doc (I can't remember his surname) with limited medical knowledge he used for the local lumberjacks.
Factual error: During the times where Red is in the hospital, they show Red several times with a cotton blanket with a certain type of weaving they didn't use until the 1960's. In the 30's they were still using single weave blankets. Kind of hard to explain, but older nurses could tell you.
Factual error: There is a scene at Saratoga where the grandstand is viewed from the backstretch. In the 30's the grandstand was not that large. Since then, there have been several additions to the grandstand. You can plainly see the new clubhouse (the white area on the left) which was just added recently. In fact this particular view should have shown the "Wilson Mile" chute which is no longer in existence but was in the 30's.
Factual error: In the scene where Red is with the Mexican girl and half the screen goes dark to show that he's blind in one eye, it should actually be less than half the screen. The visual fields of the eyes overlap to allow for depth perception. You can see for yourself by putting a pencil vertically at the tip of your nose and closing one eye - if you look straight ahead you can still see things on the other side of the pencil. Red should be able to see slightly more than half of what's in front of him.
Factual error: The doctors tell Red he has broken his leg in 13 places, however the X-ray shown later is not indicative of an injury of that nature. The two fractures you see in the X-rays are considered non-unions (fractures that aren't healed properly and are unstable) but we should also see some type of hardware that would be needed for that many fractures. Surgeons have been using internal screws on fractures since the turn of the century.
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