Heaven: Well, They Sure Got THAT Wrong...

13

Comments

  • A bit miscellaneous, but...

    1) I thought that all those British murder mysteries explained the depopulation of the countryside. ;-)

    2) The Borgias (the series) has Alexander VI's coronation procession accompanied by Handel's Zadok The Priest. Gah!

    3) Lynn Truss, in Eats, Shoots & Leaves (which is not as good as many people thought), mentions that the Gutenberg printing press is a millennium old. Gah!
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    While I think Father Brown is very well done, it seems to be based on a slightly strange view of English village life in the early 1950s: would there really be a Catholic church that size?; and would all the toffs* be Catholics?

    I appreciate that the anomaly is in G. K. Chesterton's character and not in the dramatisation, but you get my drift.

    * most of the protagonists seem to be toffs
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    There was a moment on "Father Brown" where I thought that they had got it wrong, but now I am not so sure.

    In one episode, Lady Felicia tells people that her favourite hymn is "Morning has broken". Now whilst Father Brown is set in the 1950's, I thought that this hymn didn't gain popularity until the 1960's (Cat Stevens and all that) and I am sure that I have seen that the copyright on the words dates from 1962. But on checking further, I found that it was first published in 1931. But I am still unsure how well the hymn was known in the early 1950's. Anyone got any idea?

    Reading the wiki page on that hymn, I don't see any reason why it WOULDN'T have been known in the 1950s, though I'm guessing that the writers decision to give it as someone's favorite hymn had more to do with the song's post-feline popularity.

    Sort of like how on an episode of M*A*S*H I once watched, the archconservative Frank Burns was shown as referring to "my personal hero, Sentaor Joseph McCarthy". While Burns was certainly someone who would agree with McCarthy on almost everything, I question whether in the early 1950s he would refer to the junior senator from Wisconsin as his "personal hero". I think the writers were playing to the audience's idea of McCarthy as being the icon of conservative politics in the 1950s, a status that I suspect owes more to posterity.

  • MMMMMM Shipmate
    I certainly remember 'Morning has broken' from before the Cat Stevens version. I had no idea he was regarded as having popularised it - it was just one of the hymns we sang at school.

    MMM
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    The Fr Brown series a travesty from start to finish. Chesterton died in 1936, so the stories are set in the 1900s-20s. Though since the plots and characters bear no relation to the original, it hardly matters.

    They do this: take an author, rifle their oeuvre for a few characters and titles and then make up completely different stories - it’s happened to Christie, Chesterton, Gladys Mitchell, Mrs Gaskell. Even Austen doesn’t escape - Darcy does not squelch around Pemberley in a wet T-shirt in P&P.

    It’s maddening to those who have read the books and a complete con on those who haven’t, who now think they know work of famous author, but they don’t, they know the work of a script conference with an eye on the ratings.
  • Look at the credits. Do they say, "Based on the story by ..." or "Inspired by the characters created by ..."? There's a world of difference (and it happened to Thomas the Tank Engine too!)
  • Firenze, I didn't know Glady Mitchell's work had been made over into a TV series? I must look out for that, even if unsatisfactory.

    I sometimes sit in front of BBC TV as it's called out here, and can't suppress a grin at the thought of GK Chesterton staring aghast at what has become of Fr Brown in the 21st century.
  • Piglet wrote: »
    While we're on that era, don't even get me started on the execrable pile of doggie-do that was The Tudors, where most of the rest of the cast looked more like Henry VIII than he did, they implied that the composer Thomas Tallis was the gay lover of one of the courtiers and had Henry's sister marrying the wrong king. :rage:
    But, but, Jonathon Rhys Myers...

    *swoons*

    :wink:
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    Firenze, I didn't know Glady Mitchell's work had been made over into a TV series? I must look out for that, even if unsatisfactory

    It may be wandering about in the distant reaches, it is quite old. It has Diana Rigg as Dame Beatrice - not Diana Rigg as she is now, when she could do reptilian crone, but as she was 20 years ago.
  • I had to switch off that these were Father Brown stories for the few of the TV series I've watched, because I've read the books and consider them as something else entirely.

    In answer to the questions about Roman Catholicism in the UK, asking if there are large old Roman Catholic churches and about how aristocratic the Roman Catholic families are. There have always been Roman Catholic aristocratic families (recusant) - the Howards with Arundel Castle, the Dukes of Norfolk, the Carlisles of Castle Howard in Yorkshire and a whole lot more. As to buildings, it depends on what you mean by old; there are many listed Victorian catholic churches, several designed by Pugin eg Nottingham Cathedral or then there's Brompton Oratory. Older there is Ampleforth Abbey or St Cuthbert's Church, Durham. The Catholic Herald (link) has a 2015 article entitled Have Posh Catholics Had Their Day?
  • Honestly Father Brown just old fiction before authors had access to researchers. Treat it as fiction it isn't pretending to be historical.

    There's no excuse today though in what is supposed to be the latest "historical" film on Mary Queen of Scots which is rubbish: Mary never spoke with a cod Scottish accent. She was educated in France and came to Scotland as an adult. She was around 6' tall so would have towered over Elizabeth. She never met Elizabeth anyway (except in Donizetti's opera) and as to the costumes! Hey ho, back to the days of Holywood's Braveheart and Rob Roy. Why do Holywood make "historical" films that are anything but. They have researchers don't they?

    I suppose Scotland might get more tourists as a result - let's try to be positive.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    edited August 2018
    WildHaggis wrote: »
    Honestly Father Brown just old fiction before authors had access to researchers. Treat it as fiction it isn't pretending to be historical.

    It wasn’t historical when Chesterton wrote it; he set the stories in what was to him the contemporary world.

    I am amused by the idea that prior to ‘researchers’ authors never looked anything up of their own accord. There is a queue headed by Walter Scott, Harrison Ainsworth, Charles Dicken, George Eliot and Conan Doyle would like a word in your ear.
  • I did look to see if John Guy had commented on the use to which his 2004 book on Mary Queen of Scots has been put, as the new film is described as based on the book by John Guy, but I couldn't find anything, other than he has a new book out this year, so I guess he has a fee for the book and advertising for the new book out of this.

    But films portraying a meeting between Mary, Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth are many (link to Frock Flicks)
  • And even an opera (Maria Stuarda by Donizetti).
  • Yeah, and a story by Schiller before that too.
  • Jane RJane R Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    While we're on the subject of the sixteenth-century, one of the worst travesties of 'historical' backstory I have ever had the privilege of shouting at the TV screen about was in the 2001 Jonathan Creek Christmas special https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jonathan_Creek_episodes#Christmas_Special_(2001). Our hero is staying in a castle in the Scottish Borders - apparently on the Scottish side of the border, as they refer to being in Scotland several times. There's a spooky story about a sixteenth-century tragedy: a woman is sentenced to death by Bloody Mary for being a Protestant, but dies (or vanishes) in mysterious circumstances before the sentence can be carried out.

    Well, OK. Except in the sixteenth century, England and Scotland were separate countries and Bloody Mary was Queen of England with no jurisdiction over Scotland. During the whole of her reign, Scotland was ruled by Mary of Guise, acting as regent for her daughter Mary Queen of Scots. Yes, it IS difficult keeping this monstrous regiment of Maries sorted out, but it's really not that hard. They could have moved the castle Jonathan Creek was staying in a few miles south of the border and it would have made perfect sense, if they couldn't face the idea of explaining who Mary of Guise was to their viewers.

    That part of the story would, anyway. The other bit, where Jonathan Creek solves the mystery of what happened to the woman in the sixteenth century by discovering the ingenious method used by the laird of the time to do away with her, didn't make sense at all. It was the SCOTTISH BORDERS, for God's sake. Border reivers in the sixteenth century didn't bother with elaborate ways of doing away with their enemies in secret. They just killed them. In broad daylight, sometimes.

