Whoopsie! Volume 3

Well, I finally pulled a major mistake in one of my books. Serious mistake. Want to put my head down and cry mistake.

I got a review on Amazon this morning from a “BM” — complimentary to the series as a whole, but he took me to task over mistaking Edith Evans for Susannah York in Tom Jones. I did indeed, as I put it in a comment responding to the review:

“BM is absolutely correct. I checked my rough drafts, and discover that I have made the terrible error of conflating the notes I took on Tom Jones on the two actresses. Edith Evans is bloody marvelous — as I raved about her in The Importance of Being Earnest in Volume 2, and will rave about her again, especially for The Whisperers, a very brave and deeply emotional performance, in v. 4. I will correct this error immediately. I apologize for the mistake. If I were on trial, I’d plead the fifth. If I were an alcoholic, I’d point at the fifth. As I am in my fifth decade, I can only point at my head and twirl my finger about my ear. I could also point at my five copy editors and proof readers, but it’s entirely my fault. Thank you so much for the constructive criticism, and for your readership of my books.”

Normally, I don’t respond to reviews, but I thought he deserved recognition, and I wanted to show folks I was human and had corrected the error.

The only thing I can figure out is that both Susannah York and Edith Evans are called “Miss Western” and I somehow confused the notes from the one for the other performance.

Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I will correct it soon.


  1. That was me. Now that I’ve found your blog, I’ll communicate any discrepancies I should happen to find here.

    The B.M. is short for Big Magilla, my moniker on the UAADB (Unofficial Academy Awards Discussion Board) at Wesley Lovell’s Cinemasight.Com where I’ve been a fixture since 1998. That’s where you can find my Oscar Shouldabeens for Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Director for every year going back to 1927 as well as those of others. I base my awards on date of release in either New York or L.A. since L.A. has always been difficult to corroborate.

    You might want to check out http://wwwdb.oscars.org:8100/servlet/impc.FilmTitleServlet?vetted=T for release dates from 1963-2012 for your future books. You’ve got a few films in the first three volumes in the wrong Academy years. The Importance of Being Earnest, for example, was 1953, not 1952. A Christmas Carol was 1952. Queen Christina was 1934. Unfortunately the Academy’s database only runs from late 1952 to a few films released in 2012, though they do leave out a few titles here and there. They don’t seem interested in expanding it.

    You can also find me on Cinemasight’s main page where I contribute to Wesley’s various awards predictions and other things. I have two weekly columns of my own, one on Tuesdays for DVD reviews and one on Thursdays which is a profile of someone having something to do with the Oscars. I occasionally include someone who was never nominated for an Oscar, but should have been.

    Anyway, keep up the good work.

    • Dear Patrick:

      The release dates I use are those in the imdb, which were the most accurate I could find. The Importance of Being Earnest is listed with a New York date of December 22, 1952. A Christmas Carol is listed for New York release at November 26, 1951. Queen Christina has a New York release date of December 26, 1933. In the absence of LA release dates, those were my defaults.

      I will look at your source, and consider that for future revisions.

      I really appreciate the information.

      And as long as I have you here (he said, smiling), your other complaint about me not replacing unworthy nominations, or of approving all five, and then adding others, has to do with me rejecting the Academy’s arbitrary limit of five, which they often ignored as well for quite a few years. I’m not sure if you read the part of the introduction where I discussed that, but it took me a few minutes of head-scratching to figure out why that was annoying you until I realized you wanted me to stick to a rule of five.

      I appreciate you saying how much you enjoyed the books on Amazon, although from your review, it’s hard to tell what precisely you liked about them…

      I truly appreciate the heads-up on the major boo-boo. I think the fact both of them were named Miss Weston is part of what caused the conflation. I’ll be rewriting that section soon for a future edition.

      I look forward to looking at your own work!

    • I just found your 2013 post on the issue of Oscar release dates, and the website in general (http://uaadb.cinemasight.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=8978).

      Talk about finding your way to folks of a like mind!

      I had no idea there was such an extensive archive of these kinds of discussions. Four years ago, I went looking for such things, and found only the occasional article.

      I may have to stay away until I’m done writing the books. I’m trying to maintain some degree of independent thinking, and I’m afraid being of exposed to such an extensive set of conversations.

      For the same reason, I haven’t so much as looked at Danny Peary’s Alternate Oscars, which I didn’t know existed until I was six months into writing the first book.

      • It’s been a while since I read the first two books, so I guess I forgot about the introduction but there are several instances where there are terrific alternatives to the questionable taste of the Academy at the time, many of which you note but some of which you don’t.

        What I liked about the books were the rich detail. I couldn’t delve as exhaustively as you do into the minor categories, but I actually agree with you more frequently there than in the major categories. I was thumbing through Vol. 2 last night and laughed out loud at your right-on description of Mother Is a Freshman, one of those terrible films that should never have been anywhere near an Oscar nomination for Costume Design or anything else.

        Imdb. is not always accurate even with New York dates. They generally give the date the film was reviewed which in the old days was a day or two after the film opened. This is especially annoying when a film opened on New Year’s Eve as did Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Mata Hari (1931) and The Man Who Came to Dinner (1941) .

        The New York date they show (showed?) for Camille (1937) was the date the Times news archive shows as the film first being mentioned in December, 1936. It didn’t open until mid-late January, 1937. I use the Times Machine which are entire editions for every day from 1850 or so through 1980 for the print ads which show the actual opening dates. Unfortunately there isn’t a similar archive for the Los Angeles Times.

        I wouldn’t go back and change dates for years already published. No one has ever gotten this stuff perfect. Even Inside Oscar, which most of us think of as the Oscar bible. When I pointed out to Damien (co-author Damien Bona) a few errors, he said the eligibility dates came from the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library. A little probing, however, elicited that some of the inclusions such as Red Dust in 1932 instead of 1933 (it wasn’t released until October, 1932) may have been because people submitted the film for awards but it was rejected as ineligible although that notation wasn’t in the library’s notes that co-author Mason Wiley looked at.

        Post-1963 most of the films that opened in L.A. in the calendar year after they opened in New York were mainly foreign language films.

  2. You’re clearly the authority figure on release dates!

    I wish I had known the authors of Inside Oscar — such a useful book!

    You know, you should think about writing a sequel to Bona’s two books, to cover the more recent years. I can’t think of anybody who would do a better job!

    Thanks for the compliments!

    • Thanks. Others have made that suggestion but there are rights issues related to the title and the research would be daunting. Besides interest in the subject isn’t as keen as it once was now that everything related to the Oscars is available on-line.

      What you’re doing puts a different slant on the subject and will hopefully be appreciated.

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