Since everyone enjoyed our last foray into Photoplay’s Why Do They Do It? series, here we are again! Why Do They Do It? was a regular feature that allowed readers to write in with complaints about tropes, mistakes and annoyances at the movies.
These selections from August 1918 has angry knitters, harpists and historians! My comments follow in italics, the header text was part of the original publication.
Each Purl a Tear
In The Thing We Love, Kathlyn Williams appears to be very proud of a sock she is knitting and anxious to do her bit, still it is very evident to real knitters she does not know the first principle of sock knitting for she is trying to knit it up side down. The sock is apparently finished except the cuff at the top and we see her knitting away at the end which in realty is the beginning of the sock. It isn’t being done that way — yet.
L. C, Toledo, Ohio.
L.C. shares the knitter’s universal disdain for knitting fakery in films. Socks were indeed knitted from the cuff down by most U.S. knitters (it’s how I learned) but toe-up patterns are available. (I also once embedded a double pointed size 5 sock needle in my thigh and had to have it surgically removed. Who said I never have any fun?)
Again — Cleo in Bad
Whoever wrote the photoplay “Cleopatra,” starring Theda Bara, certainly should have studied ancient history. Some of the incidents of the play, such as Caesar leaving Cleo to be crowned king of Rome, are ridiculous, as they are not in accordance with historical facts. In this picture the Priest of Isis in Egypt was represented to be a man with flowing hair and beard, while history tells us that the Priests of Isis were compelled to shave their heads and faces. Which shall we believe?
In one scene, Cleo is seen playing a harp.the strings of whichare so loose that the least shaking of the instrument causes them to vibrate wildly. Now, anybody who has had any experience with harps knows that the strings in such condition would never produce music.
Chas. Brumbaugh, Orange, N. J.
Charles comes out swinging! The history stuff seems a bit nit-picky but then again, ancient Egypt isn’t my field of study. I can assure you that 95% of all harps in movies are strung wrong, held wrong, played wrong. Harpists are used to is. Sigh.
Referred to Our Puzzle and Farm Editor
In “The Land of Promise,” Thomas Meighan is shown cultivating cabbage. In the distance we see corn flourishing as it would be in September. That evening Meighan makes the remark to his wife that they have been married six months. Their wedding taking place the 19th of September would make the time he cultivated the cabbage the 19th of March.
Grant Evange, Bangor. Maine.
Meighan would remake The Land of Promise (which is missing and presumed lost) as The Canadian, which is an excellent film and highly recommended.
From a Good Housekeeper
In “Tarzan of the Apes,” during one of those heavy tropical rains, a lion runs out in front of the camera and kicked up dust. I’m glad I don’t live there.
R. H. Hoopes, Salt Lake City.
R.H. makes a good point. There’s nothing worse than a dusty lion. You can read my Tarzan review here.
Is there not something fine and splendid in the sight of Chaplin’s dog, in “A Dog’s Life,” caring for the brood of little puppies — the dog being of the masculine sex?
W. R. W., Chicago.
This reminds me of Data’s eternally gender and breed-shifting cat in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
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