    Yes, it was broadcast a long time ago... but I STILL REMEMBER, because it was such an outstanding pile of... ahem.
  • Crunt wrote: »
    Piglet wrote: »
    While we're on that era, don't even get me started on the execrable pile of doggie-do that was The Tudors,
    My brother particularly enjoyed how the walls wobbled whenever anyone slammed a door
    There are practical reasons why films get things wrong, but this is inexcusable. A bit of extra bracing isn't costly.

  • Getting back to "Morning has broken" it was the first hymn I remember learning at primary school in about 1949/50. And much better sung that way!
  • Didn't see the Jonathan Creek but you are right Jane about the Border Reivers. Really interesting period to explore and the fortified manor houses, or their ruins (not castles) can be found all over the Borders.

    When I lived in Berwick I soon learned that Border folks are Border folks neither Scottish nor English.

    If you want a fairly accurate history of Mary Queen of Scots era, check out Antonia Fraser who is an academic historian.

    Mind you Holywood is Holywood.
    I remember an old black & white film of "Madame Bovary" (one of my favourite novels - in English, - my French isn't that good - although I did try it in French!) where she wore a crinoline of the most fabulous lacy confection when she went to the the pharmacy to buy her arsenic!! In fact she couldn't get down the stairs because of this huge skirt. It was hilarious but not intended to be.
  • Ah, those were the days - when you could simply pop along to the pharmacy to buy your arsenic. O, the trouble one has to go to now!

    :wink:

    IJ
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    But you can still pick up pesticides with rather effective lists of ingredients at the local gardening emporium.
  • It's only for groceries that you need photo i.d..

    (Of course the Commander of Cheese belongs on a thread titled "Well, They Sure Got THAT Wrong." It's practically named after him.)
  • Murder was much more challenging in days gone by, trying to fake an address for the chemist's poison book, disguising oneself with false beard and glasses, making sure the victim's fingerprints are on the right place on the revolver, and so on.

    I rather incline to the detailed detective stories of previous generations, where it's often quite hard to spot anomalies. Perhaps today's writers are just out for a quick $$$ or £££, so aren't that bothered.

    IJ
  • Jane RJane R Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    WildHaggis wrote: »
    When I lived in Berwick I soon learned that Border folks are Border folks neither Scottish nor English.

    If you want a fairly accurate history of Mary Queen of Scots era, check out Antonia Fraser who is an academic historian.

    Well, Berwick changed hands several times... it just happened to be on the English side of the border when the music stopped.

    Thank you, yes, I have read Antonia Fraser's book about Mary Queen of Scots, along with a large selection of others on the period. I wouldn't describe her as an academic historian, she's never worked as an academic, but her books are usually well-researched and readable. The best popular history of the Borders
    (that I've read) is George Macdonald Fraser's 'The Steel Bonnets'.

  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Climacus wrote: »
    Piglet wrote: »
    While we're on that era, don't even get me started on the execrable pile of doggie-do that was The Tudors ... :rage:
    But, but, Jonathon Rhys Myers...

    *swoons*

    :wink:
    Especially Jonathan Rhys Myers **shudder**

    He really gives me the creeps, possibly because I have trouble separating him from the role of Steerpike in Gormenghast, but not exclusively because of that. He's just one of those creepy actors.

    Just my 2p.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Tonight I watched a western called Jane Got A Gun, which features a cliched scene of someone walking into a saloon with the piano playing. The song being played is Red River Valley, which, while its origins are somewhat hard to pin down, seems unlikely to have been known at the particular time and place in question, New Mexico Territory 1860s.

    And if I may be iconoclastic for a moment...

    Midnight, the Stars and You was not released until 1934. Yes, I know the scene doesn't technically state that it was playing on July 4 1921, but I think that's what we're meant to understand.

    Even if it's just meant to represent the era, it still doesn't work, because 1934 was worlds away from 1921(stock-market crash and all). Though I suppose if you don't research the date, the song does sound plausibly like something from the 20s.

