Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Typewriters in film

Even though other typospherians have covered the issue better than I ever could, I thought I'd share some cinematic examples of mechanical writing machines. Mild spoilers, typewriter violence, and bad screencaps ahoy. You have been warned.

Our first example is found in the 2011 film, The Help. The glimpse is but fleeting, allowing yours truly to acquire little more than a hasty snap, but that Royal portable is there all the same.

On the one hand, the quality of this picture is terrible. On the other hand, Emma Stone.

Next up is the 2001 film, He Died with a Felafel in His Hand. Tough to describe this one, but try to imagine if Clerks and Trainspotting had a baby. In Australia. Professional weird-looking guy Noah Taylor plays a distracted and disenfranchised writer who just so happens to have a penchant for Kerouac.

Even the title cards are typed out.

Typing away.

Of course, HDwaFiHH is not all sunshine and roses. After a particularly disheartening event, Taylor's character does something...drastic.

Where...where you goin' with that typewriter, fella?
 For God's sake, man! Don't do it!



Ironically enough, he receives a BAROP sometime later. Oh sweet irony.

Next is 2011's The Rum Diary by noted typewriter-user and stark-raving lunatic Hunter S. Thompson. I neglected to take any screens while I was watching it, so these images are courtesy of the 'tubes. Note also that Depp's character, Kemp, uses a Nakajima typewriter, which wasn't even available at the time (thanks to ozTypewriter for the info on that one). Still, several Royals are seen in the film, so I'm gonna give it credit.

Johnny Depp, looking like Johnny Depp.

Same here.

Last and certainly not least we have 2009's Paper Man, starring Jeff Daniels and – once again – Emma Stone. DO NOT JUDGE ME, INTERNET. Kind of a weird flick, it features a SCM Electra pretty prominently.

Hardly an Underwood 5, but I'm going to allow it.

Like Felafel, unfortunately Paper Man too indulges in scribeosadism when Daniels' character, in fit of...something pries the H key off the poor machine and promptly loses it for the rest of the film.

That's kind of thing is contraindicated by the service manual, you monster!

You deserve to look miserable, Daniels.
That's it for now! -M


Bill M said...

Great post Mike. Thank you. I often thought of tossing the manual typewriter to which I was assigned in typing class off a bridge or cliff or anything high just so I could be out on an electric. I think any one can type faster on an electric and those of us using manuals were to be able to type as fast as those on electrics.

Scott K said...

'He died' was based on a book written by John Birmingham. And as much as it seems like Clerks, or that kind of teenage comedy, 'he died' resonates closely with a lot of people who grew up in the 90's in share houses in Australia.

The Queensland house is even based on a house my partner even used to live in! (and there are several characters throughout the film that are based on people she knows).

But the typewriter off the bridge is a very sad and disheartening scene! Followed quickly by the regret inducing reality that the symbolism of throwing it off the bridge was all in vain.

Anyway. John Birmingham is an interesting Author, and certifiable geek. Worth checking out. And nice to know of all these movies, 'He died' was at least biographical of someone still alive.

Richard P said...

Thanks, Mike, some of these were new to me and I always enjoy seeing typewriters on screen.

Ton S. said...

You found another typewriter dunking scene! I'm preparing a post on another film with a similar scene so this is interesting to me. Thanks!

Fabian Neidhardt said...

So, I want to show you my little tumblr blog, which only does this: to collect all typewriters I spotted in movies, tv shows, book and so on. I certainly could use some help to identify them all.


Greetings from germany, faby

Steve Soboroff said...

Typewriter given as gift d
From Dtreisand to Redford in THE WAY WE WERE is in my collection

Google "Soboroff typewriter collection"

Jason said...

I spotted one recently. The first episode of Series 5 Doctor Who. There is an Olympia SM3 on the Tardis. You know, because you need a typewriter for all your time/space machine needs!

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