Thursday, February 2, 2012

Interesting anachronism

So I watched Reap the Wild Wind yesterday; a movie which probably deserves a full-length post of its own sometime down the road. It's a movie set in Key West, Flordia, in the 1840s among the world of salvage boats. But that's not really what I'm posting about, other than to make the point that the film was set in the 1840s. One of the characters -- I think it was the John Wayne character, but since I wasn't expecting this, I wasn't paying close enough attention -- makes a reference to "Mother Carey's Chickens".

This is something I found odd. I already knew about the movie Mother Carey's Chickens, which was released in 1938. Obviously, a reference to a movie would be an anachronism for a film set in the 1840s, when they barely had photography. One would presume that the movie was based on a prior work of fiction, which in fact turns out to be the case. Kate Douglas Wiggin wrote the novel Mother Carey's Chickens... in 1911. Still a pretty obvious anachronism. (The book is in the public domain and free ebook versions are available if you wish to read it.)

What I find more interesting, however, is referring to "Mother Carey's Chickens" at all. Reap the Wild Wind was released a good four years after the movie Mother Carey's Chickens, which makes one wonder whether the movie would still have been in the public consciousness. I thought perhaps there might have been a series based on the movie, but not as far as I can tell. It was remade in the early 1960s, but that's obviously a bit too late for Reap the Wild Wind If not, I wonder whether the moviegoers of the early 1940s would remember a book written three decades earlier. Further, the movie Mother Carey's Chickens was made at RKO, while Reap the Wild Wind is a Paramount production. I always find it a bit hard to believe that one studio would openly mention another studio's movies back in those days. In fact, every time there's a scene in a movie where people go to a movie theater or pass by a theater with movie posters in the lobby, I try to figure out whether the movie in the poster is a real one and contemporaneous to the action in the movie. It's something I briefly mentioned in August, 2008, regarding the movie Should Ladies Behave.

No comments: