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On one of the movie channels, MOVIES, in my area, Human Desire was playing this evening.  I happened to come in for the last half hour or so.  I've seen it before and don't think I caught this little discrepancy.  In the last scene Glen Ford is at the controls of an Alco FA locomotive.  He seems to be pulling out of a western station.  Could be somewhere in California.  

Broderick Crawford has just strangled Gloria Graham.  The next shot is of Glen Ford at the controls.  Out of his window, a bridge appears with the large letters, "Trenton Makes The World Takes".  Then we have a view out of the front window.  No overhead wires and fairly open landscape.  A track crew moves off the track as Ford sounds his horn.

There are other mishaps earlier in the film such as Ford climbing into an Alco and getting out of a GM diesel.  Although one could say that the locomotives were changed during a run.  

Anyway, I get a kick out of looking for mistakes in films.  

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KOOLjock1 posted:

This is why I'm really excited to see the upcoming movie "Midway".  I know a guy who was an extra, and he says they really went out of their way to get the planes, ships, uniforms etc. correct.  Now if they can just get the script right...


Hope they did a better job than the producers of "Pearl Harbor" (2001).

They used CGI to recreate the U.S. battleships and the Japanese attack force, but mixed in footage of modern guided missile cruisers and destroyers.  Lame.

Tora! Tora! Tora!  was a much better film about Pearl Harbor.

The reason these things happen most of the time is cost.  Although the Pearl Harbor vs Tora Tora Tora! comparison is fair as Pearl Harbor was garbage movie.

My brother just recently consulted as a historian on a major movie and one thing I learned from him was that even when the writers, directors, and producers want a truly authentic piece, compromises must be made.  In the most critical areas in the film they tried to be 100% a pure as possible while in others there are liberties both in the sets and general story.

texastrain posted:

Norton/Pete...   I take it the Jack Delano pic was most likely taken in the 40s, during war time.  Notice the "cowling"  over the lead unit headlight.  Only need for these would be to reduce upward glare and long distance overhead detection.

Jesse   TCA

Yes, The date is the early '40s. Jack worked initially for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) which later morphed into the Office of War Information (OWI). The FSA charged a group of photographers to go out during the depression and document the misery it was producing in the country to convince Congress to act. As the war began they were sent out to document the war effort at home. 

To see their work go to the Library of Congress site and search on FSA/OWI. The majority of railroad images were taken by Jack Delano and have made it on sites like Shorpy.

Warning, you can spend days pouring over the photographs at the Library of Congress.


Last edited by Norton

FWIW, details on the movie Human Desire says it was shot in the vicinity of El Reno, OK, using the facilities of the RI.  "Some" stock background shots show east coast scenes including the Pulaski Subway and the Trenton Bridge.

As a pilot I always look for inaccuracies in aviation scenes.  My favorite was in the Six Million Dollar Man where he he took off in one type of plane, flew at altitude in another type, and landed in a third type.  What made it fun was the types were not even close to being similar.  

Tinplate Art posted:

Just curious: Is that Jack Delano photo in the public domain or do you need permission to use it?

 The photo was taken by Jack as part of his work for the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information in 1943.    OWI transferred it to Library of Congress in 1944 with no restirctions on publishing.    They wanted it out there.

One of the most accurate railroad movies I've seen is "Broadway Limited", at least as far as the depiction of the Pennsylvania Railroad goes. 

Ironically, in the IMDB, somebody who wasn't familiar with the Harrisburg engine change thought it was a continuity error when a steam engine pulls the train into the station, and a GG1 pulls it out.

Usually when watching a movie if it is good enough I don't really notice the anachronisms and weird mysterious changes in the middle of scenes, etc..but if the movie is crappy I'll often look for things for the fun of it. The original Midway had some visual screw ups and there were problems with historical accuracy with some of the way it was plotted, but it was a fun movie, I love the all star movies like that, they just don't make them like that any more (what was it Gloria Swanson said in Sunset Boulevard, the movies got smaller since she left? *lol*). I saw a trailer for the new one, I just hope it is better than the trailer looked, the CGI was distracting, looked like a phone app video game. 

Back to the original topic, they always seemed to have problems getting it right with them. There was one movie (I am trying to recall the title now) where the main character is sitting in a train at the station, the camera turns away, and the train is already at full speed when it pans back. I saw another movie where the main character (who apparently must either have been an extreme foamer or a railroad guy) manages to hop aboard an engine and tender (that appears to be dead cold), fire it up and get it moving before those chasing him can get there... I suspect a lot of it is cost, either they are using stock footage, or simply, with the case of the guy in the train station, when they edit the movie miss the obvious gaps/blunders. Even these days where they can use CGI to redo some things relatively easily, a lot is missed. 

KOOLjock1 posted:

This happens in the original "Midway" movie wherein Charlton Heston climbs into a SBD, rolls off the deck in a TBF, flies in a F4U (no mistaking that one!) and crashing onto the deck in a Jet!  In 1942!  


Much of the Japanese attack footage in "Midway" (1976) was from "Tora, Tora, Tora!" (1970). One glaring mistake is a shot of Japanese planes, supposedly making an attack on a U.S. ship at sea with a number of cranes in the background. I own both movies and the cranes were from the original Pearl Harbor attack shots from "Tora, Tora, Tora!"  One of my favorite goofs was from either "Dillinger" or "Melvin Purvis, G-Man" where the camera shot switches from tight to wide on a supposed "Chicago Street" only  to show the San Gabriel Mountains looming in the background. All that's missing is the Hollywood sign. 

As a movie, enjoyed it - it was on TCM as part of Gloria Grahame's day on Summer Under the Stars, late last night or this morning. But as others have noted, the stock footage and the backgrounds in the process shots are from all over.

A fair amount on the PRR - as the OP noted, the Trenton bridge in the background. They also pass K Tower in Washington, in a view from the cab. Later there's a passenger train with what looks to be a PRR striped loco (hard to tell - it's printed really dark), with a blunt-end observation car.

Agreed that it's Albuquerque - they use two or three times the same footage of a train arriving - but only after the locomotives have passed.

There's a B&O train crossing the Potomac at Harpers Ferry.

A shot early on, from the cab - the train is approaching an overpass that carries a road above the tracks. The film appears to printed flopped - I think the bridge says 1910. After the bridge, there's what looks to be a small station on the left (or right, in reality). It's a four-track main - no electrification.


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