  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    The Fr Brown series a travesty from start to finish. Chesterton died in 1936, so the stories are set in the 1900s-20s. Though since the plots and characters bear no relation to the original, it hardly matters.

    They do this: take an author, rifle their oeuvre for a few characters and titles and then make up completely different stories - it’s happened to Christie, Chesterton, Gladys Mitchell, Mrs Gaskell. Even Austen doesn’t escape - Darcy does not squelch around Pemberley in a wet T-shirt in P&P.

    It’s maddening to those who have read the books and a complete con on those who haven’t, who now think they know work of famous author, but they don’t, they know the work of a script conference with an eye on the ratings.
    And it is filmed in an Anglican village church and the mass is in the vernacular
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    But Mrs. McCarthy correctly wears a hat to show that she is not in her own house.
  • Piglet wrote: »
    Especially Jonathan Rhys Myers **shudder**

    That's alright. All the more of him for me. I hope he's not a shipmate... :smile:
  • WildHaggis wrote: »
    If you want a fairly accurate history of Mary Queen of Scots era, check out Antonia Fraser who is an academic historian.
    :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Yes, she got a history degree (having switched from PPE) but she is not an academic.

    That's not to say she hasn't done a great deal to popularise history, in particular to get the general reading public into books that go deeper into the lives of historical figures than they might otherwise, but she is primarily an author specialising in historical biography and fiction.

    IMO her best books are with her sleuth, Jemima Shore.
  • AndrasAndras Shipmate
    Jane R wrote: »
    WildHaggis wrote: »
    When I lived in Berwick I soon learned that Border folks are Border folks neither Scottish nor English.

    If you want a fairly accurate history of Mary Queen of Scots era, check out Antonia Fraser who is an academic historian.

    Well, Berwick changed hands several times... it just happened to be on the English side of the border when the music stopped.

    Thank you, yes, I have read Antonia Fraser's book about Mary Queen of Scots, along with a large selection of others on the period. I wouldn't describe her as an academic historian, she's never worked as an academic, but her books are usually well-researched and readable. The best popular history of the Borders
    (that I've read) is George Macdonald Fraser's 'The Steel Bonnets'.

    The border rievers are fascinating in their own right, and the book you mention is certainly worth reading; it's the best general history of the various riever clans that I know of.

    When employed as mercenaries they were regarded as the best light cavalry in Europe if only they could be induced to follow orders; in particular if both sides in a battle had hired riever mercenaries, they were very disinclined to fight each other, though they'd put on a decent show of it for as long as they were being watched. But back home they'd happily go at each other hammer and tongs.

    It was a descendent of a riever clan who was the first man to walk on the Moon, Armstrong being a famous old riever family name.

    Curiously, Berwick Rangers play in the Scottish League. Who needs borders anyway?
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    Jane R wrote: »
    The best popular history of the Borders
    (that I've read) is George Macdonald Fraser's 'The Steel Bonnets'.
    Thank you Jane; I was given a Google Play card and I wanted something different to read as part of my purchases. I know nothing about this topic and will download this eBook to find out.

