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Changeling (2008) Poster

(2008)

Goofs

Anachronisms 

Mrs. Collins tells Walter she's left him a "sandwich in the fridge." In 1928 the word "fridge" was very new and restricted to the east coast. A Californian would have said "icebox."
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A simple lunch for two in a cheap diner comes to two dollars, about $28 in 2008. In 1928, the sandwiches and drinks shown would not have reached 50 cents.
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A scene set in 1928 features electro-convulsive therapy (also known as electroshock therapy). Electro-convulsive therapy was first used on humans in 1937, by Italian doctor Ugo Cerletti.
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Detective Ybarra uses the term "serial killer," coined by FBI Special Agent Robert K. Ressler in the 1970s.
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The sandwich in the fridge is in a clear plastic bag and the bread is obviously commercial pre-sliced. Neither was available in March 1928.
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Jeffrey Donovan's left ear is pierced, which was not acceptable for a police officer anywhere in 1928.
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Reverend Gustav Briegleb pronounces "Los Angeles" with a soft "g". In the 1920s, Californians used a hard "g" (like in the word "angle"). It can be heard in movies as late as the 1950s. Non-natives often said "anjeleez." When Easterners started pouring into the city later, the compromise "anjeliss" came into being.
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In 1935, the women talk about listening to the Academy Awards on the radio and make a bet on the Best Picture winner. In 1935 the Academy Awards were not broadcast live and were not the broad-based cultural phenomenon they became later.
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When Captain Jones tells Christine Collins that her son is safe, and that he was seen with a drifter, Jones says that he has put out an "APB" on the drifter. He means "all points bulletin," but the earliest recorded use of the abbreviation was in the 1960s.
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Christine Collins' house, and the house next door, have modern composition-style shingles and roof vents. In 1928, they would have flat shingle or shake roofs.
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A telephone operator uses the phrase "don't go there" to indicate a subject she doesn't want to talk about. That slang didn't enter common usage until the late 1980s.
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When Rev. Gustav is speaking from the pulpit of his church, the design of the pipe organ is from at least 1950. In the 1920's, the pipes were hidden behind a facade.
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Frosted flakes served for breakfast to Walter had not been invented before the 50's, as these events are set in 1928.
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This movie set in 1928, the phrase "Excuse my French" as used by Carol Dexter wasn't in common use until 10 years later as explained here.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

As Christine steps on the train to go see Gordon Northcott in prison, two blasts from a diesel locomotive "horn" can be heard. Trains at the time were equipped with steam locomotives which have a very distinctly different "whistle" sound from that of a diesel locomotive "horn".
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Character error 

Christine mentions her husband ran away because he couldn't handle the responsibilities of being a father. In real life, he was serving a sentence for armed robbery. However, she may have told Walter this to protect him from the truth about his father.
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Twice Christine mentions that the boy pretending to be Walter is three inches shorter than her real son: while comparing his height to Walter's height drawn on the door frame, and when the doctor explains that the spine may shrink during times of extreme stress. When Christine testifies at the hearing, she says the boy pretending to be Walter was four inches shorter.
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Several times when referencing the Wineville crime scene, officers refer to the location as "...up in Wineville". leading one to believe it was north of the city. Wineville (Mira Loma) is some 35 miles ESE of Los Angeles and should be referred to as being "...out in Wineville".
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Continuity 

