Saturday, July 18, 2009

Public Enemy

Saw the film Public Enemy tonight and it's good. A well-told story -- and a feast for any retrotechnologist, generally lacking in serious anachronism.

That said, three did stand out: Microphones used in a Senate hearing in set 1933 or early '34 were nifty Western Electric 639A or B types, introduced in 1938 (and later made by Altec, fine mics and one of the currently more readily-available of the old microphones, which is sort of important if you're doing film props). More jarringly, a "typewritten" page is shown on-screen, taking up about a third of the screen image. Alas, it is a kerned, book font, not a typewriter font. That one should have been an easy catch and fix but it was missed. Last, a meter on a piece of equipment that shows up in several scenes had obviously been backlit with a distinctive blue LED. Oops!

On the other hand, you'd have to be some kind of, I don't know, tech geek to catch two of the three; for a period piece, not so bad. Guns looked correct to my eye (better ask Tam), clothing and hairstyles were better than usual, likewise interiors. The filmmaker put in a lot of work to make the last bit of Dillinger's life real and it paid off.

Johnny Depp was a fine John Dillinger, vanishing into the character as he does so well. My advice: go see it. If that's the kind of thing you like, you'll like it a lot. I did!

5 comments:

Nathan Brindle said...

"Alas, it is a kerned, book font, not a typewriter font. That one should have been an easy catch and fix but it was missed."

After Rathergate, you'd think lefty Hollywood types would be more sensitive to that kind of thing.

Ed Skinner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ed Skinner said...

There was also an "instant on" tube radio in one scene.
But I missed *all* of yours. :(

Frank W. James said...

Anyone noticed the soldiers drinking coffee out of white stryofoam cups as Depp drove past them after the Crown Point jail escape?

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Roberta X said...

I thought the cups were paper but in hindsight, they were awfully white and the edge didn't look rolled..and paper cups in that context in '33 or '34 seems iffy.