F is for Fake, as Orson Welles said

A friend shared a CNN story with me about a woman on a cell phone passing by in the background in the 1928 Charlie Chaplin film “The Circus.”

What do all of you classic film fans think of this?

Circled person is supposedly holding a cell phone.

I personally think it’s a bunch of poppycock and don’t believe it and here is why:

 1. Videos like these are easily faked. With the mass amounts of sophisticated film software available today, anyone could dress in 1920s garb and walk around in the background of an already filmed movie. Even take “Forest Gump” (1994) for example. Remember when Tom Hanks is seen in videos taken in the 1960s such as the black students going into the University of Alabama with Governor George Wallace blocking the entrance?

 2. It could have been a person in the movie simply with their hand to their ear or holding down their hat. The public is looking at “The Circus” with preconceived notions of today and our technology. We are looking at simple gestures they are making and automatically think that holding your hand to your ear means a cell phone because we see that several times on a daily basis.

 3. From what I have heard, IF there is a time travel you can’t take contemporary items and technology with you. Cell phones didn’t exist in 1928 so you can’t have it.

 4. Hypothetically, if there is time travel and you somehow still had your cell phone, you couldn’t use it anyways. There were no satellites or cell phone towers. And who on Earth would she be talking to? From what I’ve seen in time travel movies, once you go back in time  you can’t communicate with the contemporary world. It’s not like she traveled back and time and can call someone in 2010 and say, “Hey Jennifer, yeh I got it to 1928 safely.”

I mean believe me, if there was such thing as time travel I would hop right on and go back to the good ole technology free days of the 1920s-1940s, but there isn’t in my opinion.

So there you go, there are my thoughts and as it is I think I put too much thought into it.

What do you think?  Leave a comment and let me know!

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6 thoughts on “F is for Fake, as Orson Welles said

  1. I agree with your statement about the tendency to view life (history included) through our modern paradigms. To me, this is a matter of technology conditioning us to think that hand+ear=cell phone. There are plenty of other logical and natural reasons why someone would have their hand to their ear.

    Seems like the cell phone has become so ingrained in our collective conscious that we have “forgotten” other uses for a hand near an ear (scratching, digging for wax, etc.).

    Good post and nice job linking your excellent classic film blog to some contemporary news.


  2. I can’t believe anyone would believe this story. The woman could have been holding anything up to her ear. She is dressed for cold weather so maybe her ear is cold and she is trying to keep it warm. I smell a rat though so the film could be doctored to look like someone is using a cell phone.


  3. i don’t know how anyone can determine she has a cell phone from that photo it is so blurry…if it is real at all (meaning a real person in that footage from that time, and not added in by computer animation) it could just as easily been a hairbrush being pulled through her hair.


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