Charles Austin Miller

New this week Revealing mistake: At the end of "Hot Patootie," an enraged Frank-N-Furter snatches an ice axe from the deep-freezer and menaces the terrified Eddie. There is no blood seen in the freezer at this point. Frank swings his first blow and completely misses Eddie, who is scampering into the deep-freeze several feet ahead of Frank. There is no blood seen in the freezer at this point, either. Frank then pursues Eddie into the fog at the back of the deep-freezer and viciously murders him with the ice axe (a genuinely horrifying scene as Tim Curry plays it, but the murder occurs entirely off-camera). But as Frank emerges from the freezer moments later, we see a splattered and gory trail of fresh blood leading into the freezer, as though Frank had already mortally wounded the escaping Eddie. This looks as though footage from an alternate and more graphically violent version of this scene was left in the revised scene, causing the gory blood trail to appear out of nowhere. (00:45:15)

Charles Austin Miller
Video

New this month Trivia: In this regrettable comedy-filler for NBC Television, writer/director Michael O'Donoghue (of "National Lampoon" and "Saturday Night Live" fame in the mid-1970s) presented a jumbled showcase of tasteless, cruel, stupid and unfunny sketches that managed to stoop lower than low production quality and dubious entertainment value. Even the very liberal NBC considered O'Donoghue's video beneath network standards and it was rejected for broadcast. As an example of the video's dismal offerings, one brief segment featured a deadpan Dan Aykroyd removing his shoes to reveal his real-life genetic deformities: His second and third toes are fused together on both feet. Aykroyd prodded his toes with a screwdriver to prove the deformities were real. NBC was not amused. (00:20:25)

Charles Austin Miller

9th Aug 2019

Taken (2002)

Jacob and Jesse - S1-E2

Revealing mistake: Air Force Colonel Owen Crawford and his two personal assistants are poring over classified intelligence files in the Colonel's office. When they start to review a slideshow of photographs, one assistant sets up a projector screen and turns off the office lights as the other assistant switches on the slide projector. Photographic images immediately appear on the screen in the background, but the first assistant is still standing directly in front of the slide projector in the foreground. Not only does he not eclipse the projected image on the screen, but no projected image appears on the assistant's body. Obviously, the images on the screen in the background are projected from another source far off-camera. (00:48:50)

Charles Austin Miller
Video

Trivia: In this rather clunking classic murder mystery, the closing gimmick of the film is a sequence of several otherwise unremarkable supporting characters grandly removing their heavy latex makeup to reveal A-List Hollywood movie stars who played mundane roles in the film. The heavily-disguised stars in this film include Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum, Burt Lancaster and Frank Sinatra. Director John Huston (who also made a cameo appearance in the film) tried to convince Elizabeth Taylor to play a disguised part in this movie, as well; but, when Taylor learned that her lovely face would be completely hidden under heavy latex, she turned down the role.

Charles Austin Miller

6th Aug 2019

General questions

This has been annoying the hell out of me for years. I'm thinking of an early 1960s (?) black and white American movie that features numerous cameos by A-List Hollywood actors who are so heavily made-up (with wigs and latex facial prosthetics) that they are all thoroughly unrecognizable. At the end of the film, as a complete surprise, there is a sequence of each of these otherwise unremarkable cameo characters removing their makeup for a big reveal. For example, a plain, middle-aged woman who only appeared for a few seconds onscreen grandly removes her latex face to reveal none other than Burt Lancaster. I believe Robert Mitchum and Tony Curtis were also among the reveals. What is this film?

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: "The List of Adrian Messenger" (1963). Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum, and Tony Curtis, along with Kirk Douglas and Frank Sinatra, remove their heavy makeup during the epilogue to reveal who they are. Although Lancaster and Sinatra didn't actual portray the characters they claimed to have been.

Bishop73

Thank you. The name of this movie has been on the tip of my tongue for many years.

