Class VI (mistaken identity)

These are films with no identifiable librarians and/or archivists, as these films have been mistakenly listed on other sites or lists of reel librarians.

*Spoiler Alert* The following annotations may contain important plot details.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Batman Returns (1992):

Details: Dir. Tim Burton. Perf. Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken. Warner Bros., 1992.

Synopsis: Batman (Michael Keaton) faces the Penguin (Danny DeVito) and Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) in this sequel. One librarian film site lists Michelle Pfeiffer as a librarian, but she is clearly identified in the film as secretary to Max Shreck (Christopher Walken).

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Big (1988):

Details: Dir. Penny Marshall. Perf. Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, John Heard, David Moscow. 20th Century Fox, 1988.

Synopsis: A boy’s wish to be big comes true—literally. In one scene, the boy and his friend go to City Hall (or perhaps a Public Works building but most definitely not a library) and get directed to Consumer Affairs, down the hall, to fill out forms for a list of area carnivals and fairs.

Related post: No reel librarian, no biggie in ‘Big’

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Caesar and Cleopatra (1945):

Details: Dir. Gabriel Pascal. Perf. Vivien Leigh, Claude Rains, Stewart Granger. United Artists, 1945.

Synopsis: One librarian film site lists Ernest Thesiger, who plays Theodotus, as a librarian, but Theodotus introduces himself in the film as a royal tutor. Perhaps part of the confusion stems from when Theodotus tries to save the library of Alexandria (which had caught on fire from burning ships in the harbor), but his love of books is understandable as a self-described “teacher of kings.”

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The Comfort of Strangers (1990):

Details: Dir. Paul Schrader. Perf. Christopher Walken, Natasha Richardson, Rupert Everett, Helen Mirren. Paramount, 1990. Based on the novel by Ian McEwan.

Synopsis: In this stylized thriller, a young couple (Natasha Richardson and Rupert Everett) on holiday in Venice are drawn into a stranger’s (Christopher Walken) mysterious fantasies. There is no librarian present in the film, so I don’t know why this film was ever listed on another reel librarian site.

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The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989):

Details: Dir. Peter Greenaway. Perf. Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren, Richard Bohringer, Alan Howard. Miramax, 1989.

Synopsis: A highly stylized film about a crime boss’s wife (Helen Mirren) who carries on an affair with a man (Alan Howard) at her husband’s restaurant. Howard plays a bookseller—not a librarian—and in one scene, he takes Mirren to his book warehouse.

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The Final Cut (2004):

Details: Dir. Omar Naim. Perf. Robin Williams, Mira Sorvino. Lions Gate, 2004.

Synopsis: In this science-fiction thriller, some people have Zoe implants, which record a person’s memories during their lifetime. When they die, a Cutter edits together the footage for a Rememory service—basically, censoring out the “bad” bits for the sake of the family. Alan Hakman (Robin Williams) is a Cutter who finds out he has been implanted with a Zoe chip, a big no-no for Cutters. One resource lists his on-and-off lady friend, Delila (Mira Sorvino), as a “rare-book librarian.” However, in the film, she appears to be a bookstore owner—and possibly, a restorer of rare books as part of the business (she gives a stack of old books to an assitant and says to him, “Put it in archives, very gently”). We first see her through a large storefront window, as Hakman looks at her from the sidewalk, and she later says to him, “Store’s still open. It’s the 11:30 rush.” Books are shelved and stacked every possible place—on shelves, on the floor, on counters, on top of bookcases—again, contributing to the look and feel of a bookstore, rather than an organized library.

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Night at the Museum (2006):

Details: Dir. Shawn Levy. Perf. Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino, Dick Van Dyke. 20th Century Fox, 2006. From the book by Milan Trenc.

Synopsis: Ben Stiller plays Larry, who gets a job as a night guard at the Museum of Natural History, where history comes alive… literally. In one scene, he researches different historical figures and events, which includes a trip to a bookstore (not a library).

Related post: How to spot the difference between a bookstore and a library onscreen | Book scene in ‘Night at the Museum’

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Red Dragon (2002):

Details: Dir. Brett Ratner. Perf. Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson. Universal, 2002. Based on the book by Thomas Harris.

Synopsis: Ex-FBI agent Will Graham (Edward Norton) needs to look up a quotation he gets from Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). He gets help from a young bookseller (not a librarian).

Related post: Identity crisis in ‘Red Dragon’

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Rollerball (2002):

Details: Dir. John McTiernan. Perf. Chris Klein, LL Cool J, Rebecca Romijn. MGM, 2002. Based on the short story “Roller Ball Murder” and 1975 ‘Rollerball’ screenplay by William Harrison.

Synopsis: Remake of the 1975 ‘Rollerball’ cult classic film, which included a couple of scenes in libraries — known as “computer centers” in the future. This action-heavy remake does not include any library-related scenes.

Related post: Reel librarians in ‘Rollerball’ | Analyzing the 1975 original film and 2002 remake

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She’s Working Her Way Through College (1952):

Details: Dir. H. Bruce Humberstone. Perf. Virginia Mayo, Ronald Reagan, Gene Nelson, Phyllis Thaxter. Warner Bros., 1952. Based on the play The Male Animal by James Thurber and Elliott Nugent.

Synopsis: This 1952 Technicolor musical comedy stars Virginia Mayo as “Hot Garters Gertie,” a former burlesque dancer who saves up to go to college. Although set on a college campus, there is no library, or librarian, to be seen.

Related post: ‘She’s Working Her Way through College’ — without a library!

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Sitting Pretty (1948):

Details: Dir. Walter Lang. Perf. Robert Young, Maureen O’Hara, Clifton Webb, Ed Begley. 20th Century Fox, 1948. Based on the novel Belvedere by Gwen Davenport.

Synopsis: Eccentric Lynn Belvedere (Clifton Webb) answers a family’s ad for a live-in babysitter and shakes up the family and the neighborhood with his manner and methods. A few scenes show the Book Shoppe Proprietress (Mary Field); she is not a librarian as listed on some other sites.

Related post: ‘Sitting pretty’ in the book shoppe

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Sneakers (1992):

Details: Dir. Phil Alden Robinson. Perf. Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Sidney Poitier. Universal, 1992.

Synopsis: A team of eccentric experts test out security weaknesses but get mixed up in international intrigue. The film tries to be cutting-edge, but it’s best when it embraces its old-fashioned wit. No librarian in sight or mention of libraries, so I don’t know why it was ever listed on another reel librarian site.

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Summertime (1955):

Details: Dir. David Lean. Perf. Katharine Hepburn, Rossano Brazzi. United Artists/Criterion, 1955. Based on the play by Arthur Laurents.

Synopsis: One well-known source lists Katharine Hepburn as a librarian in this film about a woman who travels alone to Venice and has a brief, but memorable, love affair with an Italian shop owner (Rossano Brazzi). She clearly identifies her occupation in the film as a “fancy secretary”—so she may be a spinster, but not a Spinster Librarian.

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