Saturday, December 10, 2011

Revisiting the Movies: Eyewear Review


The 2007 film My Boy Jack is superb in every aspect, except its depiction of the period's eyewear.

I don't want to give away any of the plot details except about the total lack of historical accuracy regarding eyewear.

Young Jack (John Kipling) is seventeen years old in the film and he is played by Daniel Radcliffe. Jack is extremely myopic and desperately wants to enlist in the army. His famous father, Rudyard Kipling, suggests that he be fitted to a pince-nez before going to his army physical exam in 1914. The pince-nez is a rimmed flexible guard type complete with a long black ribbon. In typical movie style, this pince-nez is twenty-five years out of date and won't stay on the bridge of his nose for more than five seconds. Jack hates it. No wonder!

Jack fails the eye exam and thus the physical. Because of his dad's influence, Jack is able to join the Irish Guards and is immediately shipped off to join the fighting in France.

Jack ends up wearing silver rimmed spectacles with unsuitable straight arms (temples). Jack's specs fall off at every turn and he is blind without them. Surely he would have been properly fitted to a pair with cable temples which wrapped around the back of the ears. This would be necessary for combat situations.

Movie makers, despite often being historically accurate regarding costumes still fail miserably when it comes to eyewear!

[article submitted by Richard Johnson]

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