Cognition & Reality

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Britain, Baseball And Bloopers

Filed under: Film — drtone @ 12:10 pm

With the resources at their disposal, including both a research staff and the personnel on the set, why can’t they get it right in films?

I’m addicted to the “Foyle’s War” series of TV films, about the home front in on the south coast of England during World War II. In it, Detective Chief Superintendent (DCS) Christopher Foyle, a man of dry wit, unimpeachable integrity, and dogged determination, solves very English murders against the backdrop of the war years.

In the episode I most recently watched, “Invasion,” set in March of  1942, the US Army begins its “invasion” of the south coast. Murder ensues, as usual. In one scene, an American officer interacts with a Brit enraged because his farm has been requisitioned for an airfield. In the background, American enlisted men are playing “baseball”: A soldier is shown hitting a pitched ball with what appears to me, an admitted cricket dunce, to be a cricket swing rather than a baseball swing. The ball he hits appears to be a softball. As the scene progresses, another soldier pitches the ball to the batter overhand. OVERHAND. First of all, the Americans would have been playing hardball, not softball. Secondly, no one pitches a softball overhand. I thought that maybe the guy who plays the American officer was a Brit, but he’s not; he’s an American born in Burbank (i.e., Hollywood).With the advice of an American actor standing right there, the potential advice of American crew members or American tourists, and with the extensive research department necessary for mounting a historical drama that prides itself on accurately portraying the wartime milieu, how could the filmmakers get so wrong a couple of things that almost every American knows, even those who care nothing for sports? I’ll excuse the British extra’s  horrible swing, and I won’t even talk about the way the dialog in these films plays fast and loose with the nominative case.


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