Friday, July 20, 2007

The "Everything I say is a lie..." conundrum, revisited

There is a little movie I was watching called "The Rocket Post" which is not a bad film, if a little formulaic, about a German Rocket scientist who was working on Scarp in the Outer Hebredies in 1934 trying to develop a rocket to take mail to and from the main island of Harris. The sub plot follows the standard outsider is mistrusted, earns the locals trust, falls for the local girl and everyone joins together in the end to achieve the goals. Call me a big girl's blouse if you like, but I enjoy that sort of movie.
Anyway, this one had the extra little twist of the looming war with Germany and deals with the implications of a German scientist working for the British in the 30's. What struck me as odd though was the fact that the film opens with the words "based on a true story", and indeed a quick Wikipedia lookup of Gerhard Zucker reveals he was doing just as the film says developing a rocket post on Scarp in 1934. A bit of poetic license is of course taken with the love interest and in reality both his attempts at a rocket launch failed whereas the film depicts him succeeding in the second launch. Also the final outcome of the Gerhard differs from film to reality (won't tell you in case you actually want to watch it ever) but in the main it has to be said that this was indeed based on true events and a real historical person.
So why is this odd? Well, for once I actually sat watching the credits (as the end music was quite a good bit of Clannady/Enya style Celtic stuff), and when it rolled down to the very last bit of the credits the odd bit came along.....110 minutes after seeing "based on a true story" written on the screen, I see "All characters and incidents protrayed, and names used in this film are entirely ficticious. Any resemblance to real events or persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental". Odd? Well no actually, it's just plain lying!
It just struck me as amusing that a company would be so worried about being sued that they'll print a complete howler of a pork pie to cover themselves. Which is effectively lying to cover yourself in case you are lying.....!

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