  • Jane RJane R Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    You're welcome. If anyone is interested in historical fiction about the Borders, Susan Price's 'The Sterkarm Handshake' is worth a look. SF featuring very thinly disguised Armstrongs coping with an influx of time-travelling corporate weasels out for what they can get. The Sterkarms think they (the time travellers) are elves. And George MacDonald Fraser wrote a book called 'The Reivers' which is quite funny, but basically a land-based version of 'The Pyrates' which is even funnier.
  • bassobasso Shipmate
    I did a singing tour in Scotland once. After one concert I talked to a fellow who quoted his grandmother to the effect that it was risky to dig too deeply into Scots ancestry, because you were likely to unearth a bandit.
    I told him that there was no doubt about that in my family, since my grandmother was an Armstrong. He understood me immediately.
  • sabinesabine Shipmate
    There was an American TV show about Mary Queen of Scots called "Reign." It was a mashup of Mary's story (sort of) and "Gossup Girl." Mary and her ladies in waiting acted more like sorority sisters than anything else. And the music was straight from the latest playlists. Very strange to see Mary and King Francis riding the French countryside to the sounds of Ed Sheeran.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Oh, God. I hate contemporary pop music in "historical" flicks. Out of period classical mood music I can handle, if it isn't being played as period music by someone on scene. No, Ralph Vaughn Williams wasn't around in the early nineteenth century, but I still liked "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis" in Master and Commander. Cos I like Vaughn Williams. :tongue:
  • Almost every novel set in England and written by an American*. Everything burbles along happily, and then suddenly someone is putting cream in a cup of tea, or having a wedding and looking for a platoon of groomsmen, or using slang that's just a little bit off.

    Basically, it's a story that has been written in an American context, and then "translated" inexpertly into English. It's really quite hard to get the nuances of someone else's culture right.

    *this may be an exaggeration, but only just.
  • BelisariusBelisarius Admin Emeritus
    edited August 2018
    Not just Historical Drama gets it wrong. Walking With Beasts and Walking With Monsters have inaccuracies even the casual paleontology buff will notice (Walking With Dinosaurs is actually pretty accurate, at least in context of what was known at the time).

    Starting with Beasts:
    • Just so the Paleocene Gastornis (a giant bird no longer considered predatory anyway) could kill and eat the Eocene Propaleotherium (an equid that co-existed with larger mammals), a complete mishmash of time periods resulted.
    • Why would the Gastornis leave a completely exposed egg (from which a helpless, not even precocial, chick would hatch) unsupervised for hours? No evolutionary sense whatsoever.
    • The whale Basilosaurus had not evolved the echolocation/communication abilities of modern whales.
    • Perhaps the most egregious--With all evidence pointing to it as a solitary, leopard-like predator, Smilodon is depicted as hunting in packs in, as one critic put it, "a Lion King ripoff".

    In Monsters:
    • Several times, an animal is depicted as evolving from the something that couldn't have been a direct ancestor. Dramatic License wasn't even an excuse--a more correct choice would have worked just as well.
    • The finback Dimetrodon was very unlikely to have preyed on the other finback Edaphosaurus--their fossils have never been found in the same location.
    • More a Dramatic License issue: A small, burrowing, animal is depicted as surviving the Permian Extinction and evolving into a larger species, when in fact it indeed went extinct and the two species had co-existed (at least they were somewhat related).
    • Possible but much disputed that some Therocephalians were venomous.

    One other error due to incorrect paleontology--what was once thought to be a giant spider (showcased in the Carboniferous episode) turned out, after further research, to be the front half of a Sea Scorpion.
  • No, you're the fourth or fifth of us who've said how much we dislike books written by Americans set in England, because something is always off. I think the only exception is Mel Starr's Hugh de Singleton books, set in medieval England, which is a foreign country to us all. Martha Grimes and Elizabeth George are on my never read again list for falling into that trap.
  • I would like to add to that books that are "translated" into American English. I bought British editions of all of the Harry Potter books so I don't have to put up with that.
  • Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    I would like to add to that books that are "translated" into American English. I bought British editions of all of the Harry Potter books so I don't have to put up with that.

    I was reading some horrible kiddie-reader series with youngest daughter, and found that they'd done that. It was describing schoolgirls playing basketball, except that the illustration had girls wearing netball bibs, and if you ignored the fact that it had "basketball" written everywhere and listened to the description, it was clearly netball that was being played.
  • I am reading online the latest in a series of stories about Australia written by an American. Some things he gets spot-on, but others are incredible howlers. They are obviously taken from road map calculations or other sources rather than personal experience. In a couple of cases, the author used locations where I worked or mentioned people with whom I had contact. I've offered a couple of gentle corrective comments, but no response, so I just go with the flow now.
  • Settings in countries foreign to the author are fraught with difficulty, but one little detail from the Poirot series of Agatha Christie TV adaptations (starring the incomparable David Suchet) springs to mind.

