These Were the Mistakes, Technical Errors, Cliches and Sloppy Scenes that Annoyed Viewers 100 Years Ago

Photoplay Magazine had a regular feature in which readers could complain about things in movies that annoyed them. Think of it as the Twitter of the 1920s. Let’s take a look and see what annoyed them in March of 1920.

Specs Without Glass — Again

In “Sadie Love,” Mumfy upon arising rubs his eyes violently through heavy rimmed glasses. Harold Lloyd, to my knowledge, is the only man who can do this.

Mrs. R. L. Goetz, Reno, Nev.

Sadie Love was a Billie Burke vehicle directed by John S. Robertson and “Mumfy” presumably refers to a character named Mumford played by Shaw Lovett. The film is missing and presumed lost. It was not uncommon to have movie characters wear glassless specs due to issues with lens reflection. It worked fine as long as the actor remembered that there was supposed to be glass there.

Love Is Blind, Anyway

In “The Miracle of Love,” in a supposedly English scene, the leading lady is seen reading a supposedly English paper. But it was the New York World.

M. D., Hartford, Conn.

This was a Robert Z. Leonard production and, presumably, shot in New York City. It’s missing and presumed lost.

“Hot Dawgs!”

Can you tell me how this ever happened today? The hero of “Shocks of Doom” — Edward Earle — had twenty-five cents in his pocket. He bought three hot frankfurters and was given change!

E. H., New York City

A quarter of 1920 would be worth about $3.25 in modern money and while I do not know the price of a New York City hot dog of that year, it seems that the prices have come down because dollar hot dogs are a local staple here in my part of California. Also, I am not sure about the survival status of this picture so let me know if you hear anything.

Airy Fairy Dorothy

In Dorothy Gish’s “Turning the Tables,” Miss Dorothy fell through a window, landing on the other side amid much glass, etc., yet when an outside view of the house and window is shown, the window was as whole as before the young lady fell through.

Elizabeth Myres, Los Angeles, Cal.

Alas, Dorothy Gish films from this period are rare as hen’s teeth and this one seems to be missing and presumed lost. If you want to see a surviving 1910s Dorothy picture, Gretchen the Greenhorn is your best bet.

Maybe He Shaved with the Propeller

In “Fires of Faith” the American aviator (Eugene O’Brien) is shot down and remains in hiding a week and is then shown sailing away in the Hun’s machine with a clean shaven face.

G. P. W., Wilmington, Del.

Unrealistic amounts of facial hair caused many a complaint in this series. Beards that grew too quickly, men shaving when no razor would have been available, etc. I hate to do this but I have to list this film as missing and presumed lost.

Food for Thought

A subtitle in “The Isle of Conquest,” a Norma Talmadge picture, stated that Wyndham Standing was going in quest of food. But upon returning he had an armful of wood.

Fred E., New York City

Given the current situation of toilet paper hoarding, I found this particular entry to be quite amusing. And we’re batting zero here today because this is another lost film.

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2 Replies to “These Were the Mistakes, Technical Errors, Cliches and Sloppy Scenes that Annoyed Viewers 100 Years Ago”

  1. This post was just the pick-me-up I needed today! I’ll have to dig out my old Photoplays and see what I can find!
    On the note of spectacles without lenses, I am a fan of “The Phil Silvers” show (Sergeant Bilko), and Silvers’ characters wears his lens-less glasses to bed, but is consistent about not touching his eyes through them!

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