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Carol (2015) Poster

(2015)

Goofs

Anachronisms 

When Carol is telling Therese how long the drive (from Canton, Ohio) to Chicago should take, Tommy Tucker suggests that "There's a short cut across the interstate. Knocks two hours off the drive." Construction on the "Interstate Highway System" connecting major U.S. cities began in 1956. Before this, there was the transcontinental highway system. In 1925, the "Joint Board on Interstate Highways" was created to change the identification of highways from a named to a numbered system. Whatever "interstate" he was referring to, it could not be part of the "Interstate Highway System" because it did not exist in 1952.
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This movie is set from 1952-1953. Twice, when checking into hotels, they are offered a deluxe room with "stereophonic" music console. Record companies did not start stereo recording until 1954, consumer stereo tape did not become available until 1956, and the stereo LP record did not come out until 1958.
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When Therese boards the NJ Transit train the announcement states one of the stops is "Secaucus Junction". The Secaucus Junction did not open until 2003.
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When Carol hangs up on Therese, the phone emits a modern dial tone that would not have existed in 1952 or 53.
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Early in the film we see a prominently displayed black Oldsmobile. It is a 1951 or 52 so it is new. The paint is very dull and it is missing some chrome pieces as if it is many years old. Later outside a restaurant in Iowa the same car is on the left and on the right is a 1950 or so Ford with narrow whitewalls and wheel covers from the later 1950's. Narrow whitewalls came out in 1962, and in 1962 they were not as narrow as on the Ford.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Carol picks up Therese and meets Richard, the sound of the car's engine never stops, implying the car was left running. However, when they say goodbye, Carol turns the key anyway and no sound is heard.
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Continuity 

When Abby closes the door on Harge following their confrontation on her porch, she turns out the interior light. In the next shot, as we see Harge walking away from the porch, the interior is on.
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In the McKinley Motel restaurant scene, Carol walks towards the table where Therese and Tommy Tucker are sitting holding a cup of coffee in her right hand and carrying a chair and a map with her left hand. She places the chair next to Therese. In the following shot, as Therese introduces Carol to Tucker, the cup is in Carol's left hand and the map in her right hand.
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At their first motel stop, when Carol is in the shower and calls out for Therese to please bring her her blue sweater, when Carol opens the bathroom door, she has clear nail polish on. In the next scene when they're back in the car Carol's nail polish is back to the reddish-orange color.
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On the second day of the road trip, Therese gets sandwiches from the picnic basket in the back seat and immediately hands Carol one with a bite already taken out.
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When Carol is standing in the entrance way to the travel store to light her cigarette after visiting her attorney, when the camera views Carol through the display window the cigarette is in her left hand and her purse is tucked on the right. When camera shifts to direct shot of Carol, the cigarette is now in her right hand and the purse on the left.
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Right before Therese gives Carol the record as a Christmas present in a diner on their road trip, Therese puts her brown handbag from her left side to her right side. In the following scenes the handbag is back on her left side, she even grabs her camera out of it from turning left, without Therese ever putting the handbag back from right to left.
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Around 01:10:12, in the McKinley Motel restaurant scene, Carol is holding the map with her right hand. On the next shot, her hand is on his cheek.
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Errors in geography 

Therese boards a train to "Penn Station" in New York City. It is apparent that the train is running on the Erie Railroad's Main Line. In 1952, that train would never have entered New York and instead would have terminated at Jersey City. Even today, that train terminates at Hoboken and not at Penn Station. Also, as another writer pointed out, the train announcement stated that the train would stop at Secaucus Junction, which did not exist until 2003.
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At the western end of their road trip, Carol's Packard passes a sign with a Napoleonic image with "Welcome to Waterloo, Population 12,000". Later Carol and Therese laugh at the small town they have found themselves in. Waterloo, which does not employ any imagery of Napoleon, was the fifth-largest city in Iowa, with a population of 65,000, as per the 1950 census. Knowing Carol's penchant for finer hotels, the pair would have likely stayed downtown overlooking the river, rather than a rural motel.
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When Carol is leaving Chicago to go back to New York, she's on the phone with Abby and says she's getting the last flight into La Guardia. Since Carol lived in New Jersey and Newark Airport was the largest airport serving the New York City area at the time, it's more likely she would have flown into Newark.
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Factual errors 

When Carol and Therese are driving into the tunnel, Carol turns on the radio. This would have been impossible -- in those days radios were AM, and the signal wouldn't have carried. Back before FM was common, AM signals could cut out briefly even just driving under an overpass.
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The record played/shown in both scenes is the correct 10" LP, not a 78.
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In the projection room scene, the projectionist is seen smoking in close proximity to the projector. The print of Sunset Boulevard would most likely have been nitrate film which was extremely inflammable! Smoking in a projection room would have been a sackable offence as well as an appalling risk.
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There were very few direct flights in the 1950s and most were within states or to neighboring states. Direct flights between major cities only really came into vogue in the 1970s when commercial plane technology had improved and fewer stops were required, Additionally, few airlines could have afford direct flights as commercial air travel really only became widespread and popular in the mid to late 1960s.

So a flight from Chicago to New York would have almost certainly consisted of one to as many as three stops before arriving.

