Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Apartheid South Africa Immortalised In Cult Classic

Today I present some in-depth investigative journalism, and I'm quite excited. I was intending to post a little more about Cape Town since I've swayed away from that in recent times, but this opportunity presented itself yesterday and I just can't pass up the chance to post it here, since it's (almost) breaking news.

Last night etv broadcasted The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I had no intention of watching the movie but you know what happens - the beginning (20 minutes) is rather entertaining*...

I was arbing [*] around the house doing other things but stopped briefly to watch from the point when Brad and Janet arrive at the castle. The movie then launched into "The Time Warp" and during one almost split-second shot I noticed - to my great amazement - that what seemed to be a South Africa flag (the pre-1994 version, of course) had been placed in one of the dishes on the table holding the food that's on one side of the room.

Completely caught off guard, and with the moment gone, I had to know for certain. Out came my DVD special edition**, which I bought on one of my last few days on vacation last year in London, using "I still have some money left and I'm (once again) at HMV" money. As with many DVDs (and CDs) that I own, I hadn't even opened it yet - it was still in its shrink-wrapped plastic. I broke the seal, yanked out Disc One, stuck it in the DVD player and found the moment: 21:20 (in case you wish to check for yourself).

South African Flag

Above: The South African flag on display in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

You will notice, if you refer to this detailed document regarding the old South African flag, that it has actually been placed upside down in the pineapple. Whether or not this was by accident is beyond me (our new flag is very often flown upside down by mistake too).

South African Flag

Above: Closeup of the upside-down South African flag in a pineapple in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The funny thing is, of course, that this movie was banned in South Africa, soon after its initial theatrical release, for many years (and I think the first time it was broadcast on TV was in 1989).

*And, as it turns out, I know all the words.

**Don't be all shocked. I know you own it too, or at least the soundtrack album.

23 Comments:

Blogger kyknoord said...

And now we know why it was banned. Can't go flying the flag upside-down, can we?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006 2:02:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Quite right. That should have been the point of my investigative journalism, but I got sidetracked* taking screenshots of the scene, in the interest of being illustrative rather than point..ative...

*(Oops.)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006 2:07:00 PM  
Blogger kyknoord said...

A picture is worth a thousand words - or whatever the hell that expression is.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006 2:40:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Yeah, but I'm supposed to be blogging, not plogging.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006 2:53:00 PM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

If I knew this I would have probably watched the Rocky Horror Picture show, then again I don't think it has anything to do with the old South Africa does it, so I will still just ignore it.

Monday, August 21, 2006 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

What are you talking about? Weren't most of the old cabinet ministers sweet transvestites? I think it's completely appropriate.

Monday, August 21, 2006 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

Sweet definitely. I don't know about the transvestites. I don't look at other men that way.

Monday, August 21, 2006 8:42:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

You don't look at men as though they are transvestites? Me neither!

(Although it would make for a fun game on long roadtrips and during extended airline travel.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

Something tells me you gave this a LOT of thought. Anything else you like to share?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 4:28:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

see also: http://reluctantnomad.blogspot.com/2006/04/four-hundred-years-of-butchers.html for another use of the old ZA flag in TRHPS.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 4:38:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

FM: Mike did my sharing for me.

Mike: Thanks for the link. Very interesting. I missed that scene when the movie was on TV as I only watched the beginning and then bits of the end. Guess I'll be hauling out my DVD again (I knew it was worth purchasing!)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 4:44:00 PM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

Sheesh, do people look at the movie frame-by-frame to spot stuff like that or were they told it was there? Or is it on screen long enough and easilly visible?

Thursday, August 24, 2006 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

It's on screen long enough for you to go "Was that...?, which is why you need the DVD to confirm it (frame by frame).

Thursday, August 24, 2006 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

So what would be the reason for them to abuse our flag so upside down?

Friday, August 25, 2006 9:21:00 AM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Because they knew that the movie would be banned, so it was a subtle pre-emptive protest strike that would only be discovered in 2006 when we could all laugh about it.

Friday, August 25, 2006 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

I knew something fishy was going on when oom P.W. Botha hid those video tapes after I walked in on him and ... erm.... well yes. Let's just say I had a bad feeling something like this might have come to light. *cough*

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

I don't even know what to say to that.

What were you doing walking in on him in the first place? Very suspicious.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

Well.... I was invited for a mug of coffee and Ouma rusks on the stoep of Parliament. We were gonna go hunting that day. But after seeing him blush that red, I decided it's better to just leave. It's a long and sad story, I'm not going to elaborate on that.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 3:59:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

See, now, I think you're just making this up.

First of all, you said you walked in on him, but then you say you were going to have coffee on the stoep. So what were you doing walking in on him when you should have been waiting for him on the stoep?

Plot holes! Ridiculous story!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 4:57:00 PM  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Hi there, just stumbled upon your blog and your entry on Rocky Horror. I remembered by relatively recent post on the subject and was going to send you the link but see that Mike got to it first.

At the time I made the post, I googled all over the place looking for an image of the SA flag in Rocky Horror but couldn't find it anywhere. Glad to see you found it.

Monday, September 04, 2006 1:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

I had to make my own screen grab from my DVD, which proved to be more complicated that one would expect as Macs are set up not to allow you to do that, for copyright reasons. (So I found a way around it, in the interest of illustrative blogging :)

Monday, September 04, 2006 1:57:00 PM  
Blogger Francois Maree said...

Well obviously I went to see what was keeping him so long. duh!!!!

Monday, September 04, 2006 9:02:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Yes, of course, because anyone can just arb around parliament...

::rolls eyes::

Tuesday, September 05, 2006 10:06:00 AM  

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