    I can't recall the exact episode, but it was partly set in Belgium in the 1930s. Street scenes were shot there, and, although I can't speak for the cars, a preserved Belgian motorbus of the correct period was used in several scenes.

    That, I thought, was a nice touch - someone had done their homework!
    :grin:

    IJ
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Speaking of Americans not getting British stuff, the American literary critic Fredric Jameson is regarded as being extremely well-read and conversant in all things Old World, but he still managed to describe Alfred Hitchcock in an essay as "Anglo-Catholic".

    Which means that Jameson either doesn't know what Hitchcock's religion was, or, more likely, thinks that "Anglo-Catholic" means "English Catholic".
  • AndrasAndras Shipmate
    As both a writer and a reader myself I do see this problem from both sides. When writing (historical fiction, mostly) I do try to get the facts as straight as possible, but there are places where I simply have to go out on a limb because the evidence is lacking. If I'm lucky then when that evidence eventually does turn up I'll find that I made a lucky guess - and that happens often enough that it sometimes makes me nervous - but it's quite on the cards that it will mean that something I wrote finally turns out to be historically impossible. Tough, but that's how it goes.

    But very occasionally I have to write something that I know is factully either wrong or at least unlikely. For instance I needed a rather snooty but competent tribune in the Roman army in Britain in the year 119AD - just before Hadrian's visit, in fact - to bemoan his suspicion that he may have a few Christians flying under the radar among the troops that he's commanding. He needs to be ignorant but prejudiced about them, so I've had him refer to them as Nazarenes.

    That's probably historically wrong, but it helps me to bring both his ignorance and his prejudice out more clearly. If you can think of a better and more accurate way to do this, please let me know - the relevant passage is currently in proof, so I could actually still alter it!

    At all events, please don't shoot the writer, he is - sometimes - doing his best!
  • I can't recall the exact episode, but it was partly set in Belgium in the 1930s. Street scenes were shot there, and, although I can't speak for the cars, a preserved Belgian motorbus of the correct period was used in several scenes.

    That, I thought, was a nice touch - someone had done their homework!
    Unlike a detective novel I read set in London c.1910, where (more than once) a protagonist caught (or dodged) a tram in Oxford or Regent Street. Trams never ran in Central London (except down the Kingsway Underpass). It Quite Put Me Off ...

  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Besides dodging unhistorical trams were they continually crossing paths with famous Edwardians? Or saying things like ‘You must meet my friend Wells, he’s written some dashed interesting stuff’?

    I picked up (and rapidly put down again) one set in Victorian Edinburgh in which R L Stevenson popped out of a foggy close on page one.
  • Novels as well as films o get things wrong.

    Once read a novel, a number of years ago, about a ballerina, think it was called "White Fire" (you could get a voucher for free "White Fire" nail varnish - and being a good Scot ......) and it talked about the prima ballerina's "pretty little feet!!!!!!

    Well.........................anyone who has been a professional ballet dancer or known one or even seen on TV programmes about the training they do, will know dancers have the ugliest and probably most damaged feet you can see, with years a pointe work.

    I think because she had one interview with Anthony Dowell (at that time AD of the Royal Ballet), the author thought she knew all about ballet. Boy did she get that wrong!
  • sabinesabine Shipmate
    This is not from s film or novel...I lived in New Jersey when I was younger. Sometimes when I mention that, a person will jokingly say " you mean JOY'SEE."

    No I don't. It's never pronounced that way by locals.
  • sabine wrote: »
    This is not from s film or novel...I lived in New Jersey when I was younger. Sometimes when I mention that, a person will jokingly say " you mean JOY'SEE."

    No I don't. It's never pronounced that way by locals.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I also grew up in New JERsey, and get SO tired of that. When they say "you mean JOY'SEE," I respond, "No, I mean New JERsey."

    :rage:


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