Charles Austin Miller

New this week Love this movie as a kid. It's rarely shown on TV anymore, but it is (or was) available for free on YouTube.

raywest Premium member

New this week Lancaster, Curtis, Sinatra, and Mitchum did indeed portray those characters in heavy make-up. However, their voices were dubbed over by other actors, Otherwise, the audience would have recognized their actual voices, spoiling the surprise reveal at the end.

raywest Premium member

Incidentally, director John Huston (who also made a cameo appearance in the film) tried to convince Elizabeth Taylor to play a disguised part in this movie; but, when Taylor learned that her lovely face would be completely hidden under heavy latex, she turned down the role.

Charles Austin Miller

Yesterday's Enterprise - S3-E15

Question: The ever-popular gag in this episode is that Worf consumes prune juice for the first time and declares that it is a "warrior's drink," to Guinan's amusement. However, Worf was adopted as a child by human parents, he grew up on Earth, he was highly educated and graduated Star Fleet Academy on Earth. Given the reputation of prune juice as a natural laxative throughout human history, how could Worf not know what prune juice is, having lived most of his life on Earth?

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: There's nothing to indicate that Worf had never heard of prune juice before, just that he had never tried it before. He doesn't recognize the smell or taste of the drink as prune juice because he's never had it before. But that doesn't mean he has no idea what prune juice is, or that it is used as a natural laxative. In a later episode Guinan directly asks Worf's parents why he never had prune juice prior to her serving him the drink. They answer that as a child Worf refused to eat human food of any kind, everything he consumed had to be Klingon. Other episodes show that Klingons tend to despise human food in general for being bland. It stands to reason that someone who shows no outward interest in human food might not know what prune juice is usually used for. But then again, maybe he does know and he doesn't care because prune juice is delicious to him.

BaconIsMyBFF

Thanks for reminding me about that later episode, although I think the later prune juice explanation from Worf's adoptive parents was scripted to address many fan questions along the same lines as my own.

Charles Austin Miller

29th Jul 2019

Mortal Engines (2018)

Continuity mistake: The Stalker, "Shrike," is a persistent hunter, but not terribly quick on his feet. He's sort of a lurching, Frankenstein-like cyborg who is always pursuing Hester Shaw at about walking speed. When Valentine frees Shrike from Sharkmoor prison, miles out to sea, we see Valentine in his airship destroying the prison and we see Shrike's prison cell sink to the sea floor. This cuts to a long distance shot of the prison exploding and sinking in the far background, miles away, as Valentine's airship comes sweeping from the far background into the foreground and out of frame. Almost immediately, Shrike emerges from the surf in the foreground and slowly trudges ashore, implying that he somehow travelled miles across the sea floor just as swiftly as did the airship, in a matter of moments, despite his slow, lumbering gait. (00:47:40)

Charles Austin Miller

Hawkins: I've got it! I've got it! The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true! Right?
Griselda: Right, but there's been a change. They broke the chalice from the palace.
Hawkins: They broke the chalice from the palace?!
Griselda: And replaced it with a flagon.
Hawkins: A flagon?
Griselda: With the figure of a dragon.
Hawkins: Flagon with a dragon.
Griselda: Right.
Hawkins: But did you put the pellet with the poison in the vessel with the pestle?
Griselda: No! The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon! The vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true!
Hawkins: The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.
Griselda: Just remember that.

Charles Austin Miller

Trivia: Dick Van Dyke starred in this 1968 film about a fellow who purchases and restores a magical motorcar and must protect it from the greedy clutches of a conniving foreign tyrant; and, of course, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" became a children's classic. Ironically, three years earlier, in 1965, Jerry Van Dyke (Dick's younger brother) starred in an NBC television situation-comedy about a fellow who purchases and restores a magical motorcar and must protect it from the greedy clutches of a conniving car collector. Widely panned by critics as the worst-ever idea for a TV series, "My Mother the Car" was cancelled in 1966 after one season, and the good-natured Jerry Van Dyke always admitted that the series was the very definition of bad television.

Charles Austin Miller

Trivia: Widely panned by critics as the worst-ever idea for a TV series, "My Mother the Car" followed the antics of Jerry Van Dyke as he purchases and restores a magical motorcar and must protect it from the greedy clutches of a conniving car collector. The show was cancelled in 1966 after one season, and the good-natured Jerry Van Dyke always readily admitted that the series was the very definition of bad television. Ironically, two years later, in 1968, Jerry's older brother (Dick Van Dyke) starred in a film about a fellow who purchases and restores a magical motorcar and must protect it from the greedy clutches of a conniving foreign tyrant. "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" became a children's classic.

