Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jason corrects some errors about "The Red Elvis"

Or at least about my post where I wrote about the movie "The Red Elvis". I got this comment from Dale Reed, Dean Reed's older brother. I'll let it speak for itself:
A couple comments about your comments about my younger brother Dean.

1) Dean's first wife "Patricia" was American living in California where they first met.

2) It is unfortunate if the latest movie about Dean said he was a member of the Communist Party. I have no evidence that he was and knowing Dean I remember that he was not a joiner.

Unless he was trying to change it from within. We Reeds are known for fighting our battles from inside rather than throwing rocks from the outside.

As a result shortly after Dean died the East German wall fell and shortly after that the USSR dissolved. Dale

Now I have to explain something. First, I apologize for getting the facts wrong. Second, I'm not by profession a film journalist, I'm not even involved in the industry in any way (other than as a consumer). I'm a physicist for a company building gamma ray cameras for medical imaging. I watch movies for fun, and starting writing about them a few years ago in part just so I could look back and remember what I saw. Enough friends, filmmakers, and film festival programmers were interested in my opinions that I started this blog rather than trying to keep track of who I should e-mail about what movie.

So, to make a long story short, I don't have the training, resources, or time to fact-check everything I write. I'm usually doing this from memory (and help from the film festival guide and/or IMDb), often a few days and several movies after the fact (when, for example, I see a movie early in a weekend series and I don't write about it until Monday, I might see 10 or more other movies before I go back and write about it).

I can't say for sure now that "The Red Elvis" by Leopold Grün actually said Dean Reed was a communist or if I'm misremembering it (perhaps the nickname "Red Elvis" put the wrong idea in my head). I also can't say whether it actually misidentified his first wife. I'm assuming I'm mistaken, not the movie, based on the fact that I've seen 90 minutes of material on him and I assume Leopold Grün did quite a bit more research.

The Internet, obviously, is a great source of misinformation. I hope I'm not doing too much damage. I further hope that by making it easier for people to try to correct the misinformation, eventually the correct facts will rise to the surface. I know this doesn't happen all the time, as the original misinformation is remembered and the corrections are forgotten (But how many newspapers do you know that would write this much for a correction?)

As a scientist, I pride myself in reporting my observations correctly. So it obviously bothers me when I get something like this wrong, even if it's not in my professional setting.

I think the key to gleaning the information from the misinformation is a matter of knowing who you can trust as an authority. Well, let me help you here--I'm not an authority on much of anything. When you read a review here, you can be sure I actually saw the movie in question and I'm giving you my honest opinion based on what I can remember. I can't vouch for the accuracy of my memory, because I don't take notes during the movie. And when I see 6 movies a day and try to write about them all, it's inevitable I will not remember everything correctly. I'm sorry for any errors, and if you notice any of them please feel free to comment or e-mail me with the correct information.


Dadmaniac said...

The mark of a true scientist is not only his tireless search for the truth...but also his understanding of the limitations of his own knowledge. As a true scientist would, you have graciously accepted the corrections offered by Dale, more interested in the truth than in furthering your status as the "Scientist Movie Fan." Well done...and a greatly composed correction.

Anonymous said...

I'm admin of - Dean Reed in Russia site. And I would be want to look this documentary by OWN eyes from the first shot to the mark "The end", because all information which I did get from TV reportajes and articles are so shocking ...and I'm not belive opinion of some peoples wich remember Dean as RED only... If we say about colours ...Dean was deepskyblue color as beautiful sky of Colorado where from we get so fantastic person as Dean with his kind and SMART heart...