During my brief break from blogging, I had a chance to watch part of Ridly Scott's "Alien," and noticed an error in the filming that I hadn't been aware of during previous viewings. After John Hurt is brought back to Nostromo, he is placed in the infirmary; Ash and Captain Dallas enter and ponder how to remove the facehugger.
For this scene they are dressed in surgical gowns and are wearing masks - BUT the masks chosen for the film are not isolation masks; in fact these masks have absolutely zero filtering capacity. They are simple oxygen masks. In the screenshot above, the mask Ash is wearing clearly displays the nipple to which in real life one would attach the green oxygen tubing. He is also wearing the mask improperly; it should fit under his chin, not be lodged against his lower lip.
Captain Dallas wears the same oxygen mask (and obviously without any oxygen). When Hurt's body is moved into the scanner, they stay in the room but remove the masks (which would not be appropriate in an infectious environment) until his body comes out of the scanner.
Anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of hospital procedures and equipment should know that these masks are not isolation masks. I presume the director opted for being able to visualize more of the actors' faces rather than for scientific accuracy.
This error is not recorded at the Movie Mistakes website - but there are 47 others listed, some of them quite interesting.
Reposted from 2011 because next month will be the 40th anniversary of the first screening of the movie.
Over the past four decades, dozens of books, hundreds of journal articles and innumerable college courses have analysed, frame by frame, Ridley Scott’s story of a bloodthirsty creature stalking the crew of the spaceship Nostromo. No other film, not even The Godfather or Psycho, has generated quite that amount of attention.There are some excellent observations in the Comments section for this post.
And now that academic outpouring is about to reach a new peak as the film approaches its anniversary next month. Events will include the release of new Blu-ray versions of the film, the screening of a documentary of its making, Memory: The Origins of Alien; and the staging of a two-day symposium, 40 years of Alien, that will be held at Bangor University in May. Speakers will give talks on “Alien and race, ethnicity and otherness”; “Alien and psychoanalysis”; and “Alien and neoliberalism, post-industrialism and the rise of multinational corporations”. Proceedings are scheduled to be published by Oxford University Press.