Charles Austin Miller

16th Jul 2019

The Munsters (1964)

Trivia: From its inception, "The Munsters" was supposed to be produced in full color, and its earliest pilot was, in fact, shot in full color. The only reason the series was shot in black and white was because both CBS Television and Universal Studios refused to pay the additional $10,000 per episode for color.

Charles Austin Miller

The Addams Policy - S2-E28

Trivia: Throughout the various television treatments and feature films over many decades, the Addams Family storyline frequently concerned the family's fabulous and mysterious fortune, which was always the target of nefarious (and doomed) flim-flam schemes. However, it was almost never explained how the Addams Family obtained their incredible riches. In this episode from the original TV series, Gomez and Morticia finally revealed the diverse sources of their wealth: Gomez cites his mango plantation, "Mangoes Incorporated"; his Mozambique crocodile farm, "Crocodiles Unlimited"; his Himalayan tapioca mines on Mount Everest, "Tapioca Limited"; and Morticia additionally mentions "Amalgamated Swamp" and his buzzard farm.

Charles Austin Miller

8th Jul 2019

Jaws (1975)

Trivia: Perhaps the most often-repeated "Jaws" trivia is that actor Roy Scheider spontaneously ad-libbed the film's most iconic line, "You're gonna need a bigger boat!" Screenwriter Carl Gottleib apparently started this rumor after "Jaws" became a worldwide sensation in 1975, probably because the only thing that generated as much publicity as the film itself was backstory of the film's production; and Gottleib's rumor has charmed fans and persisted to this day. However, when reporter Paul Iorio interviewed Roy Scheider in 2000 (for a story in the San Francisco Chronicle on the occasion of the "Jaws" 25th anniversary), he specifically asked Scheider about the line "You're gonna need a bigger boat." Scheider answered: "That was in the script. The first time he [Chief Brody] sees the shark. But I liked the line so much, it amused me so much, that I said, 'I bet I could work this in a few other places.' So I worked it in two more times." Indeed, Chief Brody does refer to needing a bigger boat twice more, and those subsequent lines are ad-libbed; but the very first and most memorable time he says the line, it was purely scripted. Paul Iorio's question and Roy Scheider's answer were edited out of the published San Francisco Chronicle story.

Charles Austin Miller

Trivia: While James Cagney was a fine and spirited dancer in his own right, known for spontaneously "ad-libbing" dance steps on stage, Cagney insisted that Warner Brothers hire choreographer Johnny Boyle for "Yankee Doodle Dandy" to teach Cagney the precise dancing style of George M. Cohan. Boyle was an expert imitator of famous dancers and their routines, and he had worked with and choreographed Cohan on stage many years earlier. Under Boyle's instruction, James Cagney delivered a near-perfect impression of George M. Cohan's eccentric, stiff-legged, marionette-like dancing style in this movie. Unfortunately, during rehearsals for the film, Johnny Boyle broke his ankle, and the injury effectively ended his dancing career.

Charles Austin Miller

8th Jul 2019

Brainstorm (1983)

Factual error: When the Brainstorm project is taken over by the sinister military operative Landan Marks, he begins weaponizing the brain-interface technology and testing it on the human guinea pig Gordon Forbes. As Gordon is subjected to increasingly difficult fighter-jet simulations, Landan Marks gleefully exclaims to military observers, "Now watch this! He can take a full 10-G rollout without losing control, just by thinking about it!" In the flight-simulator cockpit, Gordon grimaces, but the Brainstorm device allows him to remain conscious and maintain control despite his physical distress. But the fact is that no flight simulator in the 1980s or even today would be able to simulate extreme G-forces as described in this film. In fact, flight simulators then and now can't approximate even low G-forces. Only a giant centrifuge can produce such forces; but Gordon is not in a centrifuge for this scene. It's simply a flight simulator.

