1917 Movie Poster

Goofs from 1917

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  • It is an Albatross fighter glimpsed minutes before crashing (appropriate as the movie is set during "Bloody April" named by the RFC after the arrival of the "Tross".) A close-up shows sheet metal with rivets whereas the airplane had a smooth, molded plywood fuselage.
  • By April 1917 (when the movie takes place) the Allies already knew that the Germans had withdrawn and had built a new heavy defensive line. The line had been built during the winter and the Allies first got wind of the withdrawal and the new line in early March 1917, so the attacking regiment should have been aware of it.
  • At the very beginning of the movie while walking inside the trenches, Blake and Schofield pass a soldier carrying a rifle on his left shoulder. Even worse, they then meet Sergeant Sanders carrying his rifle in the same, incorrect way. Any trained soldier would never make such a mistake.
  • When Schofield leaves the truck at Écoust due to the bridge being out, he's told that the nearest intact bridge is 6 miles. When he is later going down-river, an intact bridge can be seen in the background. However, the first crossing was of a canal, while after running around/across the village it may be a different river he is reaching.
  • The grass in the meadow in the end shot is almost knee-high and blooming. This is not possible at the beginning of April in Europe.
  • The British medical station is above ground and too close to the front lines. It is well within range of German artillery. Normally, such large open-air stations would be miles behind the front lines. Smaller, underground aid stations would give first aid to the wounded. Then they would move to the larger medical stations.
  • A bomb going off a couple feet away from the two soldiers inside a small underground bunker would deafen them, probably permanently. It doesn't affect them at all, not even a ringing in their ears.
  • When the two soldiers finally reach the German entrenchments and find them abandoned, it appears as if the departing Germans swept and vacuumed the trenches upon their departure. No empty ammunition boxes, no waste, no paper, just cleanly swept and the retreating German army would certainly not have cleaned the area.
  • A ditched British Mark II tank appears briefly. The film is set on April 6th, 1917. Tanks were not used in the area where the film is set until April 9th, 1917.
  • Right after speaking to the major outside the Colonel's command post, two soldiers on the right hold their rifles inclined to the camera. One can clearly see how there is a flat metal surface where there should be the rifle bore hole, indicating they are fake movie props.
  • When Schofield sees the cow in the field near the barn, the carcass of another cow is seen at a distance. However, when he and Blake turn towards the field again to observe the dogfight, the carcass is gone.
  • Blake refers to picking cherries in May. Cherries are usually harvested in June at the earliest in England.
  • Lance Corporal Schofield at one stage was washed down some rapids. When he finally delivers the message from the General it is completely readable whereas submerged in the water, the ink of the time would have totally run down and been unreadable. However, Schofield is earlier seen placing the letter from the general into a metal box with his photographs, and this box might have been watertight enough to keep the contents dry during the time he was submerged.
  • It is implied that nighttime will provide the right cover of darkness for passing through enemy territory (and no moon is visible in the film), yet April 6-7, 1917 was the date of the full moon.
  • After the whistle to go "over the top" as Schofield leaves the trenches in the climactic scene in his desperate bid to reach Colonel Mackenzie, three (seemingly unarmed) charging British soldiers are seen on the left of the frame. It would have been impossible for them to reach that position without starting their attack alone well before the whistle, and were surely mistakenly added as a special effect.
  • Reaching Croisilles from Écoust-Saint-Mein, you have to cross a river, La Sensée. This river is a narrow stream though, without any rapids, let alone waterfalls, given the flatness of the Arras plain.
  • When Blake and Schofield walk through No Man's Land, their boots become caked in mud, but after they go through the German bunker and come out of the other side the mud is gone despite them not cleaning it off.
  • Saluting without headgear. When Schofield meets Col. McKenzie he salutes him with no helmet or headgear of any type. This would never happen in the British Army. You must have a head covering of some sort in order to salute.
  • Lieutenant Leslie says to the Corporals, "Watch out for the craters, they are deeper than they look. If you fall in, there is no getting out." Yet not only do the men willing enter various craters on their journey across no-man's land, they subsequently have no trouble at all getting out of any of them.
  • Obvious green screen use (shadows/depth of field don't match) when slowly panning across soldiers during the song near the end of the movie.
  • When the corporals enter the first German trench they find a bucket of hot embers prompting one to say to the other, "They [the Germans] are not long gone", implying it has been a matter of hours. However, embers in a bucket like that shown can stay hot for 3 or 4 days as they are insulated by the covering ash.
  • Set in real time, the scene where Schofield escapes the French village, is flushed down river rapids, and reaches the river bank, is just over five minutes. During this time, the sky has gone from totally black to full daylight, something which would ordinarily take about an hour during a typical sunrise in France.
  • Indian Sikhs would have served in their own regiments as part of the British Indian Army, not as individuals in the ranks of British regiments and Corps. By 1917 the Indian infantry had been withdrawn from the Western Front and sent to the Middle East; the Indian cavalry remained.
  • Blake and Schofield are seen charging their rifles using stripper clips before setting out. The rifles are never seen to be reloaded again, despite having been discharged multiple times. The maximum capacity of the Lee-Enfield is 5 cartridges.
  • According to General Erinmore the Germans had left their respective trenches which was proven correct as the German trenches are indeed abandoned. That being the case it was kind of pointless for the British to be on the firing line waiting for the signal to attack or defend. Apparently during trench warfare the British would actually 'steal' the German trenches as their method of moving forward.
  • When Schofield and Blake walk through their own trenches there are no sentries seen on the parapet. In trench warfare soldiers always took turns being a look out in the event of enemy movement.
  • During a meeting with General Erinmore inside a bunker both Schofield & Blake keep their helmets on. When meeting a superior officer indoors soldiers must remove their hats or helmets as it a traditional military rule.
  • Near the end of the film the trenches the Devons fought from are in very prime condition. The trenches in reality were very poorly constructed and were always in horrific conditions.
  • Several black soldiers are seen in the British army. There were no black soldiers in the British army. As a matter of fact black soldiers only fought for the African nations in World War I.
  • Near the end of the film 'No Man's Land' the soldiers charge through to get to the German trenches is a grassy meadow. In reality 'No Man's Land' was all muddy and full of craters and littered with bodies and debris.
  • Near the end of the film the British soldiers queue in a forest to get into the front line. During typical trench warfare the first wave would go over the top and the second wave would wait in the support trenches before coming into the firing line. The trenches seen here clearly have only the firing line and the support trenches are not seen at all.
  • Towards the end of the film when the soldiers go over the top a few soldiers are seen charging ahead of the others but they were not seen coming out of the trenches.
  • L/Cpl Blake says that his brother, Lt. Blake, will look like him. He didn't.

Spoilers

  • When Lance Corporal Blake is bleeding out you can see his face is turning pale - but not his hands. However, this is not unrealistic, as the head and face are highly vascularized (have a high volume of blood flow) compared to extremities, and his head is being kept higher than the wound, while his hands are lower, so there would be more visible effect in his face than his hands.
  • Schofield bursts through a door while searching for the German sniper and gets wounded. Scofield was given extra grenades at the outset of his mission, so he should have opened the door and thrown in a grenade instead.
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