First when Christine is thrown in her cell, the hatch behind the barred window is shut with force. Later, when Christine is watching Carol being brought back to her cell, the cell doors don't have hatches at all.
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When "Walter" and his mother pose for the news picture outside the train, the policewoman who escorted "Walter" is standing directly behind them and would have appeared in the background of the picture. At the trial, the picture shows mother and "son" but the policewoman is nowhere in the shot.
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When the 15-year-old accomplice stops digging and rolls on the floor, his overalls are hanging. When the officer tries to pull him up, his overalls are normal.
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When Sanford Clark is first looking at the photographs of the missing boys, the picture on the bottom of the stack is of a 9-year-old boy. When he eventually gets to the final picture, the age written on the photo is 10.
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When the police car pulls up to the Collins house to take down the missing child report, the first policeman steps onto the tree lawn and starts talking to Christine Collins. When the camera angle changes to a view from across the street, the policeman is suddenly standing on concrete.
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When Collins and the Doctor first meet at the asylum, he reads from two folders. One contains a paper; the other contains a newspaper. When he shows the newspaper of Collins with "Walter", the shot changes from over shoulder to the front a number of times. With each shot, the folder changes hands, opens, or closes.
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When Northcott visits his sister, her hair is very stringy, and some hangs in her face. In the next scene, her hair is neatly combed.
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Crew or equipment visible 

When Detective Lester Ybarra, and Sandford Clark arrive back at the ranch to dig for the remains, the Stedicam Operator as well as other crew members are visible in the reflection of the rear left window of the car as Ybarra opens the door for Clark to exit.
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A camera shadow is present three times in the bottom left hand corner of the screen in the wide shots of three detectives as they watch Sandford Clark dig. The first time it can be seen is in the shot where Detective Lester Ybarra says "Dig." to Sanford.
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During Walter's David's and Jeffery's escape, just after Sandford Clark says "They're not in there." and just before Northcott says, "Get into the car!" the camera operator's shadow is visible for a few frames in the left hand corner of the frame just before he pans it to follow Clark as he runs to the car.
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Errors in geography 

The scene depicting Vancouver in September shows snow-capped peaks in the distance. At that time of year, last year's snow pack would have completely melted during the summer and not been snowy again for several months.
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Factual errors 

Rev. Gustav and Mrs. Collins meet at his home. The walls in the background are full of religious images, including St. Anthony of Padua holding the child Jesus. No Protestant minister, especially in the 1930s, would have an image of a Catholic saint in their home; it would be considered 'Popish idolatry'.
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The night before he disappears, Walter expresses his disappointment about missing a broadcast of "Amos 'n' Andy." The first "Amos 'n' Andy" broadcast was on March 19, 1928, ten days after Walter disappeared.
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On March 9, 1928, Christine says they might see The Mysterious Airman the next day. The movie was released June 1, 1928.
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A telephone caller tells Christine to go to Lincoln Heights Precinct. Police stations in California have never been known as precincts. The term precinct is limited mainly to police stations in New York, Boston and Chicago.
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Only one small Birney Red Car (from Orange Empire Trolley Museum) was used. In reality, mostly yellow streetcars, and bigger Red Cars, would be seen downtown. The weak streetcar gong heard is not the deeper sonorous one commonly heard in LA.
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Revealing mistakes 

The very last shot is mainly CGI. There are a lot of pedestrians who cross the street and just disappear behind lamp posts or walk through cars.
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At the beginning, as the electric tram-car (Streetcar) goes by, there are no overhead cables; the car is running without any power. Shortly after, a downward view of the Street shows 2 Trams, again, there are no power-lines; the car's Pantographs are connected to fresh air.
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Rev. Gustav is a Presbyterian minister, but the arrangement of the deep chancel area in his church is not a Presbyterian layout. It was likely filmed at an Episcopal church.
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When Christine is committed and hosed down, the tattoo on Angelina Jolie's back is visible.
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The last scene shows an L.A. street. An old-style traffic post with a GO signal is on the right. Cars come and go as the credits roll, but the signal never changes to STOP.
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When Christine gets out of bed in the morning, the light hits her left arm, and Angelina Jolie's tattoos can be seen beneath makeup on her arm.
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When Christine Collins measures Walter for the first time you can see that after she scribbles on the wall nothing is there.
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Spoilers

The goof item below may give away important plot points.

Anachronisms 

At the end of the hanging, there is a distinct pattern on the bottom of Northcott's shoes. At the time, the soles of men's shoes were made of solid, flat leather.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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