Charles Austin Miller
My Mother the Car mistake picture

Trivia: In this incredibly stupid NBC television sitcom that lasted only one season (from Sept. 1965 to April 1966), Jerry Van Dyke's late mother is reincarnated as a hideous vintage ragtop jalopy called a "1928 Porter"; but, in fact, no such vehicle was ever produced in automotive history. The 1928 Porter was a fantasy car assembled strictly for this short-lived TV show, using bits and pieces of a Model-T Ford, a Maxwell, a Hudson, and a Chevrolet.

Charles Austin Miller

8th Jul 2019

Gorgo (1961)

Revealing mistake: The sea creature Gorgo is paraded through the streets of London on a flatbed tractor trailer, and an off-screen American newsman announces the monster's arrival at Battersea Park, where it will be exhibited at Dorkin's Circus. The announcer introduces the creature's owners as they step from their motorcade, saying, "And our own Mr. Dorkin, of Dorkin's Circus, in the checkered suit." Problem is, Mr. Dorkin is wearing a plain gray flannel suit. Closeup shots of Mr. Dorkin over the next 40 seconds reveal that the suit is not checkered, not plaid, not striped, not patterned in any way at all. It's simply a plain gray suit. Apparently, the announcer's pre-recorded lines were never modified after changes were made in costuming. (00:34:05 - 00:35:00)

Charles Austin Miller
Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: You must have been watching a poor-quality copy of the movie. In the HD version available on Amazon, the checkered pattern is visible, although it is subtle. Frankly, it probably would not be visible on a television broadcast of the time.

I watched it in HD purchased from Amazon Prime on a large high-definition screen. No checkered suit.

Charles Austin Miller

You may need to adjust your settings. It is especially visible in the interview scene. The suit definitely has a checkered pattern of various shades of gray. Again, it is subtle, but definitely visible.

You may need to check your imagination.

Charles Austin Miller
Video

Trivia: The original ending for this film (fully produced but then deleted) was a jaw-dropping apocalypse. For starters, Audrey II actually kills and eats both Seymour Krelborn and his bride-to-be, Audrey. The giant carnivorous plant grows to gargantuan proportions and divides into multiple monsters that go on a Godzilla-style rampage across New York City, tearing down bridges, eating whole passenger trains, climbing the Statue of Liberty, and doing battle with the military. The original ending alone cost over $5 million out of the film's $25 million budget, so it was a major undertaking. When director Frank Oz test-screened the finished film, he was stunned that audiences hated the deaths of lovable Seymour and Audrey and everything thereafter. Oz hastily reassembled his cast and crew to re-shoot a cheaper, much less gruesome happy ending, which was a hit with audiences. However, Frank Oz said that he thought the original ending was far superior and some of his best work, and he was extremely dissatisfied with the revised happy ending.

Charles Austin Miller

26th Jun 2019

Brainstorm (1983)

Continuity mistake: From the very start, this movie's psychedelic visual effects (representing a test pattern grid) are rotating counter-clockwise in the background throughout the title sequence. This transitions to the opening scene in the lab, where the researchers are still trying to calibrate the test pattern grid. Christopher Walken, who is actually viewing the effects, complains that the grid is scrambled, out-of-phase and rotating. Louise Fletcher makes some technical adjustments and says, "What do you see, angel?" Walken answers, "Clockwise rotation." The shot instantly cuts to the visual-effects view again, to show us what Walken is seeing, and all of the grid effects are still rotating counter-clockwise. (00:00:50 - 00:03:00)

Charles Austin Miller

26th Jun 2019

Brainstorm (1983)

Trivia: Natalie Wood's death did not significantly change the plot or threaten production of this film. At the time of her death, Wood had already completed all of her principal photography, including the ending. According to producer/director Douglas Trumbull, the truth of the matter was that Metro Goldwyn Mayer was in financial trouble and saw Wood's death as an opportunity to bail itself out of debt; so, MGM halted production of "Brainstorm" and tried to write-off the film as a loss in order to collect a sizable insurance claim from Lloyd's of London. When Lloyd's investigated the claim and deposed Douglas Trumbull, he told Lloyd's that the movie was not at all damaged or threatened by Wood's death, and that it could easily be completed. Although MGM refused to pay for the film's completion, Lloyd's of London itself gave Trumbull $5.8 million to finish production.

Charles Austin Miller

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