While flight crew service hour limits prohibited coast to coast non-stops, NY to Chicago non-stop was available in this era. A copy of a 1951 American Airlines schedule shows six non-stop flights daily from New York to Chicago, using the DC-6. American's longest non-stops that year were between New York and Dallas. TWA would have been competing on the NYC-Chicago, using Lockheed Constellation aircraft, but I don't have a contemporary schedule. TWA was flying NYC-Chicago non-stop as early as 1948, using much slower DC-4 aircraft, per a schedule from that year. This was TWA's longest non-stop in their short DC-4 era.
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The movie is set from 1952 Christmas season, and ends in April 1953. Therese Belivet incorrectly uses her 35mm film camera to take an available light photograph of Carol Aird. Inside a restaurant, the scene has back-fill lighting because Therese is looking towards a large window that is extremely bright, and that amount of light would cause complete obscuring by shadowing, of all the facial features of Carol in the photographic negative. To actually create a usable photographic negative in that era, Therese and Carol would have needed to swap their positions, to take advantage of the available light provided by the large window. Alternately to actually create a usable photographic negative using key-lighting, either as a minimum a single use flash bulb should have been used, or a pair of mains-powered spotlights.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Carol gives Therese a Canon III 35mm range finder camera as a gift. Canon cameras were sold in the United States in 1952. Fact: in 1950, the C.R. Skinner Mfg. Company became the first factory-authorized U.S. importer of Canon cameras and the April 1950 issue of "Popular Photography" magazine featured an advertisement by Skinner on page 113 for the Canon II-B range finder camera -- this was five years before Canon opened its first company *office* in New York City in 1955.

(INCORRECT goof statement: The Canon camera gift was not readily available in the USA in 1952. Canon USA's website "Sixty Years of Canon in the Americas" states their first office opened in New York in 1955.)
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The camera Therese uses when she first photographs Carol is an Argus C3 with rangefinder. The C3 has a geared coupling between the rangefinder and the lens, creating one-step focusing.

Incorrect: When Therese is first photographing Carol she is looking through the viewfinder, and the image goes into focus when she focuses the camera. This camera would not have that type of viewfinder.
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"When Carol and Therese are driving through the Lincoln Tunnel, a close up of Therese through the window of the taxi from the beginning of the film is used."

^ The closeup of Therese through the taxi window is not a goof. It appears briefly in the Lincoln Tunnel scene because the scene is her memory of it. Therese's ride in the taxi after just seeing Carol again makes her think of her first ride in Carol's car. This film begins where it ends and the story is a circle between these bookends. In this tunnel scene the conversation between Carol and Therese is distant and barely audible, and Carol's face blurs and comes into focus because it is Therese's remembrance of this moment in time.
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In the opening scene in the restaurant, it appears as though both women leave without paying. However, Carol leaves first while Therese remains, so it's entirely likely that Carol paid the bill at the restaurant's reception desk or bar before she left.
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In the scene where Carol & Therese meet in the restaurant, Carol asks Therese what her name is. Shortly after, Therese asks Carol what her name is. Even though they had already met in the store, Therese would not have necessarily known Carol's first name, as the store account was likely in her husband's name or Carol might have written "Mrs. Harge Aird," as was customary in the 1950s. Even if Therese did know her name, her question here can be regarded either as nervousness, a coded way to ask if it was all right to be on a first-name basis, or both.
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The camera Therese uses when she first photographs Carol is an Argus C3 with rangefinder. The C3 has a geared coupling between the rangefinder and the lens, creating one-step focusing.
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In the Ritz Tower Hotel restaurant scene near the end, Carol is inside a telephone booth finishing a call and when she exits sees that Therese has arrived and taking her place at their table. A camel-color coat is draped over one chair. As Carol approaches the table from behind Therese you see two glasses filled with water, two cups, a carafe, and a dish with pastries. An unfolded cloth napkin lies on the table across from Therese. Carol then sits on the chair with the coat and puts her purse down on the empty chair next to her. The table service and unfolded napkin shows that Carol arrived earlier, took off her coat, placed an order, waited for Therese, then went to make a phone call.

Incorrect continuity "goof": Near the end, Carol walks up to Therese's table with purse in hand and sits down with coat already on the back of her chair.
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Revealing mistakes 

In one of the landscape shots as Carol and Therese go on their trip, a take is used backwards. It can be seen in the smoke pipes of the roofs, absorbing the smoke instead of expelling it.
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Even though the film takes place in 1952, few cars from the 1930s or 1940s are seen. Considering that US did not produce vehicles for four years during WWII (from 1942 until 1946) there should have been dozens of vehicles ranging from pre-war until those manufactured the year of the film's setting.
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The film is set during the winter and early spring. It should be bitterly cold in the Midwest and urban Northeast and yet none of the characters demonstrate this during the film.
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Spoilers

The goof item below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

In the opening scene when Carol gets up to leave the restaurant and puts her hand on Therese's shoulder, Therese turns her head but her eyes remain open. In the repeated scene near the end of the movie, after she turns her head, she closes her eyes until after Carol shakes Jack's hand.
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See also

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

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